Wind, sun and a storm for the start of the Singles
St Peter Ording saw a massive crowd gather to enjoy the best freestyle kiteboarding action today with epic conditions: wind, flat water and sunshine. After finishing the few heats that were left of the trials, the PKRA organized the Junior championships and moved on to the Freestyle single elimination.
The trials didn’t bring any surprises as the highest men in the rankings made it to the main event: Hays (FRA, Cabrinha), Van De Kop (NED, Flexifoil), Paris (FRA, North), Schitzhofer (AUT, Best), Corniel (DOM, Ozone) and Garat (FRA, RRD) were all happy to be advancing into the top 24 and are ready to compete for first place in the biggest event of the year.
For the first time in the history of the PKRA we organized a Junior Championship to showcase the future generation of riders who will be appearing on tour in the near future. The competition was open to under14s years and it was unanimously decided that Tom Bridge (GBR, North) won the Championship. At only 10 years of age, Steph Bridge’s son (2009 IKA Course Racing World Champion) showed an incredible variety of tricks including a powered Front Blind mobe, Back Mobe, Blind Judge 3, 313, etc…
Judge Ian Sleuyter reckons that he will be the next world champion and would have easily qualified into the main event if he was over 14 and therefore authorized to compete in the main competition.
Tom said that: “It was very hard, I had to beat my own older brother but I wasn’t really stressed out. I rode on my 7 meter kite, well powered, the way I like it and I won, I’m stoked!”
Race director Olaf Van Tol commentated that he really liked the fact that the spectators could be so close to the action. Due to the wind being off shore the huge crowds lining the beach could see the riders perform their tricks only a few meters away.
The single elimination started with the youngest rider on tour Liam Whaley (GBR, Airush) beating Marian Hund (GER, North). Liam dominated the heat by riding a lot more powered than Hund who performed his tricks with his kite higher, therefore taking less risks than Liam.
For the next heat we met with Nils Wesch to sum up the action: “I had a good heat, the water was nice and flat, it was just a bit hard with these crazy gusts. I’m happy that the wind finally showed up after a week here in St Peter Ording. I landed all my tricks, rode with a nine meter kite and managed to win my heat against Jerrie Van De Kop who is a tough contender. Next I’m up against Alberto Rondina (ITA, Cabrinha), so it’s going to be another story!”
Head Judge Sami Gali reckoned that the next heat, Corniel (DOM, Ozone) versus Blomvall (SWE, Nobile) was definitely the most exciting heat of the day with two strong competitors. Ariel was on fire as usual performing tricks after trick, but the Swedish rider has a lot more experience in competition and knew what the judges were looking for: good trick execution and well powered. Judge Carlos Saez reckoned that Corniel secured his heat by landing two double handle passes: a 317 and a mobe 7, which were both executed with technical precision whilst keeping the kite high. Ariel Corniel won with a 3-2 judges decision.
Tim Kummerfeld (GER, Core) was the only rider using boots instead of foot-straps in this event and he made a lasting impression on the judges. All the tricks that he landed were very well executed, especially a S-bend 3. Christopher Tack (BEL, Liquid Force) started pretty badly but improved throughout the heat and finally managed to land enough tricks to win with a lot more variety than Tim. He wins with a 5-0 decision.
The Dominican rider Alex Soto (DOM, F-ONE) had to verse Victor Hays (FRA, Cabrinha) who knew the reputation of the local from Cabarete and therefore did his best to remain consistent. But Alex now has great experience in competitive kiting and rides with a lot more power than Victor, he took the win and advanced into the next round.
Up next, the French riders of the event had to go out, first Sebastien Garat (FRA, RRD) advancing easily against Morales (ESP, Slingshot). You could tell the difference in experience between both riders as Morales was trying a lot of tricks and crashing, meanwhile Sebastien secured his heat with his usual tricks.
In the girls division, the first heat was pretty close, Rapp (SWE, Liquid Force) and Jungo (SUI, Liquid Force) both landed a railey to blind but the decision of the judges went in favor of Manuela Jungo who landed a few more tricks.
Hannah Whiteley (GBR, Wainman) executed her manouevers with a lot of power but crashed some good ones leaving Holly Kennedy (GBR, North) to win the heat. Judge Carlos Saez reckoned that, “It was good for the confidence of Kennedy who deserves it, she was unlucky in Fuerteventura and here she had the chance to properly show her level. Plus the two girls coming from the United Kingdom are very good friends so it was an exciting heat.”
Finally the German heat, national champion Lutz (GER, Liquid Force) versus Boese (GER, Best) the youngest german rider against the oldest showed the passage to a new generation of riders in Germany, Lutz won with a 4-1 decision.
At 4pm it suddenly felt like we were under an eclipse as the dark clouds invaded the sky. A massive thunderstorm engulfed the event site and the local meteorologists advised the PKRA to postpone the competition for safety reasons.
In 15 minutes the fully packed beach and the hundreds of kites were back at the event site under the tents, a few strikes of lightening were seen and it rained for a while which killed the wind completely and meant the rest of the competition is postponed until tomorrow.