Unsure of what to expect on Day 5 of the O’Neill Kiteboard World Cup, racers arrived to the beach with light wind, not yet suitable for racing. Preparing for the possible wind to come, and starving for more racing action, competitors readied their gear and settled into a several hour waiting period. Hopeful spectators and onlookers began to crowd the beach in anticipation, also taking advantage of the many things to do at the event site, such as the O’Neill/Phillips Mobile Test Lab and the plywood skate ramp.
In time, the winds began to build slightly, and the race director attempted a first starting time of 2:05. Unfortunately, the conditions became highly variable and the race was cancelled before it began. After an hour passed, the winds returned, measuring 10 knots. The racers then took off at the sound of the horn, ferociously fighting for the best placement and strategizing the best line of attack.
Right from the beginning, Adam Koch (USA) and Riccardo Leccese (COL) took very different tacks, one starting on port and the other on starboard. This made for an interesting beginning, with others such as Bryan Lake (USA) and Julien Kerneur (FRA) not far behind. By the first mark, it was clear that Leccese chose the appropriate path, as he rounded the buoy with ease. Koch, on the other hand, was forced to make a short tack back to get around his mark.
As the race progressed, a greater distance was made between Leccese and Rolf Van Der Vlugt (NED), who followed in second. Unfortunately, a collision on the second lap between Bryan Lake (USA) and Van Der Vlugt took these top-riders out of their leading positions, allowing Julien Kerneur and Adam Koch to edge into second and third place (this collision was later protested). At this time, Nuria Goma’s (ESP) kite also went down, which forced her to forfeit the 5th race. Later, in recalling the race, Koch commented that it was a challenging competition and revealed that rounding each mark was perhaps the most difficult part, as this transition in light wind can turn out to be all luck – a puff of wind making or breaking one’s chance of pulling through with success.
Finally, the competitors crossed the finish line after a hard fought battle in tough conditions and strong current. Leccese completed the race with a sizeable lead, while Koch and Kerneur took part in the closest finish yet – Kerneur just inches ahead of Koch. This race ended in seven knots, and several competitors did not finish. In fact, Katja Roose (NED) turned out to be the only woman to finish the race.
Day 6 looks to promise good wind in the morning, decreasing throughout the day. Competitors will arrive at the event site early on to take advantage of this possible morning blow. In addition, the livestream will also continue to broadcast the action and feature exclusive interviews and insights with host, Dave Tyburski.