Arriving in China for the first time ever, the PKRA enjoyed a great welcome from the local organizers, fans, and community of Haikou, Hainan Island, China. Registration got underway as usual, with 31 total competitors so far representing 16 different nations. This number is expected to increase, as more participants will arrive on the first day of competition.
On this day of anticipation and preparation, the wind averaged at around 18 knots with side onshore as the predominant direction. Competitors were able to get a feel for the conditions and put up 10 and 12-meter kites, with even greater sizes seen at the end of the afternoon.
With registration day also came the official welcome dinner, put on by the local Hainan Island government and attended by numerous government and city officials. Welcoming the riders with great pride and excitement, the speakers communicated how great it is to have such a large-scale event here on Hainan Island, and how much they look forward to the action packed days to come.
Throughout the dinner, competitors were treated to local Hainan Island culinary specialties, as well as traditional music and entertainment. Thoroughly impressed with everything provided to them, PKRA competitors remained visibly fascinated, grateful, and appreciative of the many gifts the Chinese people extended to them. If this first day is any indication of the remaining week to come, the PKRA, its competitors, and fans as well, are in for an incredibly memorable and momentous event.
Over the next week, forecast models expect the wind to build, with contestable conditions a strong prediction. As the second to last tour stop of the 2012 season, all the top riders remain ready and willing to do whatever it takes to earn top podium placements at this huge event. The tight point differences at the very top of the ladder also make this an exceptionally important stop for competitors including, Alex Pastor (ESP), Youri Zoon (NED), Bruna Kajiya (BRA), and Gisela Pulido (ESP), among others.
Keep in mind, most riders have never set foot on this coveted kiting spot, which will surely provide a challenge for all the competitors involved. Going into the first day of competition, one thing is certain – this PKRA Hainan Island Tour Stop will go down in history as the first ever major kiteboarding event in China’s history, and the kiting feats witnessed in the South China sea will surely show the world just how long overdue this event really is.