Riders Battle in Fuerte’s Extreme Conditions
On this first day of the Fuerteventura World Cup, the wind came on hard and strong – just in time for the initial day of competition, which included trials and the first round of the men’s single eliminations. With every rider more motivated than every to harness the unpredictable gusts in a manner that would best translate to big tricks and even bigger scores, competitors pumped up their small kites and braced for a day of unpredictable action and difficult challenges.
As this location is known for its incredibly strong wind, riders today exhibited their best moves, combined with awe-inspiring crashes and major wipeouts. In fact, most riders, while providing an impressive show, managed only to achieve half the usual scores seen during competition heats, as the conditions proved to be amazingly demanding. This lead to a higher number of crashes, which counted towards to the 12 allotted trick attempts.
Early on in the trial heats, Victor Hays (FRA), Sergei Borisov (RUS), and Ariel Corniel (DR) advanced, while Reno Romeo (BRA), Johnno Scholte (NED), Paul Serin (FRA), and Hendrick Burgers (ARU) also moved onto the next round. Throughout the trials, competitors displayed a wide range of S-Bends, Slims, Raleys, and Blind Judges, among other tricks.
As the wind increased and the sand whipped against the imposing event tent and beachside spectators, the first round of the single eliminations commenced in the early afternoon. At this point, the judge’s tabulated scores were sent straight from their iPad tablets from within the judging tower to the big screen television located down below, and spectators and competitors were able to watch the action on-screen and gain insight into each trick score as it happened.
Some of the best heats of this first day occurred between Jerome Cloetens (BEL) and Patrick Blanc (ESP) as well as Romeu and Serin. Notably, Blanc scored the highest heat score of the day at 21.4, executing a Blind Judge 3 and 313. Romeo meanwhile completed a nice Front Side 3, while Serin achieved a well-received Blind Judge 3. In watching such heats, it became very apparent that riders were searching desperately for the perfect pockets of wind to execute their planned tricks. At points, timing would suit the maneuver well, and the trick would be completed with near flawless execution, while in other moments, a rider would be just seconds away from sending the kite, only to confront a lull or gust, which would derail the riders plans and send him back on another tack.
The second to last heat between Ariel Corniel (DR) and Michael Schitzofer (AUT) also proved exciting, as both displayed incredible speed, control, and power. Corniel eventually advanced in this close heat, as did Alexandre Bournay (ESP) in his battle against Brice Des Moutis (FRA) in the final moments of the afternoon. After a full day of exhilarating and full-blown competitive kiting action, every onlooker likely walked away with the same conclusion – that almost anything can happen in the major winds found in Fuerteventura.
Tomorrow, the mens single eliminations will continue and the women will get to compete in the expectedly strong winds that will likely range from 19-37 knots in the northerly direction.