PKRA St. Peter Ording, Germany, Day 8
Zoon and Pulido wins the Singles in St Peter Ording.
After a week of sun and light wind conditions, today the typical German weather returned to St Peter Ording beach. Along with the cloud and rain came a steady twenty knots of wind in which we watched the best PKRA kiteboarders compete on the North Sea.
Once again the Kiteboarding World Tour was proud to have a Livestream operating from the judge’s tower with one of the official judges commenting in the chat room.
The day started with Reno Romeu (BRA, North) facing the youngest rider on tour Liam Whaley (GBR, Airush), Reno claimed his mind was on the wipeouts happening on the ASP but he managed to focus on his heat enough to go for his fully powered tricks. Liam defended himself well but just couldn’t match his more experienced competitor.
Alberto Rondina (ITA, Cabrinha) had a few problems with choosing his kites today as the wind kept changing. During his first heat he went to change from his 9 meter to 11, but as the tide came up his lines became tangled meaning he had no choice but to change back to 9. He unfortunately had the same problem twice today.
The French team had a very bad day as Paris (FRA, North), Hays (FRA, Cabrinha), Garat (FRA, RRD) and Hebert (FRA, North) all lost in the first or second round of the singles. Tom Hebert commented that there wasn’t much to say: “Sometimes it’s just not your day, you’re out there riding and you know you are not doing well and you don’t know why, today was like that but we’ll all be back in the double elimination!”
Sebastien Garat (FRA, RRD) had to verse one of the best riders of the moment, Marc Jacobs (NZL, Switch) who did everything with a little more height and power than Sebastien, and a nice double back to pass secured him his win.
The onshore wind caused tension in the judges tower today; as it picked up the riders were forced to perform their tricks very close to the water’s edge where both the judge’s tower and photographers were positioned. There were many close calls when it seemed like we were going to witness kites crashing on the tower however fortunately nobody did. Robinson Hilario (DOM, F-One) however got pretty close when he crashed a 317.
Robinson is new to the tour this year and has been showing very good style with a nice tantrum to blind and very powered front blind mobes. However he was no match for Youri Zoon (NED, Slingshot), current leader of the tour.
Alexander Lewis Hughes reckoned that Youri is riding twice as fast as anybody else on the water, therefore bringing so much more power to all of his tricks. When other riders land their tricks and almost stop or butt check them, Youri pulls of a clean landing and comes down fast taking a lot of risks, which score very well.
Race director Olaf Van Tol said that “the heat between Langeree (NED, Naish) and Zoon (NED, Slingshot) was like witnessing a final of a PKRA event. It took me back to two years ago when the two Dutch riders were fighting over the title together with Aaron Hadlow (5 times world champion)”. What could have been a final happened right in the middle of the single elimination and it was an exciting heat. Both riders had a knee injury, Youri actually had to come back twice on tour before this year where he can now show his full potential.
We met with Kevin after his heat, he commented that he was happy to compete against his friend and did all he could. He was however a little disappointed not to have landed his double passes as consistently as he used to. In contrast he did manage to pull off his specialty one handed tricks and was happy to manage a flat 7 off a kicker.
In the girls division we witnessed a moment which will go down in kiteboading history when Karolina Winkowska (POL, Slingshot) met Bruna Kajiya (BRA, Flexifoil) in the semi Finals. All the judges reckoned that the level was insanely high, both girls landed all of their tricks one after another, Blind Judge 3, 313, back to blind, NIS, kite loop 3, etc. Karolina was the one who finally made the difference by landing her first ever low mobe in a PKRA competition. The judges were literally blown away when she landed this trick and she won with a 5-0 decision. She then had to face Gisela Pulido (ESP, Airush) in the finals.
Legendary rider Franz Olry (FRA, Wainman) who used to compete back in the early stages of kiteboarding and is known for shaping the first twin tip was on the beach of St Peter Ording and happy to see all this new generation of riders killing it on the water. He reported ironically that he was offended to see that the young blood could learn tricks which took him weeks to perfect in just days. Franz also remembered the Dominican riders who are now performing so well in the PKRA being little kids, Soto (DOM. F-One), Corniel (DOM, Ozone) and Robinson (DOM, F-One) are all in the third round of the single elimination.
Unfortunately none of the Dominicans will make it into the top 4 overall ranking of the PKRA: Zoon, Pastor, Rondina and Jacobs have now proven once and for all that they are the best riders and provided a high level of riding for the semi finals of this single eliminations.
Alex Pastor (ESP, Airush) versus Rondina (ITA, Cabrinha) was a very close heat, Alex performed a lot of switches, a low mobe 5 and 315, he won based on his variety in comparison to Alberto.
Youri Zoon (NED, Slingshot) is getting more and more confident at every event, Marc Jacobs (NZL, Switch) had one of his best heats but still remained a lot less powered than Youri who advanced into the finals.
Just before the finals Alex Pastor had a small problem that could have turned out to be a big mess. Whilst launching his kite it flew into the flag pole which left a hole in the edge of it. This was only a couple of minutes before his final, fortunately for Pastor his opponent Youri Zoon is a great sportsman and came to help him out, meanwhile the ladies were having their finals.
Gisela Pulido (ESP, Airush) is a very technical rider and therefore chose to perform trick after trick to secure her heat as she knew Karolina Winkowska (POL, Slingshot) would go for more risky powered tricks but might not land them all. This strategy paid off and she won the single elimination, proving her supremacy on the women’s division with 4 wins out of 5 events this year. But the doubles remains…
The final of the singles was a trick spectacular as expected. All of the judge’s sheets were full after the heat and both riders gave a great show. We met with both riders after the heat and Alex admitted that this wasn’t his best run of the day. Youri Zoon (NED, Slingshot) was on fire as usual and won the single elimination meaning that he remains undefeated after five events!
Official Results of the Single Eliminations:
1. Youri Zoon (NED, Slingshot)
2. Alex Pastor (ESP, Airush)
3. Alberto Rondina (ITA, Cabrinha)
1. Gisela Pulido (ESP, Airush)
2. Karolina Winkowska (POL, Slingshot)
3. Bruna Kajiya (BRA, Flexifoil)
The conditions remained suitable into the afternoon so we started the double eliminations on nice flat water as the tide began to go out. The highlight of this stage was Tom Hebert (FRA, North) who was killing it in his heats. Before the weather turned again and action was postponed we witnessed Tom power through, firstly his heat against Mike Blomvall (SWE, Nobile) and then Ariel Corniel (DOM, Ozone). Tom is locked in a close fight for fifth overall place with his team-mate Reno Romeu (BRA, North). Since Tom won his heat he now has the advantage over Reno who is in a pending heat against Kevin Langeree (NED, Naish)… not the easiest competitor…