Pounda, Paros, Greece, September 9th, 2009. Today marks the kick off of the world kite-racing event held on the beautiful island of Paros, Greece.
A few years have past since the last PKRA event was hosted in Paros, but this year will prove to be an impressive comeback and perhaps a more familiar destination in the pro tour lineup for racing as well as freestyle in the years to come.
Registration began at 9:00 am this morning under mostly overcast skies and temperatures averaging 21 degrees. The registration process lasted a little longer than planned in hopes that more female competitors would participate.
Acting as the new PKRA Press Secretary (Jacqueline d’Entremont), how better to get an up close and personal view of what goes on in the exciting world of kite racing than to actually participate. I nervously signed up for the race in hopes of giving the only registered female a riding companion. Shortly after my inscription four local Greek women registered making a total of 6 female racers and 17 men.
The mandatory riders meeting commenced at 12:00 pm with the first possible start at 1:00 pm. Riders rushed out on the water with their 9-11m kites, eagerly anticipating the signal to indulge in the nearly perfect wind conditions.
Race director Olaf Van Tol and his crew set a short 7-minute course for Day 1, but promises he has a few magic tricks up his sleeve to set some pretty interesting and challenging courses for the following days.
This was certainly not a challenging day for French racer Bruno Sroka (Cabrinha) who dominated all four races but was closely shadowed by German rider Dirk Hanel (North) whom would nearly overtake Sroka on a number of occasions. It was a constant neck-to-neck battle between these two very powerful riders. North rider, Pierre Romain (FRA) who finished 4th in the first race of the day, raced his way to the 3rd overall position.
It was a winning day for BEST rider, Kristin Boese (GER) who effortlessly finished all four races defeating all challengers. Greek riders, Felicia Constandopoulou (BEST) and Maria Kampa (Naish) fought between the second and third position, each totaling 7 points.
Tomorrow’s riders meeting is set for 11:00 am with the first possible start at 11:30 am. Paros PKRA World Cup 2009 is sponsored in part by PPF Services, Blu Café, Greece Tourism, Paros Kite and x-dream.