Slalom Thrills Crowds in Light Winds of Mendoza
Racers and freestylers returned on day 5 of the Kitesurf World Cup Argentina to glassy conditions, similar to the day prior. While the forecast looked promising, anticipation was heightened, due to the fact that that only two days remained in the contest period.
While the wind took its time to show, riders pumped kites, swam and hung out alongside the noticeably larger weekend crowd of spectators, fans and tourists.
Eventually, and seemingly within minutes, the lake went from mirror-like to a steady 12 knots. Soon after, the first few riders made it out on the water to check the conditions. Although some of the smaller freestyle riders were able to ride and throw down some tricks, it was not yet considered contestable conditions.
At this point, the decision was made to wait until 1:00pm, to see if the afternoon thermal wind would strengthen enough to resume the freestyle, which after having valid results already for the slalom, would take priority. At that time, wind had not improved. Race director Olaf van Tol and head judge Sami Gali consulted the riders committee whether to start the freestyle in the light and shifty winds. They deemed that conditions were not yet suitable and the start time of the slalom race sequence was announced.
Soon after, women’s slalom race four got underway with Merve Ceylan leading from the start all the way until the last mark, where she crashed in a gust and was passed by Paula Novotna, followed by Jana Pipkin.
The men’s race five saw Brian Lake in the lead from start to finish, while the battle for second and third between Victor Adamo and Manuel Abeleyra had the beach cheering and on its feet. The racers were side-by-side on the last leg to the finish, but Adamo accelerated in the last seconds and finished in second place by just over a board length.
During women’s race five, inconsistent wind between the second and third mark caused riders to struggle in the light wind. Ceylon was out in front and was the only racer to make that mark, ultimately taking the win. The other racers had to tack to finally make it upwind of the bouy. Crossing the finish line second was Pipkin or her twin-tip. Having been disqualified at the start line due to being over early, second place went to Novotna also on her twin-tip.
Following the races it was decided to give freestyle a try. After only two minutes into the women’s heat five, neither riders had enough power to stay in the competition area, and the heat was abandoned. Although the wind would increase briefly, it never regained strength and the competition was called for the day.
Sunday will be the last day of the PKRA Kitesurf World Cup Argentina. Riders will meet at the event site at 10:30 for a first possible start of 11:00.