PKRA Kitesurfing Grand Slam – Day 4
Sotavento, Fuerteventura – The competition started exactly at 11:00 am with two course races. The wind was less strong than yesterday, particularly in the morning but a little bit more offshore which caused the gusts to be more severe and unpredictable. The continuation of the Freestyle doubles elimination started at 1:30 pm after a short lunch break. By the late afternoon, the wind picked up strength again although not as strong as the peak yesterday.
High tide came in and the safety crew had to check everything so the crew had to take off the steps to the judges tower on one side to prevent it from being washed away. It was an exciting and exhilarating day as the competitors could really get close to the tower and the grand stand which provided more excitement to the crowd. The competition wrapped up at 4:30 pm and tomorrow’s skippers meeting is set at 11:00 am with first possible start at 11:30.
Event Director Olaf Van Tol says, “I have to study the whether forecast for tomorrow because I want to make sure we finish the doubles. So if it looks very good in the morning for the freestyle then we’ll do freestyle in the morning and then racing in the afternoon.”
Two races were held in the morning under windy conditions with 18 racers on the starting mark. The whole race proved to be challenging especially with the really gusty condition and the racers have to give extra effort to finish the race.
Charles Deleau (FRA, North) won the first race for the men while Bruno Sroka (FRA, Takoon) won the second race with Sean Farley (MEX, North) finishing second in both races. The overall race standings is still unchanged with Deleau still on top followed by Farle, Sroka, Sami Gali (ESP, Best) and Dirk Hanel (GER, North).
Fabienne D’Ortoli (FRA, Cabrinha) won the first race among the women while Steph Bridge (GBR, North) won the second race so the overall race standings for the women still remains unchanged.
The Freestyle doubles competition which started yesterday continued today under the gusty conditions. There were a lot of crashes which made the games both exciting and unpredictable. As 18-year old Alberto Rondina (ITA, Cabrinha) puts it:
“The conditions were really extreme. I remember last year the wind was also strong but not really gusty. Today was so gusty and it was difficult to jump. When you prepare to jump there was the gust and then after you jump there was no wind so it was really hard.”
In the first notable heat of the doubles, Sebastien Cattelan (FRA) quickly went huge for the crowd close to the beach but could not land his moves against Julian Hosp (AUT) who landed his handle passes and progressed easily to the next round. Previously, Hosp was taken out in the 26th heat by a well-tuned Tom Hebert (New Caledonia) who landed more trick variation and more power in normal handle pass moves. Also in the same heat, both Silvester Ruckdaschel (GER) and Tom Court (GBR) had a tough time in the conditions during their battle, crashing several moves a piece. Ruckdaschel however, landed a KGB, front side 3, slim and 313 against Court’s blind judge, front side 3 and kiteloop with the German kiteboarder gaining the upper hand.
Heat #27 was an exciting heat as well. As Joe Ciastula (ESP) went for his first trick, a kiteloop-backloop, he snapped a line and crashed heavily in the water which then prompted him to run up the beach afterwards to grab another kite. He went back out and did his best but it wasn’t good enough as Petr Tyuskevich (RUS) had enough time to land several moves and took an easy win. Mikael Blomvall (SWE) knocked out Rondina in a tight second round heat (3-2 judges decision) winning with more switch move variety.
Reno Romeu (BRA) lost his kite after crashing a front side 3 in heat #28. He managed to grab another kite and went back out to land a couple of more tricks but he had lost too much time against Court who advanced with some well-executed solid tricks. The second round of the heat was a different story, as Cesar Portas (ESP) took the win against Tyuskevich in a 3-2 decision with slightly cleaner moves and switch variety. The Spanish PKRA athlete landed a regular and switch blind judge, front mobe, back to blind air pass, mobe, slim and front side 3 against the Russian’s blind judge 3, 313, front mobe, slim, back to blind air pass and front side 3.
After the games, Portas took time out to be interviewed and had his own assessment about the conditions. “I was riding on a 7-meter kite in my first heat and the condition were really gusty. In my second heat, the wind was getting really strong. The gust made it all really difficult. I’m used to kiting everywhere but the waves and the gust definitely made the conditions hard.”
Meanwhile, Blomvall knocked out Michael Schitzhofer (AUT) in heat #29 but only after both riders had some troubles with the small rollers coming in and with the gusty and strong winds. Blomvall landed a front mobe, shifty-3, blind judge with aerial handle pass, slim, kiteloop and late pass mobe while Schitzhofer only managed a blind judge and s-bend to blind.
In the last men’s heat, Hebert took another step up against top seeded Alvaro Onieva (ESP) with super clean and powered moves with a lot of switch variety including a regular and switch slim, regular and switch back to blind airpass, regular and switch front mobe and a mobe. Meanwhile, Portas ended Blomvall’s run in the same heat, winning with more variety, power and a higher technical difficulty score.
In the women’s heats, the big names went through as expected. Heat #13 saw Jalou Langeree (NED) defeating Elena Pitoulis (GRE) with more variety and then defeating Sjoukje Brendenkamp (RSA) in the 14th heat.
Tomorrow’s final day will be a big event and an exciting day to see if Sebastien Garat will be able to defend his Freestyle singles win against the top PKRA riders.
[Source: fuerteventura-worldcup; Photos: Burghard Drews]