Radical Wind for Single Eliminations
Day two in Fuerteventura provided no less wind and excitement than the day prior, with major wind and huge action. The morning began with around 20 knots of wind, which noticeably increased after the first several men’s heats. So, with the conditions strong and the competitors ready, it was time to head into another day of battles on the water.
Marc Jacobs (NZ) and Johnno Scholte (NED) went head to head initially, wherein Jacobs advanced first for the day. Alberto Rondina (ITA), Christophe Tack (BEL), and Alex Pastor (ESP) also advanced early on, and Pastor even scored an impressive 44.7 – the highest heat score of the day. In this second round, Sebastian Garat (FRA) and Ariel Corniel (DR) took part in a very close heat, which Garat eventually won. Both of these competitors took on the blasting gusts with intense power and extreme determination, executing a wide array of Blind Judge 3s, Slims, and Front Mobes, among other tricks.
For the women, Karolina Winkowska (POL) and Annabel Van Westerop (ARU) first entered the water, Karonlina Winkowska earning the win with a combination of S-Bends and a nice 313. Helena Brochocka (POL) also acheived perhaps the most amazing crash after sending her kite post Back-roll, which flung her into the water feet-first with her board still attached. This incredible crash gained major reactions from the judge’s tower above. Johanna (Asia) Litwin (POL) impressed as well with a nicely-executed Blind Judge 3 in her heat against Marie Switala (FRA), which she eventually won. By far the biggest upset of the day proved to be Gisela Pulido’s (ESP) loss to Helena Rosinska, which left Pulido disappointed and Rosinska ecstatic to say the least.
Continuing onto round three, the men sent up their smallest kites to match the extreme conditions. Jacobs and Rondina competed in possibly the closest heat of the day, as both competitors fought hard to land the major tricks that the wind forced them to attempt. Not surprisingly, the kites seemed like they might just fly out of the rider’s hands at times, only to be controlled enough to execute a huge and remarkable KGB or Blind Judge. Later on, in a moment of bad luck, Kevin Langeree’s (NED) kite deflated after it crashed in his heat against Reno Romeu (BRA). This allowed Romeu to advance as Langeree was forced to swim back to shore and retrieve a new kite to use in the remainder of the heat.
The women meanwhile, somewhat intimidated by the strong and gusty winds, went on to display quite a show. Bruna Kajiya (BRA) and Karolina Winkowska (POL) went out full force, both competitors throwing down high scoring Blind Judge 3s. Karolina won this close heat by only one point. In the women’s final, Winkowska went up against her Polish teammate, Litwin. Each rider, on their 5-meter kites, rode both in and out of control, the kites pulling hard and challenging their every move. In the final moments, Karolina hit a huge and high scoring S-Bend, which earned her a victory and provided her with the winning title for the single eliminations here in Fuerteventura.
In the men’s final, top-ranked riders Pastor and Zoon put on a final spectacle for all to see. With the winds raging and the gusts never letting up, both competitors zoned in on their best tricks with their most determined mindsets. Pastor flew over the water with incredible speed, while Zoon followed up an initial crash with a powered Blind Judge 3. Each rider went straight into a full range of tricks, filling up their allotted tally and making sure to stick the maneuvers that mattered most. Pastor’s highest scoring trick proved to be a 6.49 Slim, while Youri’s best maneuver was a 6.8 Back-Mobe. These competitors both displayed why they are the best of the best, earning scores that surpassed most of the other riders throughout the single eliminations. In fact, Zoon took second to Alex’s high score heat of the day at 40.22 points, but beat Pastor in the end with a combination of a Slim, S3, Blind Judge 3, and others.
In recalling his stellar day and win, Zoon revealed the day’s difficulties, saying, “It wasn’t easy and I didn’t start out well, as I broke one board this morning and one yesterday. But I’m happy to have won the singles; however it isn’t over, and I’m looking forward to the doubles to come. “ Karolina also communicated her excitement, commenting, “It was really tough conditions but I am very happy to have won the singles. I just hope the wind gets a little lighter over the next few days.”
After today’s competition, one thing is certain; the extreme conditions of this location only proved the amazing level of talent that is present with the riders at this event. Witnessing the best riders on the planet compete in some of the most difficult conditions in the world is quite the show, and never one to miss. Tomorrow, riders and viewers both on the beach and online can look forward to the beginning of the double eliminations in wind ranging from 20 to 30 knots.