Day 3 – Fuerteventura PKRA Kiteboarding Grand Slam 2008
Sotavento, Fuerteventura – After battering the competition area yesterday that saw some of the kites crashing down in the waters, the wind is back even stronger, gustier and more unpredictable. The gale-force wind blew at an average of 35 to 45 knots formed perfect kickers that provided some opportunities for some of the athletes to impress the judges and the crowd with spectacular kite moves. The weather was sunny and the thermometer display played between 28 to 30 degrees Celsius.
The competition started right on schedule and had three races during the morning. It took about 13 to 15 minutes for the first place racer to cross the finish line. Really gusty winds and strange wind holes on the course caught a few racers off guard at the windward mark making them tack several times to make the mark, eventually loosing valuable positions. The Course Racing event finished around 1:00 pm.
After a short lunch break, the continuation of the Freestyle singles event kicked off at 2:00 pm which lasted almost three hours. After the single elimination there was another short break for the awards ceremony on the beach. After the podium presentation, the first round of the Freestyle doubles for both men and women started under an even more gusty and intense wind conditions.
The competition wrapped up at 5:00 pm while tomorrows skipper’s meeting is set at 10:30 am with first possible start at 11:00 am.
Freestyle Singles Highlights
An even more intense third day wrapped up the Freestyle Singles with the fury of the wind being felt by everyone both on and off the waters.
The first upset game of the day came courtesy of RRD’s Sebastien Garat (FRA) who took the win against world champion Aaron Hadlow (GBR) in the opening salvo of the men’s Freestyle singles in heat #15. The French champ did have a little luck go his way as Hadlow was down for about 4 minutes during the heat after crashing his kite tangling his lines. Hadlow landed a blind judge, s-bend to blind with air pass, mobe, slim and crashed on a huge kiteloop-backloop. Garat landed a blind judge with aerial handle pass, front mobe, s-bend to blind, slim and mobe. It was a close call but Garat came through with cleaner landings and variety. In the second round of the 15th heat, Kevin Langeree (NED) defeated Alex Pastor (ESP) over technical difficulty level and variety for an easy win.
Heat #18 (Runner-up Final): In the battle for third place, Hadlow retrieved his tangled Flexifoil kite, sorted the mess and headed back out. Hadlow came away victorious after landing a blind judge with aerial handle pass, s-bend to blind with air pass, front mobe, back to blind air pass, a huge kiteloop-backloop, handle pass front mobe, regular and switch mobe, slim and almost a frontside 7 off a wave. Pastor on the other hand, landed a blind judge with aerial handle pass, s-bend to blind with air pass, back to blind air pass, front mobe, non-inverted slim 5, and a mobe. Power, height in the moves and variety were the deciding factors for the heat, giving Hadlow the 3rd spot over all in the singles.
Heat #17 (Winner’s Final): Garat would have been stoked to make it to the top four, then to the final round for a guaranteed top 3 and with a good performance here, a definite top 2, but he would have to defeat one of the best competitors on tour and current rankings leader Kevin Langeree. Garat landed a blind judge, hasselhoff, regular and switch slim and mobe 5 while Langeree landed a blind judge, 313, mobe 5, non-inverted slim 5 and back to wrapped. In a 4-1 decision, the switch variety for Garat gave him the edge and his first singles event win.
In the women’s semi-final heats Bruna Kajiya (BRA) had an easy win over Jo Wilson (GBR) in heat #7a with an overall edge on power and technical difficulties.
World women’s champion Gisela Pulido really livened up the crowd in heat #7b with a big handle pass front mobe and kiteloop-backloop right in front and close to the grand stands. The judges were really impressed at the young champion, plus with a blind judge, slim and front mobe, she took the win against Susi Mai (GER) who landed several smooth and clean rolls and big airs but proved no match for Pulido’s technical moves.
Heat #8 (Runner-up Final): Wilson went for a heat winning high handle pass but did not manage to land it and with just a tail grab air and a vulcan to surface pass, it was not enough to beat Mai who landed some more big airs with grabs and spins, as well as a raley to blind and one footer. Variety and technical difficulty level gave the ExtremeElements.TV’s host the 3rd podium spot.
Heat #9 (Winner’s Final): The women’s singles final was a fairly a one-sided heat with a blind judge, front mobe and slim coming from Pulido versus several crashed blind judges, plus a krypt and an s-bend to blind from Kajiya. Technical difficulty level and variety gave Pulido the 1st place podium spot.
Freestyle Singles Results:
1. Sebastien Garat (FRA, RRD)
2. Kevin Langeree – (NED, Naish)
3. Aaron Hadlow – (GBR, Flexifoil)
1. Gisela Pulido (ESP, Slingshot)
2. Bruna Kajiya (BRA, Best)
3. Susi Mai (GER, Cabrinha)
Congratulations to Seb Garat for winning his first singles event and to Gisela Pulido for winning the women’s singles!
Course Racing Highlights
After seven races so far, French racing champ Bruno Sroka is slowly inching his way up the racing ladder, climbing to number 3 overall after finishing 2,3,7 in today’s races powered by a Takoon kite. Sami Gali (Best, Spain) dropped to number 4 overall after finishing 4,9,3 with a total of 15 points accumulated, just one point shy from Sroka. It’s still a pretty much one-two game for the North team as Charles Deleau (France) and Sean Farley (Mexico) still holds the first and second overall places respectively even after Farley failed to finish the last race of the day.
The women’s standing is still unchanged as only the top three racers braved the conditions and went out racing with the pack. Gina Esteva (Best, Spain) didn’t even bother to start the last race due to the extreme gusty conditions.
The Fuerteventura PKRA Kiteboarding Grand Slam 2008 is being brought to us by Pro Center Rene Egli (www.rene-egli.com) while the official media broadcaster for the event is Extreme Elements (www.extremeelements.tv).
[Source: kiteforum.com; Photos: http://www.fuerteventura-worldcup.org/ & Burghard Drews]