An event held in incredible scenic conditions came to an end yesterday, with Lake Silvaplana, the worlds highest kiteboarding spot, providing sufficient wind for all disciplines.
Snow covered mountains set the scenery for the fourth stop of the Kite Tour Europe in Switzerland, and the thermal winds did not fail to deliver.
The event kicked off on Friday July 2, and from noon on the wind built nicely from 14-19 knots. Enough to push through the complete single elimination and after a short break directly going into the doubles. But – the mountains can not only provide thermal winds, they also can provide thunderstorms and heavy rain, forcing the competition to put on hold. In the end it was only possible to complete the first few heats of the doubles, meaning that the result of the single elimination stands.
Alberto Rondina (ITA, Cabrinha) was facing Mario Rodwald (GER, North) in the finals, after defeating Christophe Tack (BEL, Liquid Force). The second semi final was between Rodwald and Permien (GER, Kitefactory), a pairing which is usually seen on every german tour stop in the finals.
It was Rondina with the better performance in the end, leaving Rodwald in second and Permien in third, after two thrilling final heats.
In the womens competition, Nicky Rudd (GBR, Rudd) and Kathrin Borgward (GER, F.One) proved that they did a lot of training after the last events, both making it into the losers final. Rudd had the better end, but both showed an impressive performance.
The finals then where between current tour leader Celine Collaud (SUI, JN) and Ania Grzelinska (POL, North). After ten minutes the five international judges crowned Ania Grzelinska to the winner of Lake Silvaplana, her first success on the European Tour.
Before the final stage in Swinemunde/Poland, in both mens and womens fleet the top four riders are close enough to become the first European Champion in Freestyle. Celine Collaud is only four points ahead of Johara Sykes-Davis (GBR, Flexifoil), and in the mens fleet Rondina is only 3 points ahead, with the top 5 so close together that each of them could make it.
After the Freestyle was completed, the race committee called for course racing on the next morning, but several thunderstorms and rain killed the thermal wind – resulting in several start attemps which then where abandoned seconds before the start.
The waiting game continued on the final day of the competition, with not much hope for wind. Despite blue sky and high temperatures a northern flow worked against the southern Majora winds.
To save all chances for a race on the final day, the race committee already had extended the time for the last possible warning signal on the day before, setting it to 14:30 hours, only 90 minuted before the scheduled price giving ceremony.
And – sometimes the wind gods mean it well. A light breeze was building at 14:00 hours, and race director Markus Schwendtner took the last opportunity and called all riders out for a warning signal at 14:30 hours. The wind had build to 12-13 knots by that time, and the first and only race of the competition went well underway, seeing Bruno Sroka (FRA, Cabrinha) taking first place ahead of Rolf vd Vlugt (NED, Airush) and Bjorn Rune Jensen (DEN, Cabrinha). Katja Roose (NED; Airush) won the womens fleet another time.
While Katja Roose is clear ahead of her competitors, the final event in Poland will see the decision between Bjorn Rune Jensen and Bruno Sroka, which is only one point ahead – meaning that the winner in Poland will take the European Tour crown by the tie break rules.