Whaley and Winkowska on Top of the Singles
Day three of the 2014 Fuerteventura Kiteboarding Grand Slam brought on conditions that were nothing short of classic for the this much-loved tour stop. Starting off the day early, the first round competitors utilized 10-11m kites, later downsizing as the winds built throughout the day. Challenges facing the competitors soon mounted, as riders tried to execute their best tricks in the gusty offshore wind and choppy water conditions.
Early round men’s action gave some insight into the challenging conditions for those pre-seated riders. Noteworthy performances came from promising young guns, David Tonijuan and Paul Serin, who landed some impressive tricks but lacked the scores needed to advance past the second round. In round two, Liam Whaley put together his first of four extraordinary heats, exemplifying the consistency and power that would later take him to the top. For the women, early round standouts were Dioneia Vieira and Kristin Oja, who managed some respectable maneuvers in the difficult conditions and showed potential to advance further in the double eliminations.
n the quarterfinals of the men, Whaley put a stop to Hadlow’s short run in a close fight up until the last minutes of the heat. Also in the quarterfinals, Reno Romeo upset Alex Neto, landing himself into the top four to go up against Marc Jacobs in the semi-final in one of the closest heats of the day. In the end, it was Romeo advancing and earning a spot in his first final, beating out Jacobs by .77 of a point.
For the women, it was the usual suspects progressing to the semi-finals with the currently ranked top four advancing into the finals. Despite struggles at times to initiate takeoffs on 5-6m kites, some impressive tricks were landed. A close heat between Annelous Lammerts and Bruna Kajiya saw the young Lammerts winning over tour veteran Kajiya to secure the third place spot. Ultimately, Karolina Winkowska took charge in a solid final with more consistent landings to earn the top podium spot over Gisela Pulido.
The men’s semi-finals saw one of the best heats of the day. Tack and Whaley went head-to-head, landing numerous big tricks which included impressive Crow Mobe 5s and Front Blind Mobes from both riders. Tack showed off his Pete Rose and BJ5, while a grabbed KGB and S3 scored high for Whaley. In the end, Whaley’s consistency and powered execution of his tricks ultimately put him in the winner’s final to beat Romeu earning his debut first place finish in the PKRA.
Commenting on his stellar day and win, Whaley commented, “I just tried to throw my tricks where the wind was less gusty and do the tricks that I have solid and do them bigger and cleaner than usual. I guess that was the key. I’ve been training a lot between events in the Levante in Tarifa, which are pretty much the same to the winds here, but a bit less gusty, so I think that has helped. It is great to win in Spain because, you know, I’m from Spain.”
Garnering the respect of the riders and fans watching from the beach, the top finishers from the single elimination were presented at a podium on the beach.
Tomorrow we will continue with the Slalom discipline. Riders will meet at 11 am and a first possible start at 11:30 am. The freestyle double elimination is set to start on Wed.