Double Eliminations at the Fuerteventura World Cup
After the completion of the single eliminations in extreme and gusty conditions, it seemed appropriate that the first day of the doubles would provide calmer winds and a bit of relief for PKRA competitors. With plans to make it only part way through the doubles, the top finishers of the single eliminations were able to relax, reboot, and consider their strategy for the days ahead. Meanwhile, other riders stepped up to the plate, ready to climb their way up the ladder and provide the best results they could muster.
The day began with around 15-20 knots of wind in the usual northerly direction. The first heat turned out to be a simple call, as Brice Des Moutis (FRA) abandoned the heat early on, allowing Johnno Scholte (NED) to advance. Hendrick Burgers (ARU) and Michael Schitzhofer (AUT) took part in one of the more interesting battles of the morning, as Burgers executed a nice 6.17 Slim and Schitzhofer a high-scoring Blind Judge 3. Unfortunately for the Austrian competitor, Burger’s riding was strong, and he advanced into the next round with a win.
Commenting on his loss to the young Aruban, Schitzhofer said, “Coming off of 8 weeks not kiting, it was tough to get on the water and compete in Fuerte of all places. But I’m lucky my injury didn’t take me out of the game longer.” Schitzhofer, however, didn’t seem too phased by his loss, and assisted live commentator Dave Tyburski in the live stream booth for the remainder of the day.
A close battle in the beginning that ended this time in a win for Austria, Stefan Spiessberger (AUT) and Jerome Cloetens (BEL) spent much of their heat only several points apart. Eventually; however, a 6.43 Back Mobe from Spiessberger provided a point spread of 28 to 19.17 in the very last seconds. As the day continued on, winds grew noticeably stronger, but never quite as strong and challenging as the previous day had seen. The beach remained as packed as ever, and onlookers continued to gain insight into the individual scores of each rider’s tricks from the big screen inside the event tent, which displayed the live stream and instant score results.
Another suspenseful heat played out between the talented Dominican rider, Ariel Corniel and Sergei Borisov (RUS), a strong adversary who has done well in the competition thus far. Early on, Corniel’s kite deflated after a crash, forcing him to swim back to the beach, and just shortly after, Borisov lost his kite and bar as well, which evened the playing field. After they both entered back onto the water, the battle continued with a 5.70 Front Mobe from Sergei and some huge tricks at the end for Corniel. At the close of this dynamic heat, Corniel pulled off several heat-making tricks, including a well-received Crow-Mobe, which pushed him into advancement. Later on in the day, Corniel would not be so lucky, as he suffered what many assumed to be a concussion after a serious crash, which sent him to the hospital.
For the women, all eyes were on Gisela Pulido today after her unexpected loss to Helena Rosinska (POL) in the singles. When her time came, Pulido entered the water with a new determination and a clear strategy to rack up the points in these tough conditions. Her first tricks against Marie, including a big Back Roll and S-Bend, did her well to start out. Both ladies rode on their smallest kites to compensate for the strong wind. Marie completed a Blind Judge and Railey but did not complete the full amount of tricks allotted. With some better executions and more tricks, Pulido won the heat with the help of a nice Blind Judge 3 scored at 5.67.
Continuing on through the double eliminations, Johnno Scholte and Kevin Langeree provided possibly the most eventful heat, as Scholte took an early lead over Langeree. Scholte was riding extremely well and stomping huge tricks such as his 6.10 Slim, only to have his kite rip in an unfortunate turn of events, which sent him back to the beach. Just as he looked as if he would give up and abandoned the heat, the crowd cheered him on, alerting him of his current leading position. In response, Scholte grabbed the first kite in site offered up by another competitor and got back on the water. Unfortunately for Scholte, the loss of time and trick scores was not enough. Kevin came out victorious with a 35.46 score to Scholte’s 21.43.
And lastly, Marc Jacobs (NZ) and Christophe Tack (BEL) followed through with yet another suspenseful heat. Within seconds of the beginning horn sounding, Jacob’s kite went down with a 5th line tangle, which left him struggling in the water for some time. Tack then took an early lead and began to widen his winning gap. Always known for his big and fast style, Jacobs still pulled through. Kiting on twisted lines, he managed to hit some major tricks, including a 6.27 Late Back Mobe, 6.37 Slim, and 6.87 Back Mobe. Tack did well in his effort to hold a lead with his 6.27 Front Blind Mobe, among others, but eventually lost to Jacobs and his solid executions.
Next up on day four of the Fuerteventura World Cup, the double eliminations for both the men and women will continue, likely bringing the much anticipated results for this spectacular event. The commencement of the Aisrtyle discipline may also take place, depending upon conditions and timing.