The Virgin Kitesurf World Championships (VKWC) third stop saw a great day of action at Balneario spot. The 30 to 35 knots of Levante – cross offshore wind – allowed riders to continue through freestyle male and female Rounds 3. The fifth day of competition was then completed by Round 1 of big air discipline where competitors delivered a real show that delighted the audience.
Females were the first to get down to business with Gisela Pulido (ES) facing Annelous Lammerts (NL). Pulido felt at ease again in the gusty and strong wind of Tarifa, performing a number of great tricks such as a 313 and a well-executed S-Bend to Blind. For Annelous Lammerts, things were more complicated as she kicked off her heat crashing and loosing her kite. The Dutch girl had to go back out with her 4.5 meter kite and struggled to land her moves while Gisela added points to her score, advancing in the semifinals.
In the next heat, Bruna Kajiya (BR) was up against Kristiin Oja (EE) who soon crashed her kite and got her lines tangled. Meanwhile the Brazilian made the most of the spot riding alone and nailing a powerful S-Bend to Blind and a Blind Judge. 2009 world champion claimed her spot in the semifinals.
Competition continued with Paula Novotna (CZ) riding against Dioneia Vieira (BR). After reaching the second highest score yesterday (40 points), Novotna was motivated to pursue her way up the ladder. Vieira was on form too and delivered several great moves, making things difficult for her opponent. A the end of the seven minutes, Novotna’s Back to Blind allowed her to seal the deal.
Then it was time for current world champion Karolina Winkowska (PL) to confront Annabel Van Westerop (AU). Polish rider came out strong pulling off a well done Blind Judge but Van Westerop did not want to fall behind and answered back to each trick Karolina nailed, building a close heat that Winkowska finally won.
As soon as girls came out of the water, guys got in. 17 years-old Brazilian Carlos Mario went for a “go-for-broke” approach against fellow countryman Alex Neto. Mario performed blistering tricks such as a powerful Back Side 317 and a 317 with an astounding facility, as if he was not on a 6 meter kite. Neto did not get flustered and managed to ride powerfully as well but could not match “Bêbe”’s performance. The two friends from the Brazilian village of Cumbuco gave each other a warm hug at the end of the heat.
Taking advantage of the strong conditions, reigning world champion Christophe Tack (BE)took the victory against Russian rider Sergei Borisov. Belgian metronome smartly added points to his score nailing very technical tricks like a Moby Dick and a Back Side 315 while Borisov fell behind at the end of the seven minutes, suffering too many crashes.
Next heat opposed Stefan Spiessberger (AT) with Eudazio Da Silva (BR). Both riders came out strong battling in a fierce competition. Da Silva showcased strength and commitment going full speed in and out of every single trick. Spiessberger also achieved to land some good moves like his signature grabbed S-Mobe but could not equal Da Silva’s scores.
Then Aaron Hadlow (GB) took to the water against Patrick Blanc (ES). The British rider was on form and performed a number of great tricks such as a perfect Slim 7. The Spanish boy could not do anything against the experienced five-time world champion who advanced in the semifinals.
The following heat opposed the two most powerful riders of the day Marc Jacobs (NZ) and Posito Martinez (DO) who both pulled off incredibly aerial manoeuvres. Martinez attempted a gigantic Hinterberger Mobe 7 that impressed the judges but did not manage to land it, allowing Jacobs to snatch the lead.
Alex Pastor (ES) and Youri Zoon (NL) put on a great show of intensity and variety of tricks. Spanish 2013 world champion enjoyed the local public cheering for him as he kicked off the heat with commitment. So did two-time world champion Zoon who landed back-to-back clean moves in what could have been an excellent final. Both rode big until Pastor ripped his bindings off his board and lost his chance to advance.
The second to last heat saw Spanish outsider Noe Font up against Robinson Hilario (DO).Wildcard competitor Font continued to climb up the ladder, doing a very good job. As for Hilario, he could not put his heat together and did not add enough points to take the win over his opponent.
Closing freestyle heat of the day opposed local rider and current VKWC number one Liam Whaley (ES) with his Tarifa’s friend Jerome Cloetens (BE). The two protagonists are used to train together at the great spot of Balneario. However Whaley showed no mercy to Cloetens who crashed his kite and lost time. Liam stayed focused and landed massive moves, delivering an amazing heat. It seems that he is still firmly into the race to the world title.
With gusts attaining up to 35 knots, race director Erik Troostheide decided to switch to big Air discipline to take advantage of the stronger winds. To the delight of the numerous spectators who gathered on the beach to watch the show, competitors took to the water with bigger kites to jump as high as possible and perform aerial manoeuvres such as mega loops, massive rotations, board offs and few extremely high handle passes.
One of the most mind-blowing heats saw Aaron Hadlow (GB), Posito Martinez (DO) and Cape Verdean Elvis Nunez sending spectacular jumps one after another flying as high as 15 meters. Some other impressive riders were current front runner of the discipline Kevin Langeree (NL), showing incredible control of his kite while in the air, runner-up Marc Jacobs (NZ) and also many talented riders such as Lewis Crathern (GB), Da Silva (BR), Carlos Mario (BR), Marius Hoppe (GE) and Paul Serin (FR) who all booked their tickets to the third round.
Forecast for tomorrow is announcing similar Levante wind with 25 to 35 knots and riders’ meeting is at 12:30 p.m. with a first possible start at 1 p.m.