Round one of the double elimination began in 16-24 knots of wind allowing for the completion of six men’s heats.
Light winds and sunny skies greeted the riders on day four of the Mondial Du Vent. With a light breeze blowing through the competition area up to 10 knots, the conditions were not yet suitable, and the forecast left most competitors wondering if today would be a day off from competition.
As riders in the early heats were preparing their larger kite sizes, the wind steadily increased to over 20 knots, surprisingly. Riders scrambled to pump up their smaller kites as a result. The wind was shifty at times, changing directions suddenly and creating choppy conditions – sending competitors to secure their kites. With many daylight hours still ahead in the day, the decision was made to wait until later in the afternoon to begin in hopes that the conditions would improve.
At 1:30, the first heat of the men’s double elimination began despite any significant change in the wind. Paul Serin and Johnno Sholte took to the water first, showing that the conditions were suitable with some big tricks. Sholte came out solid, landing his first four tricks. After a few crashes, Serin picked up momentum mid-heat earning the win by only .27 points for the closest heat of the day.
In the second heat, despite a very strong start, Liam Whaley succumbed to Sergei Borisov after being unable to re-launch his kite and giving Borisov the advantage mid-way through the heat. Noteworthy performances came from newcomer David Tonijuan who defeated Michael Shitzhofer. Starting out with big points early in the heat, Shitzhofer rode strong. However, Tonijuan rode well too, landing solid tricks including a high scoring Front Blind Mobe and Back Mobe for the win.
Former World Champion Youri Zoon demonstrated that he was capable of the long climb up the ladder by beating out the young Carlos Mario with his textbook big powerful style and earning the highest heat score of the day. As Luis Cruz and Patrick Blanc took to the water, they struggled to stay upwind. Even after returning to the beach for larger kites, it was clear that the conditions were no longer suitable and the heat was abandoned. The wind never returned and at 3:30pm, all riders were released for the day.
Tomorrow is forecast to be a return to the strong Leucate winds that the Mondial Du Vent is known for. Action from the double elimination will begin after a 12:30pm rider’s meeting and a 1pm first possible start.