Today was certainly a day to remember for 5x World Champion Aaron Hadlow (GB/North) and 9x World Champion Gisela Pulido (ES/Best), who both put on performances that were nothing short of exceptional! Fighting their way up the freestyle ladder, they faced each opponent with outstanding strength and determination, giving each of them a truly deserved victory.
The weather for the day was once again extremely tough, with the wind blowing up to 30 knots. The heats got underway at 9.15 am, with all the freestyle riders pushing hard in each intense battle.
For the quarter finals, there was an extremely tight heat between 2x World Champion Youri Zoon (NL/Best) and Aaron Hadlow (GB/North). Zoon was on form, landing an impressive 317 and S-Mobe 7. However, Hadlow performed an even bigger S-Mobe 7 in an intense final minutes of the heat. In the end, Hadlow took the victory from Zoon’s grasp.
Recent qualifier Jerome Cloetens (BE/North) came face to face with Carlos Mario (BR/Slingshot) in the second heat of the quarter finals. There were perfect kickers and flat water on the inside, which created some optimal conditions for the riders. Both young guns went all in during their heat, throwing one huge trick after another. However, Cloetens soon crashed his kite and could not relaunch it successfully, allowing Mario to advance to the semi-finals with a huge Back Side 317.
Posito Martinez (DR/Da Silva) was another rider who was on fire today. He performed an unbelievable 317, scoring a perfect 10 in the intensity category during his quater final heat. He knew that he had to go big if he wanted to advance against the current World Champion Christophe Tack (BE/Liquid Force). Tack answered back with a Frontside 7 and Toe Backside 5. Posito needed one last high scoring trick, and managed to nail a Backside 315 at the last seconds, which gave him the win.
During the following heat, we saw two good friends go head to head. Liam Whaley (ES/Cabrinha) was up against 1x World Champion Alex Pastor (ES/Airush). They were both fighting hard for a slot in the semi finals. Pastor landed a massive S-Mobe 7! However, it wasn’t enough to beat Whaley’s unfaltering consistency.
Hadlow then managed to secure a spot in the final by beating the young Brazilian Carlos Mario. Liam Whaley then took the win over Posito Martinez, who unfortunately injured himself going for his massive 317 and had to drop out halfway through his heat. This meant that we were in for an action packed final featuring Liam Whaley and Aaron Hadlow!
Whaley started the final on form while Hadlow seemed slow out of the gate. They both appeared to be overpowered on their 7m kites and neither of them could successfully nail double passes. They did manage to land a handful of well executed tricks. Hadlow landed a barrage of tricks including a Front Blind Mobe and Back Mobe 5. Liam answered with massive height and power in his Double Heart Attack and Crow Mobe 5 among others. Unfortunately, his S-Mobe was ruled out of the competition box. leaving him with only four tricks counting towards his final score. Therefore, Hadlow was able to take the win with his experience and consistency.
During the women’s quarter finals, Annelous Lammerts (NL/Slingshot) was thrilled to take the win over current World Champion Karolina Winkowska (PL/Slingshot). It was an extremely tough heat with each rider matching each other trick for trick. Then, just before the buzzer, Lammerts landed an outstanding Back Mobe off a kicker, scoring an impressive 8.98 points. When the announcement came that she had won the heat, the uproar from her friends and family on the beach must have been herd from a mile away.
For the Mini Final, previous event winner Bruna Kajiya (BR/Airush) was up against Annabel Van Westerop (AW/Cabrinha). It was a tough heat and both riders struggled to land a lot of their tricks in the challenging conditions. In the end Bruna managed to win the heat, placing her in a well deserved 3rd place. Van Westerop just missed out on a podium finish, but was delighted with a 4th place none the less.
Gisela Pulido (ES/Best) and Annelous Lammerts (NL/Slingshot) then headed into the Women’s Freestyle Final. It was a great heat! Lammerts performed extremely well, but Pulido delivered her best performance of the day. She landed great tricks including an S-Mobe, Hinterberger Mobe and Heart Attack, securing her her first event victory of the year!
Congratulations to Aaron Hadlow and Gisela Pulido for their well-earned victories in the Freestyle Discipline here at the Virgin Kitesurf World Championships in St. Peter Ording.
Tomorrow we will continue with the Slalom Discipline, with the rider’s meeting at 10 am with an 11 am first possible start.
Photo credit: Andre Magarao