Virgin Kitesurf World Championships (VKWC) second stop saw a thrilling day of kiteboarding with freestyle male and female finals. Under a blazing sun and with constant wind blowing 18 knots reigning world champion Karolina Winkowska (PL) as well as current number one Liam Whaley (ES) claimed their respective second victories on the trot.
The firsts to take to the water today were long time contenders Youri Zoon (NL) and Alex Pastor (ES). Both riders know each other very well and knew they had to give it all to advance into the next round. Pastor started his heat with commitment but soon showed some difficulties with several wipeouts – certainly because of stress. Youri Zoon slowly built up his heat finishing with several extremely powered double handle passes such as a Slim 7, Backside 317, and a KGB 5 sending him to the semi-final.
Male mini final
Aaron Hadlow (GB) vs. David Tonijuan Colomer (ES)
After losing against Youri Zoon despite landing his first ever Back Side 317, David Tonijuan Colomer tried his best to beat five-time world champion Aaron Hadlow (GB), doing his utmost to keep momentum and show what he is made of. But the experienced Aaron Hadlow delivered several consistent tricks stopping the Spanish newcomer and securing his spot on the podium.
Male winners final
Liam Whaley (ES) vs. Youri Zoon (NL)
In the men’s final we saw Liam Whaley (ES) opposed with Youri Zoon (NL) in a healthy competition. It was announced as the clash of the titans and it actually was. Both current frontrunners delivered a host of amazing double handle passes pushing the boundaries. Liam came out strong with a “go-for-broke” approach pulling off a massive Front Blind Mobe as soon as the buzzer sounded, followed by his signature grabbed Back Mobe 5. Pressure was at its height as Youri suffered several crashes before he actually started landing his first moves. He soon narrowed the gap between them by performing a seldom seen 319 scoring as high as 9,45/10. Current number one finally managed to snatch the win over Youri in an extremely close heat (40.23 vs. 40.08) achieving his second victory of the season.
Liam Whaley: “I’m so happy with this result. I’ve been riding in quarterfinals and semi-finals having really good heats. With Youri we both had a pretty insane one. Apparently it was really close so I’m just stocked to win two events in a row. It’s definitely the best year of my life and I hope I can keep on winning.”
Youri Zoon: “I got second at this event which is not too bad. I always want to win but the guys are all riding super well and I didn’t come super prepared to be honest. But during the event I was building up and started to land my tricks again. In the last heat I didn’t ride super good, I waited a couple of times two long in order not to cause an interference. If I look back to the heat I could have gone but I just didn’t want to risk it. Our scores are so close! But it’s alright, I’m happy with it.”
Female mini final
Gisela Pulido (ES) vs. Annelous Lammerts (NL)
A stiff competition saw Gisela Pulido putting pressure on Annelous Lammerts by landing solid moves right after the horn. Nine-time world champion showed no mercy as she had to grab points after losing in an epic semi-final against her biggest opponent Karolina Winkowska on Wednesday. But Annelous did not get flustered and answered back with some consistent tricks as well. That said, the Spanish champion won with a commanding lead over Annelous sealing the deal by pulling off more powered tricks.
Female winners final
Karolina Winkowska (PL) vs. Bruna Kajiya (BR)
2009 world champion Bruna Kajiya was on form during this second leg of VKWC and mastered most of her heats until the final against the fierce competitor Karolina Winkowska. Both riders kicked off the heat pretty well but soon Karolina set the tone delivering several strong moves, showcasing her strength and commitment. Bruna fought hard performing powerful manoeuvres but lacked consistency and could not match Karolina’s well-constructed heat. Winkowska is clearly hunting for the world title and dominated the competition.
Karolina Winkowska: “It’s awesome! It always feels awesome to win. It is what I work for and what I compete for. It’s the best thing ever. Bruna is one of my biggest opponents so I knew I had to go big and try really hard tricks because she’s a really tough competitor. I didn’t see what she was doing because I’m always so concentrated on my stuff but I was hoping for the best. I was so happy when they announced the results!”
Bruna Kajiya: “The spot here is really perfect and I had an interesting heat with Karolina. I think we were both overpowered and I was trying to go as big as possible with nothing else on my mind. I crashed quite a lot but I’m happy for giving it a try and I’m really happy with some of the tricks I landed. So yeah, stocked!”
Tomorrow – last day of the event – will host the big air competition. Competitors meeting will be at 10:30 a.m. (GMT -4:30) with a first possible start at 11 a.m.
Pictures credit: Rodrigo Ungaro and Juan Santiago Monteverde