Sotavento, Fuerteventura July 18 – The Professional Kiteboard Riders Association (PKRA) – the world’s leading professional kiteboarding organization is back in Fuerteventura and in full force. Under overcast skies, the opening games of the Fuerteventura PKRA Kiteboarding Grand Slam 2009 kicked-off with the Freestyle event after the mandatory riders’ meeting of 10:45 am.
Extreme kiteboarding action unfolded as the ladies started the day’s competition at 12:45 pm. Lighter winds, yet still strong, prevailed during the first half of the competition which ranged between 18 to 28 knots but with stronger gusts coming through every so often.
Joanna Litwin (Nobile, POL) dominated the first heat of the day, defeating Jalou Langeree (Naish, NED) with a very strong win, scoring high on technical difficulties. Litwin landed a 313, blind judge, s-bend to blind, slim, and a blind judge with aerial handle pass against Langeree’s blind judge, raley to blind and kiteloop.
North Kiteboarding’s Angela Peral (ESP) had an easy win over Laila Puehringer (Eclipse, AUT) in the second heat.
Karolina Winkowska (Naish, POL) defeated Susi Mai (Cabrinha, GER) in the third heat of the day with a higher technical difficulty score for her 313, raley to wrap, raley to blind and front to wrap against Mai’s raley to blind. Also climbing one notch up the competition ladder was Bruna Kajiya (Flexifoil, BRA) winning over Laura Fernandez (ESP) in the 4th heat also with a higher technical difficulty score. Kajiya stomped a blind judge, s-bend to blind, 313, raley to wrap and a back to blind air pass while Fernandez’s massive kiteloop-frontloop and raley weren’t enough to put her on top.
After the first round of the women’s heats, there was a lunch break that lasted 40 minutes and games director Olaf Van Tol decided to switch to the men’s division around 3:00 pm.
In the first men’s heat, Reno Romeu (North, BRA) had his first win of the day at the expense of Johnno Scholte (NED) via a higher technical difficulty score and power. A blind judge with aerial handle pass, back to blind air pass, 313, mobe 5, and a flat 360 were enough to win against Scholte’s blind judge, back to blind air pass, high handle pass front mobe and kiteloop. In the second set of the same heat, Sam Light (Naish, GBR) struggled in the strong winds and lost to Borsuk via technical difficulty and variation.
The strong wind conditions which were ranging from 25 to 35 knots with gustiness of over 40 knots made it tough for the men to land their tricks. However, with extra effort from the competitors who were on their smallest kites (5 – 7 meters), most riders were able to ride the conditions out and advanced to the next round.
The second heat saw Ariel Corniel (Ozone, DOM) took an easy win over Jo Ciastula (Airush, ESP) while Tour veteran Cesar Portas (North, ESP) won over countryman Borja Rodriguez (Slingshot) in the 3rd heat. Portas landed a blind judge, slim, flat 360 and a kiteloop while Rodriguez managed to land some big jumps and kiteloops and was overtaken with technical difficulties.
Young rider Andy Yates (Slingshot, AUS) took advantage of the strong winds and landed a 313, non-inverted slim, mobe 5, blind judge with aerial handle pass, kgb and a front mobe. Yates defeated Sergey Borisov (Best, RUS) who landed a regular and switch blind judge plus a raley, with a much higher technical difficulty score. The Aussie also took a convincing win over Tour veteran Portas in the 10th heat with solid, powered moves.
Youri Zoon (Slingshot, NED), a former Fuerteventura winner is back after two years off the Tour and was loving the strong winds. A blind judge with aerial handle pass, back to blind air pass, front mobe, a huge kiteloop, non-inverted slim and a flat 360 is all it took to defeat Daniel James (North, UK) in the 5th heat.
Russian rider Petr Tyuskevich (Flexifoil) dominated the first set of the 7th heat while Michael Shitzhofer (JN Kites, AUT) defeated Alberto Rondina (Cabrinha, ITA) in the second set. A blind judge with aerial handle pass, s-bend to blind, slim, front mobe, mobe and kiteloop for the Austrian rider were enough to win against the Italian’s flat 360, blind judge, slim and kiteloop.
Heat #8b was run and re-ran due to the announcer instructing the rescue crew to retrieve a board for Evgeny Novozheev (North, RUS) who was still in the competition box. Effectively, the rescue boat interfered with the heat and had to be re-sailed. Nevertheless, Tom Court (North, GBR) convincingly won both runs.
In the 9th heat, Alex Pastor (Naish, ESP) had a late surge and took the win against Corniel who was on a borrowed kite for the strong winds. The Spanish rider landed a nice blind judge with aerial handle pass, blind judge, regular and switch back to blind air pass, regular and switch non-inverted slim and a mobe.
Last year’s Tour runner-up Kevin Langeree (Naish, NED) grabbed an easy win in the 10th heat against Morales, while Zoon zoomed-in pass Tom Hebert (Airush, New Caledonia) in heat #11a. Trick variation and powered moves was the deciding factor in this heat.
Seb Garat (RRD, FRA) had some difficulty in the increasing wind speed and messed up a few landings but still managed to win the heat against Paris with a raley to blind, back to blind air pass, front mobe and blind judge.
In the last heat of the day, current champion Aaron Hadlow (Flexifoil, GBR) had a sort of a warm up heat with a great display for the crowd. Hadlow defeated Court who tried hard but the reigning champion proved too good in strong winds. A blind judge with aerial handle pass, a huge kiteloop, blind judge, mobe, flat 360, and a shifty 360 were more than enough to beat Court’s blind judge with aerial handle pass and shifty 360.
The day concluded at 5:00 pm. Tomorrow’s riders’ meeting is set at 11:30 am with first possible start at 12:00 pm.
The Fuerteventura PKRA Kiteboarding Grand Slam 2009 is organized and presented by Pro Center Rene Egli in cooperation with Playas de Jandia Fuerteventura, the Tourism Council of Fuerteventura, Gobierno de Canarias, Hotel Melia Gorriones, Tropical, Cabrinha and Neilpryde.
ExtremeElements.TV is the official media partner of the PKRA Kiteboarding Grand Slam 2009.