After two days of competition here in Fuerteventura for the PKRA Kiteboarding World Tour, we entered the second part of the single eliminations. This was going to be the most exciting day with only the very best riders left to compete in the strong winds of Sotavento. The men’s division started with the quarter finals in 30 knots conditions which according to Brazilian rider Reno Romeu (BRA, North) made the spot a little choppy with a kicker on the inside.
The competition started with a very controversial heat; Tom Hebert (FRA, North) versus Alberto Rondina (ITA, Cabrinha). Both riders executed a lot of tricks and most judges admitted that it was a very close heat but Alberto just took the edge with a 3-2 win due to his variety and multitude of switch tricks. Tom however was going for the power moves but didn’t manage to perform the same amount of tricks as his competitor.
The singles went on to complete the third round without any major surprises since the top 4 on the overall ranking: Zoon (NED, Slingshot), Pastor (ESP, Airush), Jacobs (NZL, Switch), and Rondina (ITA, Cabrinha) advanced easily into the semi finals with unanimous decisions in their heats from the judges.
Head Judge Sami Gali noticed that a couple of riders were going for very powerful moves, keeping their kite low and executing very technical maneuvers. He also noted that the speed going into the trick proves the rider’s commitment and therefore the risk involved.
Alberto Rondina (ITA, Cabrinha) turned out to be the main man of the day. He advances against Vice World Champion Alex Pastor (ESP, Airush) who broke his board in the first minute of his heat. However Alex still attempted to execute his major tricks, as he didn’t have a spare one on the beach. Unfortunately this led him to crash most of his moves and allowed Alberto to get into his first ever final on the PKRA. “I couldn’t dream of anything better, I am now in the final against Youri, I will go for it and try to do as many tricks as I can because I know Youri just lands them one after another”
Youri Zoon (NED, Slingshot) was often described as unreachable by his fellow competitors, “…too many combos, too much power, clean landing, this guy is a machine…” reported Mario Rodwald (GER, North). Marc Jacobs (NZL, Switch) tried a different technique against Youri, not only going massive on every trick but also taking more risks and therefore crashing a lot more. This gave Youri the advantage but he admitted to being impressed by Marc’s riding and said it scared him a bit during the heat.
Meanwhile in the girls division the top 4 women were on 5 to 6 meter kites in the semi finals. Karolina Winkowska (POL, Slingshot) wasn’t on her A-game today and unfortunately she crashed the majority of her tricks against Bruna Kajiya (BRA, Flexifoil), leaving her to go into the loser’s final against Joanna Litwin (POL, Nobile).
The women’s final, Bruna Kajiya versus Gisela Pulido (ESP, Airush) was a very exciting heat as both girls did the same tricks: Blind Judge, S-bend to blind and 313. The judges gave the win to Gisela for: “(…) a better overall trick execution and cleaner landings. Bruna’s kite was often looping after landing her tricks.” said judges Jaubert and Lewis-Hughes.
Gisela crashed a trick in the last minute of the heat smashing her kite on the water and deflating it, but luckily she landed enough to take the win of this single elimination.
Results Women Single Eliminations:
1. Gisela Pulido (ESP, Airush)
2. Bruna Kajiya (BRA, Flexifoil)
3. Karolina Winkowska (POL, Slingshot)
4. Joanna Litwin (POL, Nobile)
The final between Youri Zoon and Alberto Rondina was a trick spectacle with Youri performing his usual combos and Alberto trying to match all of his tricks. But the judges saw a lot more power, risk and commitment in Youri’s execution.
Results Men Single Eliminations:
1. Youri Zoon (NED, Slingshot)
2. Alberto Rondina (ITA, Cabrinha)
3. Alex Pastor (ESP, Airush)
4. Marc Jacobs (NZL, Switch)
After a short break the double elimination started with the first men’s round. The biggest surprise here came from the youngest rider on the tour Liam Whaley (ESP, Airush) beating Sebastien Garat (FRA, RRD). The party tent will now play home to Sebastien Garat who showed great sportsmanship by congratulating youngster Liam Whaley on going through to face the other veteran of the tour, Mike Blomvall (SWE, Nobile).
Onieva (ESP, Slingshot), Welsh (GER, Naish), Tack (BEL, Liquid Force), Paris FRA, North), Schitzhofer (AUT, Best) also made it to the second round of the doubles.