Exciting slalom action highlighted Day 2 of the Pingtan Kiteboarding World Cup. The fleet of focused riders took to the water in 10-16 knots of wind and three full rounds of slalom racing were completed. Katja Roose (NL) and Brian Lake (US) sailed flawless heats to earn the first place spots in today’s overall results.
Yesterday’s twin-tip races seemed an appropriate warm-up for the competitors participating in the slalom discipline today, as riders were already amped from the first pulses of competition from the day prior. Using kites ranging from 13-16 meters, the wind became quite inconsistent as the day progressed. Although some racers chose to use twin-tip boards, those that rode directional boards clearly had an advantage.
The beach at the event site was packed full with the weekend crowds. Many locals turned out to support the competitors and to witness the action on the water. At times, fans and onlookers would surround the competitors, shaking their hands and asking to take their photographs, clearly excited in their presence and happy to welcome them to their city.
Today’s racing action saw excellent performances by Lake and Julien Kerneur (FR) who were in a league of their own with some closely contested battles to the first mark. Despite quick transitions around the buoys by Kerneur, Lake’s fin-melting top end speed allowed him to take the lead on the longer reaches of the course. Commenting on his last race of the day, “I was behind from the start and was underpowered because the wind really dropped, I knew that I was in trouble as Julien was beating me to the mark, so I tried to snake inside of him. I almost had him, but then I decided to just get a good jibe and try to overtake him on the next leg. I definitely had a couple knots on him.”
In the women’s fleet it was Roose that dominated the day for the ladies scoring bullets in all of the days races. Some close battles went down for the second and third positions and provided some of the most action-packed heats of the day. Photo finishes made it difficult to be certain who finished ahead for the many spectators lining the beach.
Tomorrow’s hope is for the great action of the Pingtan Kiteboarding World Cup to continue despite a forecast for decreasing wind. Riders will meet at 10:30 am with a first possible start at 11 am.