St. Peter Ording delivered outstanding conditions over the entire 10 days of the Pringles Kitesurf World Cup. The global kitesurfing elite gathered together, completing the full Trials, Freestyle Elimination, and 5 full Slalom Eliminations.
With the freestyle already completed by Thursday, the final two days of the VKWC St. Peter Ording were dedicated purely to the slalom racers. The fastest men and women hit the water prepared to show us their pace and power in a fight to cement their positions at the top of the rankings.
We saw variable wind conditions for the continuation of the Slalom Discipline. Men’s Elimination 4 began under partly cloudy skies with onshore wind. This was a big contrast to the off shore wind conditions during the previous eliminations, challenging racers with a course full of chop and some moderate waves at the finish.
Julien Kerneur (FR/Airush) and Marvin Baumeister (AU/Flysurfer) battled it out and crusied into the final taking 1st and 2nd in Heats 3 and 8! But in the final their rivalry ended in a climactic kite collision that took both riders out of the race!
It was Florian Gruber (DE/Ozone), Olly Bridge (GB/North), and Jannis Maus (DE/North) who advanced to the final taking 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in Heat 9. They continued to lead the pack in the final, where Bridge made an amazing pass, taking the inside corner on Gruber at the last buoy, and went on to win Elimination 4! Gruber and Maus followed in 2nd and 3rd.
The Women’s final of Elimination 4 started with multiple false starts, disqualifying Marie Lou Fourre (VZ/Crazy Fly), Bibiana Magaji (SK/Core), Steph Bridge (GB/North), and Hannah Whiteley (GB/Best). Lammerts appeared to mistime the start and was left way behind the pack, finishing 5th. The others had a great race and in the end it was Katja Roose (NL/Airush) taking the win with Taabble, Galliart, and Sommer following sequencially.
After an hour lunch break to reset the course, racers hit the water for Slalom Elimination 5. As the first heat began the weather took a drastic turn as a series of rain squalls passed through. Heats 1,2, and 3 where able to run with Oswald Smith (SA/Airush), Rolf Van Der Vlugt (NL/Airush), and Julien Kerneur (FR/Airush) once again taking the first round victories. As the squalls subsided the wind dropped and the event was called off for the day.
The final heats of Slalom Elimination 5 were completed on the last day of the event. It was a beautiful and sunny afternoon at the beach. The wind conditions were somewhat lighter and the riders were competing on their largest kites. In the men’s finals, It was the young Olly Bridge who raced his way to victory, followed by Julien Kerneur and Florian Gruber. On the women’s side, it was Katja Roose who crossed the finish line first, with Steph Bridge and Annelous Lammerts close behind.
“I’m delighted with this win, as it was tough competition with other girls such as Steph Bridge who has been training hard, and Annelous Lammerts who was racing extremely well. I’m very happy to see the hard work has paid off!” said Katja Roose.
The final overall Slalom rankings stand as follows:
1st Florian Gruber (DE/Ozone)
2nd Olly Bridge (GB/North)
3rd Rolf Van der Vlugt (NL/Airush)
4th Jannis Maus (DE/North)
1st Katja Roose (NL/Airush)
2nd Annelous Lammerts (NL/Slingshot)
3rd Steph Bridge (GB/North)
4th Bibiana Magaji (SK/Core)
The prize giving ceremony was held at 9.30 pm on the main stage, where the riders were awarded in front of a large audience of festive fans. Aaron Hadlow (GB/North) was extremely happy to be back on the podium in 1st place.
“Obviously I’m very happy to win this event for the second time in a row. It comes at a really good time because obviously I really need to win this one if I want to have chance to make the World Championship at the end of the year. Its really tough, because they are both so young (Whaley and Mario) and I remember when I was younger, 18, and how much I wanted to push it. Neither of them have won it before as well so makes it all really tough. Its nice to be here, 26, but still able to win an event!” – Aaron Hadlow.
Liam Whaley (ES/Cabrinha) had to settle for 2nd place at this event, but was pleased considering he is just recovering from an injury he sustained in Tarifa last month.
“The conditions have been really hard, so I was changing kites all day, making sure my lines were all perfect and getting my gear tuned for the conditions that were changing all the time. I had a really hard time competing during this event as I was not 100%. My back was sore, my knee wasn’t 100% either, but considering all my handicaps, I’m pretty happy with my 2nd place. I was missing a 5th trick in the final because I did it just outside of the competition area. I was pretty lucky in the first rounds and made it to the final, and was unlucky there, so I can’t complain.” -Liam Whaley
Gisela Pulido (ES/Best) was also ecstatic with her first victory of the year. This win puts Gisela in 1st place in the race for the World Title in the Freestyle Discipline!
“Im so happy to have won my first event of the year. I’ve consistently been getting 2nd and 3rd position all season, but I never managed to win, so 1st place now feels really good, also as it now puts me at the top of the ranking. This year the title is very close between Karolina and Bruna, it’s going to be an exciting end to the season. It’s time to train more!” -Gisela Pulido
Lammerts earned her best result ever in freestyle, taking 2nd place, while also managing to take 2nd place in Slalom as well, the best overall performance of the event.
“I think I’m the happiest person here! For the freestyle, I managed to take second place for the first time ever. For the slalom, I really wanted to compete, I got a new Brunotti board which worked really good, even though I didn’t have time to train on it. I’m super competitive, so the moment the green flag goes up I want to win, and second place is super sick, I’m incredibly happy!” – Annelous Lammerts
It has been an incredibly successful event. The best riders in the world enjoyed the challenging conditions and amazing atmosphere that St. Peter Ording never fails to deliver!
Photo credits: Andre Magarao