Earth Shattering Singles Action in Noumea
With the anticipation levels at the highest they have been all year, competitors braced for this day with high hopes and huge expectations. Everything is riding on this last PKRA tour stop in Noumea, New Caledonia, and all eyes are focused on the world title and the top podium placements. As the sun came up in the morning to illuminate the green and turquoise blue grandeur of this island, the wind also crept in as the hours passed, leaving no question as to whether the single eliminations would finally begin. In fact, by 8am, kites were already in the air, signaling the start of good things to come.
After completing the trials in the morning, the main event kicked off close to noon, allowing for a full day of competition. In the first round, favored competitors such as Mario Rodwald (GER), Tom Herbert (FRA), and Johnno Scholte (NED) advanced, while local riders Sebastian Nguyen (FRA) and Michael Dinclaux (FRA) moved forward as well. Things started to heat up in round two, with a close heat between PKRA regulars Christophe Tack (BEL) and Rodwald. Putting on an amazing show for the crowded beach, Kevin Langeree (NED) and local rider Tom Hebert (FRA) threw down some incredible maneuvers, with Langeree stomping a high scoring KGB and Blind Judge 5, while Hebert’s well-received Slim and KGB didn’t quite make high enough scores to advance. Langeree’s next round; however, turned out not to be as successful, as he lost to powerhouse Marc Jacobs (NZE), who demonstrated his trademark strong riding skills and abilities.
Moving on into the afternoon, a close quarterfinal heat between Stefan Speissberger (AUT) and Alberto Rondina (ITA) captured the attention of many, and ended in a 33.69-36.76 point spread, with Rondina in the advancing position with some solid Back Mobes and a nice Slim.
Christophe Tack later impressed again against world title contender Alex Pastor (ESP). In this highest scoring heat of the day, Tack landed a Slim 5, scored at 7.25 points, while Pastor answered back with a 6.9 Blind Judge 7. Considering the lighter winds of the day, this was an incredibly impressive heat, which showcased two amazing performances. In the end; however, Pastor exhibited more advanced moves with a higher level of precision.
This kind of incredible riding kept the day going, as competitors seemed to become more amped as the hours passed. The women’s heat turned out to be just as exciting, with the best ladies in the world going at it for the ultimate prize. Karolina Winkowska (POL) shined in her heat against Bruna Kajiya (BRA), and advanced with her consistency and impressive tricks. While it was a close heat, and Kajiya rode strong, the winner at the end of this battle was clear – Karolina landed an impressive Blind Judge 3 and Slim Chance, while Bruna executed a nice Shifty 5 and KGB, among others. Gisela Pulido (ESP) also advanced in the semifinal round with a wide variety of tricks against Helena Brochocka (POL), leading up to the final heats for the women.
Once the finals were on deck, all eyes turned to the competition. While the beach was buzzing with all sorts of activity, no one could deny the intensity at the water’s edge.
Bruna Kajiya and Brockocka battled first, with Bruna sealing a win fairly early in the heat. For the men, Jacobs and Rondina went head to head in lighter, yet contestable winds. Jacobs came out strong as soon as the buzzer sounded with a Back Mobe and S3. Rondina also put forth some amazing maneuvers, sticking a Front Blind Mobe and Slim. In the end, Jacobs came out victorious and thus stands in third place going into the double eliminations.
Day 4 eventually culminated in the final heats. The sun cast each rider as a silhouette on the water and the starting buzzer seemed to sound with more intensity than ever before. Winkowska and Pulido went strong and big in the flat-water conditions. Winkowska managed a S3 Switch (6.57) and a Shifty 5 (7.2). Pulido, on the other hand, rode very strong; however, her trick scores simply did not match those of Karolina’s. She threw down a S3 (5.77) and a nice Front Blind Mobe (6.5), but that just wasn’t enough. Karolina came out of this heat as the winner of the single eliminations, and in best positioning to win the world title in the double eliminations.
The men’s final between Pastor and Zoon provided the huge action that can always be expected from two such powerful players. With Pastor on a slightly bigger kite, the two rode neck and neck for some time. Pastor opened up with a KGB, a Slim, and a Front Blind Mobe, while Youri executed a Blind Judge 3, a KGB, and Back Mobe straight out of the gate. Obviously a very high scoring heat, these two men rode with all their might, knowing full well what the results would mean. By the time the ending buzzer sounded, no one was clear on who the definitive winner actually was. After the official point tally, Pastor earned a well-fought victory with 42.54 points to Zoon’s 38.79. Now Pastor stands strong in his first place position going into the doubles on the last day of competition.
From here on out, anything can happen. The 2012 world title is ripe for the taking and the top competitors here want it more than anything. The forecast for tomorrow promises stronger wind, which will make for an ideal final day of competition. This day will go down in kiteboarding history as one of the closest battles ever fought, leaving no room for error or weakness in these pristine conditions.