Day one started on a typical Soma Bay note, drowsy riders up for the 6am start were woken by the bright sun and beautiful clear waters of the bay, with a steady 20knot breeze buzzing through kites and event flags it was sure to be a great day. The trail elimination format was run before lunch to give some new and old faces a chance to compete in the main event.
Most of the big names made it through the mens trials alongside tour rookie Linus Erdmann from Germany, doing his best again to make it into another main event. We also saw an old face Forrest Bakker from Spain return with a new face on his kite and a steady selection of tricks propelling him also into the main draw. Sadly young Tom Bridge (UK) narrowly missed out on a place in the main event this time but I’m sure we will see him again soon and probably 5ft taller and going 5ft higher if his brothers are anything to go by!
The womens ladder was a full one with even the trials being tightly contested. The tension was thick as the girls went to battle, with most of women on such a similar level technically that it made for interesting watch. However it was to be Amle, Oja, Vieira, Lange and Brochocka who were lucky enough to make it through this time. It’s great to see more and more women at these stops and we only hope it continues.
After a short lunch the single elimination got underway around 3pm, with male riders using 11m kites in the beginning all the way down to a 7m near the end of the day, some Women were on as small as 5m. On the womens side of the draw Malin Amle seemed to have it together today showing how a taller rider can get that big pop if you get it all right, throwing down a couple of clean S-Bends to blind to the surprise of some of her competitors. Lammerts Oja and Jungo also all progressed through into round 2 where things will really start to heat up, make sure you tune in and don’t miss out!
The mens competition elimination was fought hard as always but by the end of the day there were a few clear standouts. Sergei Borisov from Russia seemed to have a lot of support from the crowd and it looked like it was helping, passing both his heats for the day and advancing into round three. You could tell by the smile on his face he was more than happy with the outcome, as this is one guy that has seemed to be somewhat unlucky in events previous.
Top honours have to go to Liam Whaley from Tarifa however who put down some amazing heats, throwing big Front Blind Mobes and Double Heart Attacks in the tricky conditions. Liam injured his ribs at the start of the year and hasn’t been riding as well as he can the last few competitions, with that now behind him it will also be interesting to see how this young Spaniard performs in the following days.
Special mention also must also go to Eudazio Da Silva, riding solid and committed the all day. This guy seems to be able to adapt to many different conditions, hailing from the kiteboarding mecca of Brazil where the repetitive conditions give him the ideal platform to fine tune a consistent competitive approach to heats. He’s also in round 3 so lets see if he can push it that bit harder this event and make a podium in the days to come.