Light Winds and Heavy Heats Start the Doubles
The fifth day of competition from the Fuerteventura Kiteboarding Grand Slam arrived with a surprise downpour of rain in the early morning hours. Low ominous clouds lurked on the horizon and created a dramatic backdrop to the event site as riders arrived for the 10:30 meeting. With light winds brushing the water and sunbreaks filtering through the cracks in the clouds, hopes were high for increasing winds.
By 1:30, the wind had filled in to contestable levels, and the riders in the early round heats hit the water on their biggest kites. Despite the first heat being abandoned due to fading winds, the conditions soon improved and the start of the double elimination resumed. In total, 15 men’s heats and 5 women’s heats were run.
The men’s division saw many powered tricks go down, as all riders were eager for their second chance to climb their way up the ladder. Riders rode well with increased consistency, compared to what was seen in the strong gusty winds of the singles. Offering a testament to the high level of riding, close heats were the norm, rather than the exception, as many exciting heats were won by less than a one-point margin.
A suspenseful heat between Stephen Spiessberger and Jerome Cloetens had the crowd on their feet as they waited for the results to be announced. Despite impressive riding from the young-gun, Cloetens, Spiessberger took home the win, and the highest trick score of the day with a Crow Mobe 5 – earning a score of 7.30. Noteworthy performances came from newcomer David Tonijuan, who impressed the judges with a collection of powerful and technical tricks to advance two heats, before finally succumbing to Aaron Hadlow in the following round.
Undoubtedly, the best and highest scoring heat of the day came from Hadlow in his heat against Tonijuan. Demonstrating a diverse and technical array of tricks, Hadlow rode with confidence, consistency, and style, landing eleven out of eleven different tricks, and proving that he is comfortable with his new equipment – capable of a podium run in the continuation of the doubles.
The women’s division was equally exciting. Standout heats came from Brazilian champion Dioneia Vieira who rode with power and consistency, landing a powerful Back-to-blind and S1, amongst others. Also, Manuela Jungo seems to be improving nearly every event and gave a strong performance in her heat against Helena Brochocka. Vieira and Jungo will go head to head in the next round when the doubles continue.
After the completion of the single eliminations in extreme and gusty conditions on day three of the event, it seemed appropriate that the first day of the doubles would provide tamer winds and a bit of relief for PKRA competitors. Although conditions did not allow the termination of the doubles today, tomorrows forecast is calling for improving conditions. With only 15 heats remaining, tomorrow is sure to be full of more action-packed heats.
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.