Mediterranean venue of Sant Pere Pescador offered optimal conditions today with winds blowing around 16 knots to initiate Virgin Kitesurf World Championships (VKWC) Youth Cup. Families and friends enjoyed a perfect start to the week-end cheering for their kids on the sunny beach.
Soon after the riders’ meeting – where groms were explained the competition format as well as judges criterias – usual thermal winds picked up quickly and competitors got their gear ready.
The competition kicked off with the youngest talents. U13 were the firsts to hit the water around 1 p.m. (GMT+2) and were soon followed by the girls category (merged because there was not the minimum required of five participants in each category) and boys U15 and U17.
Steady winds allowed them to give it all to seduce judges and advance into next round, and several names stood out already from the first rounds of the single elimination.
From the U15, Christian Tio from the Philippines showed a very well-constructed heat with powerful manoeuvres. He left no chance to his opponent Lars De Groof (BE), who had already won his first heat showing that he is one of the top kids, but De Groof did not fall behind and answered back with great tricks such as perfectly executed 313, BS 313, and S-bend to blind.
Maxime Chabloz from Switzerland also put on a display of powerful moves as well as a fair-play state of mind, giving high five to his opponent and country mate Jeremy Denda at the end of the seven minutes. These young champions are already well trained and ready to play with the big boys in the senior championship.
Maxime Chabloz: “My heat went well, I landed my first 4 tricks well as I was on the 14m quite powered and could get some height, but the wind was a bit lighter after and I couldn’t land my back mobe. I didn’t know my opponent – he also comes from Switzerland – he wasn’t one of the top guys so I wasn’t too stressed. It’s quite more stressful when you know your opponent is Tom Bridge, but I know I will have to give it all against the next guys. Tomorrow I’ll be up against Nino Liboni, he is pretty good but I will do my best to win (laugh).”
Tom Bridge – 2014 world champion – also made the difference today performing a Double Half Cab that wowed crowd and judges alike, easily sealing the deal against Max Samhaber from Australia and advancing to next round.
Tom Bridge: “I’ve been practicing all year for this event that I’ve won the last two years, I broke my foot four weeks ago and it’s still a bit stiff but I’m good. My first heat went well. It was a bit light, I was on my 13m but I managed to land my Double Half Cab that I started practicing about 3 weeks ago. Tomorrow I will be up against Valentin (Bontus, Austria) and I hope I can win again.”
From the U17, one of the closest heats of the day saw Adeuri Corniel (DO) – VKWC rider Ariel Corniel’s younger brother – opposed with Chase Hasch (US), also living in Dominican Republic and who participated in Dakhla’s trials in the senior division this year. Corniel, who is 15 and already performs tricks that top professional athletes do, wanted to go big but crashed most of his tricks and could not express his style as he wished. His opponent chose consistency and landed enough powered moves such as a S-Mobe 5, KGB and Heart Attack (a.k.a. S-Bend 3) to win and advance into next round.
Chase Hash: “I was in the first round against my home spot mate Adeuri Corniel from Dominican Republic, it was great to compete against him. The wind was a bit light, I was on my 11m because that’s the size I feel most comfortable with, so my tricks were a bit more dangling than I would like but I managed to do most of them and it turned out alright so I’m happy with the results obviously (laugh). I don’t know my next opponent but I heard it’s a French guy with some skills, but since I don’t know him there is nothing to be afraid of.”
Anthar Racca from Mexico also showcased an amazing level. The kid displayed extremely high-scoring tricks that judges usually see in the senior division, including the innovation of the year – the much talked about Double Half Cab that had the crowd going wild. Racca also landed a powered Slim to blind and Backside 315, proving that he is a serious contender in his division.
Anthar Racca: “I came here two years ago and last year I got injured and couldn’t come. I couldn’t train before the event because there was no wind for a month where I live in Cancún, Mexico. I was a bit stressed before my heat but now I’m feeling very good because I managed to land all my tricks in my heat. I hope I can win the competition if I continue having good heats. My strongest opponent is Adeuri Corniel but he already lost in the single because he had a bad heat, but I would like to compete against him to see who is the best.”
Paulino Lorenzo (DO), the second Dominican participant took his fellow country mate’s revenge by building a perfect heat with strong commitment and concentration, showing that Dominican future is assured. As for his rival Wojtek Andrejenski (PL), he tried to start strong but had too many wipeouts due to pressure and couldn’t match Paulino’s consistency.
As for the girls, only one heat took place and it was Nina Font (ES), the younger sister of VKWC rider Noe Font, who advanced against Anna Hashem from Egypt into next round. Nina was fully supported by her family and friends, since she is one of the local riders.
Around 5 p.m. (GMT+2) competition was called off due to dropping wind. The kids continued to play at the beach and slowly started to pack their equipment to rest for the next day of competition. Riders’ meeting will be at 10 a.m. and depending on the wind the VKWC crew will give clinics to the participants.