Big Wins at the Think Blue Kitesurf World Cup
The last and final day of the Think Blue Kitesurf World Cup concluded today with the termination of the double elimination of the freestyle discipline in an exciting climax to end the event. In ideal conditions, fans and spectators were treated to undoubtedly some of the highest-level riding that has been seen in competition to date. Karolina Winkowska (PL) maintained her top spot claiming the win in a super final, and former world champion Aaron Harlow (GB) secured his win, taking his first podium spot since 2009.
“Yeah finally done it. I couldn’t get my hopes up yesterday; I just knew I was in a good position and luckily I was able to make it. Last year I just only got second and this year always on the edge of the podium, so to finally get that first place win half way through the season feels real good. I’m just glad to get back up to this level now” commented Hadlow.
The day began early to take advantage of expected good wind in the morning and riders were prepared for another long day of competition. With offshore winds greeting the riders at the event site, it was quite a different scene than yesterday’s stormy and rainy conditions. High clouds blanketed the sky and the increasing winds swung to the side-offshore direction, filling in to 15-22 knots. As the wind strength built throughout the day, the conditions offered optimal flat water and waist-high kickers on which competitors were able to perform their biggest and best tricks.
The most noteworthy and highest scoring heat of the day happened between Christophe Tack (BE) and Liam Whaley (ES). Seemingly going trick for trick, Tack landed and a monstrous Blind Judge 7, which put him in place for what seemed like an inevitable win. However, Whaley answered back, stomping an equally impressive Blind Judge 7 of his own to balance the difference, ultimately take the win, and earning the highest heat score of the event (38.93).
“I’m still kind of in shock. My back started hurting through my first heat and it was killing me but the adrenaline of winning heats just kept the pain down, I’m so happy to win seven heats in a row and make it all the way to the final. I didn’t ride my best in the final against Aaron, but I had the best heat of my life against Tack” commented Whaley.
A couple unfortunate heats of the day involved German national champion Mario Rodwald in his first heat, when on a landing, he came down hard injuring his knee and had to be taken to the hospital. Also, former world champion Youri Zoon had a similar incident landing on the back of a sizable wave and was ripped from his boots, injuring his ankle, forcing him back to the beach and foregoing the remainder of his heat.
In the women’s ladder, it was current points leader Gisela Pulido (ES) who was on fire and riding aggressively with strong conviction after many days of not riding. Regarding the high level of riding witnessed today, Bruna Kajiya remarked “Everyone was really hyped-up and I think that you could really see that on the water. The level here, I feel like it really stepped up this stop.” In Pulido’s first final heat against Winkowska, she unleashed her expanding arsenal of tricks including a Slim Chance, Hinterberger Mobe, and Front Blind, amongst others. Winkowska did not give in and landed a Back Mobe, Slim 5, and S1, which put her in the running, but losing out by only .07 points. In the super final, it was Winkowska putting a solid heat together to allow her to secure the win over Pulido.
For the past nine days, St Peter-Ording has played host to the world’s best kiteboarding athletes in the discipline of freestyle and slalom. A beautiful beach and an amazing village anchored it all as a top-notch venue for a world-class event. With the thousands of beach-goers and fans supporting and cheering for the competitors throughout the week, the energy surrounding the event was infectious, allowing riders to push their skills to new levels, and driving the sport of kiteboarding forward. At the awards ceremony, the top finishers took to the stage, holding their trophies high as they were celebrated for their skills and efforts. Following an amazing nine days, in conditions that varied from perfect sun to stormy rain, the Think Blue Kitesurf World Cup officially came to a close.For updates and all the latest info on upcoming stops for the PKRA Tour, stay tuned in to the PKRA Facebook page and Twitter Feed.
Double Elimination Results Men Freestyle
1st Aaron Hadlow (UK)
2nd Liam Whaley (ES)
3rd Marc Jacobs (NZ)
4th Christophe Tack (BE)
Double Elimination Results Men Freestyle
1st Karolina Winkowska (PL)
2nd Gisela Pulido (ES)
3rd Bruna Kajiya (BR)
4th Annelous Lammerts (NL)
Slalom Results Men
1st Bryan Lake (US)
2nd Julian Kerneur (FR)
3rd Florian Gruber (DE)
4th Jannis Maus (DE)
Slalom Results Women
1st Katja Roose (NL)
2nd Annelous Lammerts (NL)
3rd Christine Boenniger (DE)
4th Bibiana Magaji (SK)