Racing Begins in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
Beginning the morning with considerably dryer weather than the day prior, PKRA competitors moved onto the beach around 9:30, ready to enter the water at the first sign of reliable wind. As this wait for wind began, the opening ceremonies commenced, welcoming competitors and the PKRA to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, with an authentic ‘pray for wind’ dance, performed by painted men in traditional feathers and headdresses. Sky Divers with giant flags also dropped from the sky, making for an exciting first impression, while a full display of the newest MINIs lined the beach in style.
Unfortunately, this reliable wind did not appear as hoped in the early or mid stages of the day, with intense heat and sun transitioning to stormier weather, which caused a brief downpour that pushed both competitors and spectators under cover. Considering the variable weather at hand, riders stayed aware of their kite sizes kept on the beach, which led to seemingly constant inflating and deflating patterns.
Beachside, top-ranked rider, John Heineken took in some downtime under the comfort of shade, saying that he hopes for consistent wind in the coming days, and in the meantime is enjoying the scenery. Freestyle pro, Alberto Rondina, also found relief from the intermittent rain and heat in the main gathering area, commenting that he very much appreciates the relaxed pace in Mexico, not to mention the warmer temperatures that so sharply contrast those of France – the last tour stop where Rondina achieved a 2nd place finish.
Finally, once 4pm arrived, winds looked to be adequate to start the first official race of the MINI Kiteboard World Tour. Slightly delayed by another passing storm, riders eventually took to the water, with kites ranging from 9M to 15M. After the sound of the horn, racers battled for perfect positioning and lead spots. John Heineken (USA) took an early lead, with Adam Koch (USA) not far behind. Others such as Ricardo Leccese (Columbia) and Bryan Lake (USA) put forth their strongest efforts, holding their ground for the duration of the race and finishing third and forth, respectively. In the end, Heineken grasped first place, with Koch coming in at a clear second. Katja Roose (Netherlands) happily earned first for the women, after switching her kite out with barely enough time before the race began – a maneuver that surely paid off. As was apparent with today’s race – the competition for the final first place will continue to be a hard fought battle till the end.
For tomorrow, wind is expected to arrive earlier with greater consistency. In fact, conditions may allow for both racing and the special freestyle exhibition.