The PKRA freestyle event in Fuerteventura started this afternoon with the trials, to select the top man that will be competing in the main event. 41 men and 12 women registered for the freestyle event. This means that 33 men have to go through the trials for the 14 spots available in the main event. The wind was around 20 knots, the men were mostly on their 9 meters and the water was perfectly flat. Many top seeds advanced like Hadlow, Shitzhofer, Spiessberger and more, but some big upsets who did not make it in like the Garat brothers, Serin, Bakker and Scholte.
The skippers meeting was held at 10:30, but with the wind being capricious the competition did not start until 12:15. The conditions were very tame for Fuerteventura giving the opportunity to the riders to land some big moves. Even though we did not see any doubles during the trials, they will surely come out for the main event. The top riders are able to land their repertoire of tricks, easily asserting themselves above the competition and qualifying directly into the main event.
The format of the trials is very simple; nine heats are run of 3 to 4 men with the winners advancing directly into the main event. All the losers of the first round meet in round two for 6 heats of three men with the winners advancing to the next round. Round three is composed of two heats with the top two seeds advancing and the two losers meet in round four and the winner takes the final spot into the main event.
In heat one Patrick Blanc advanced over his competitors with some powerful handle passes like and S-1 and S-mobe with the kite low. In heat two Spiessberger landed a clean front blind mobe to advance. Hadlow was in heat three, even though he was not very powerful, his riding was extremely clean and technical and qualified for the main event. Garaschenko surprised Hutter in heat four with some big moves. Schitzhofer was constant and powerful in heat five and advance while Nico Suriel went huge to get his win in heat six. Madson was extremely clean and powerful in heat seven. Corniel won a close heat over S.Garat to qualify for the main event. In the last heat of round one Borisov only landed a few tricks but they were extremely well executed and powerful to get the win. After this first round five spots remain for 18 riders.
In round two the riders are under a lot of pressure, because the must win the heat to remain in the competition and only one out of three rider advances to the next round. The six riders that advanced were Neto, Fermon, DaSilva, Bobryk, Hutter and Umpierre. The second round had two extremely close heats. One with Serin, Bobryk and Alcazar with the judges having a split decision and in a very close heat Bobryk advanced to the next round. The other close heat was between Umpierre and Sebastien and Valentin Garat. Once again the judges were split and the decision went to Umpierre.
The third round was a great show with everyone advancing to either the main event or the next round. Hutter and Neto took care of business early while umpierre would need another heat to qualify for the main event by defeating Fermon. Da Silva and Bobryk advanced over fermon with bigger moves and more power.
The trials are getting harder every PKRA event and just winning a heat is becoming very challenging with strong competitors coming from all over the world. The 14 that advanced into the main event will have a chance to challenge the top eight riders in the world and maybe achieve a top eight results to move up in the rankings and no longer have to go through trials. The main event is set, with a very talented fleet. Youri Zoon and Bruna Kajiya are the two missing competitors from this main event, who will be out for the rest of the season due to injuries.