The second stop of the Virgin World Kitesurf Championships (VKWC) ended today with male and female big air event. Despite light winds, the competition saw many local competitors together with the world best riders. They all managed to deliver aerial manoeuvres that delighted the crowds. Congratulations to the big air winners Marc Jacobs (NZ) and Gisela Pulido (ES) who have been crowned during the closing ceremony of the event held at partner Hotel Coche Paradise.
After the qualifiers yesterday, the show took place today in front of a large Venezuelan audience that came to support their local riders. The competition saw some of the big names of the discipline such as Kevin Langeree (NL), current leader after his victory in Dakhla (Morocco), powerhouse rider Marc Jacobs, flying man Reno Romeu (BR) and also local star and multiple times windsurfing world champion Ricardo Campello (VE). Besides windsurfing, it turns out that Campello is also an avid kiteboarder.
Hebert Augusto and Hernan Arends were the two local men on form of the day. They managed to advance to the semifinals up against Eudazio Da Silva (BR) and Kevin Langeree. People were screaming at every jump attempt of their country-mates to encourage them. But despite performing aerial handle passes and up to five rotations, they could not match up the two experienced riders’ level.
The men final saw kiwi Marc Jacobs, number one Kevin Langeree, Reno Romeu and a surprisingly aerial Alex Pastor. The four competitors did their best to impress judges and offered a great spectacle with a host of double handle passes, inverted rotations and technical board offs.
Thanks to his crowd-pleasing moves and impressive style Marc Jacobs claimed the victory of the second big air event of 2015 showing that he is an accomplished rider. Kevin Langeree placed 2nd, Reno Romeu ranked 3rd and Alex Pastor 4th.
Marc Jacobs: “Conditions were tough, I was on my biggest kite and I wasn’t expecting to win because I’m one of the heaviest guys competing in big air. But lucky I spin fast and I ended up doing some really good tricks. I’m happy with what I did, a Kung Fu pass spin spin spin and five flips with a grab the whole way. For the conditions I think it’s pretty good. I’m stocked and happy to finally win in big air because coming second in Morocco just made me want to win the next one. I hope it keeps going and I keep winning in big air.”
Kevin Langeree: “The competition to me was ok. It wasn’t really as good as I had hoped for of course. The wind was really light and for the big air the main thing we need is strong wind. We didn’t really get it here which is really unfortunate but it can happen, you never know. Of course I wanted to win but I’m pretty happy with this second place. Hopefully I can win on the next event and I’m looking forward to it. I think that Marc and I should have the same amount of points now so it’s going to be an interesting year and it’s only the beginning.”
In the middle of the afternoon, all eyes were focused on the girls fighting in their arena. The final saw a high level as well with several times world champion Gisela Pulido who felt very comfortable with big air tricks. She was opposed with British newcomer Hannah Whiteley (GB), Annelous Lammerts (NL) and Annabel Van Westerop (AW). Lammerts, Whiteley and Van Westerop decided not to make it too easy for their opponent and tried hard to deliver clean and well-composed board offs, jumping nearly as high as guys did.
However the fierce competitor Gisela showed no mercy and finally snatched the lead from her contenders by landing a high handle pass rarely seen in girls battles. With this second win in big air discipline, Gisela secures her first position in the ranking closely followed by Hannah Whiteley who once again finishes second. 3rd and 4th spots are respectively for Annelous Lammerts and Annabel Van Westerop.
Gisela Pulido:”I’m really happy because I was third in freestyle and to be first in big air gives me more motivation. I’m also happy because the level of the girls in this discipline is getting better and better because now it’s more professional. You have to work for it and to do all the tricks of the categories, you have to make them as high as you can and it’s tricky. Today the wind was not so strong so it was even more difficult to go as big as we could. But we had fun and it’s the most important. There is a really good atmosphere between all the girls in big air. In freestyle it’s more tough, there is more rivalry. In big air we try to enjoy!”
Hannah Whiteley:”It was really nice to compete and I had so much fun. Big air is really what makes kitesurfing stand out of the other watersports. In windsurfing for example, you can’t jump so high. For me it makes kitesurfing special. I really enjoy freestyle but big air feels really fun when the wind is super strong and it’s too much for freestyle. Today it was light wind, more a freestyle day but I had lots of fun and I’m happy of this second place. Congrats to Gisela and the other girls! I’m looking forward to next stop in Tarifa.”