The fourth day of the Beetle Kitesurf World Cup began early, with many riders eager to get on the water after the day prior’s extreme weather and intense conditions. With wind measuring an average of 15 knots, competitors readied their gear with a sense of relief, considering that they would not be battling it out in 40+ knots.
The freestyle trials heats carried on with success and came to eventual completion in the afternoon. With four riders on the water at each heat, the show proved to be especially impressive. Riders including Alvaro Onieva (ESP) and Eudazio Da Silva (BRA) advanced early on with KGBs and 317s (respectively), while Ariel Corniel (DR), and Jerrie Van Der Kop (NED) took first in their heats in the later part of the day. In recalling the day’s action, Onieva revealed that he was very pleased with the event so far, saying, “I feel very grateful and happy that wind was good today and not as strong as yesterday. Yesterday was too much, but now we are able to compete and move forward.” For the women, Hannah Whiteley (UK) and Clementine Bonsom (FRA) did very well, winning their heats and thus moving onto the main event (among others).
During the trials, top riders such as Alberto Rondina, Bruna Kajiya, and Alex Pastor watched and sized up the competition, very much looking forward to continued action in the days to come. While these competitors knew it was unlikely they would compete today, they still remained happy to support the local competitors and trial participants by watching the competition and spending their day at the event site.
After a brief break, racing took to the water’s stage. In winds measuring 8-12 knots, competitors sent up their bigger kites (15-17 meters) and lined up for the same course that was run on the previous racing day. Right off of the start, Bryan Lake (USA) pulled out in the lead with John Heineken (USA) not far behind. In the light wind and choppy conditions, racers took longer to round each mark and make every tack. Several minutes into the course, Adam Koch (USA) moved into the leading position as Riccardo Leccese (COL) pulled up as well and held strong in second. Lake, on the other hand, fell back into fifth as Heineken lost ground as well. Rolf Van Der Vlugt (NED) took this opportunity to progress ahead in the fleet, as did Julien Kernuer (FRA).
During this time, Katja Roose (NED) held onto her consistent lead, while her main competitor of the event so far, Christine Bonniger (GER), kept secure in her second place until the very end. Eventually, Leccese gained a lead ahead of Koch just before the second to last mark. He achieved first place, and Koch, Heineken, and Van Der Vlugt finished shortly thereafter. First-time PKRA racer Morten Hansen (DEN) later commented, “I think it’s very nice here with good wind. It’s really great to race for the first time at this event and I hope the next days will bring consistent conditions that are not too strong or light.”
The fifth day of competition is expected to be a full one, with the likely beginning of the freestyle single eliminations, racing, and possibly Airstyle as well. The live stream will also continue to bring the action to viewers around the world. Wind forecasts predict 13-21 knots.