The second day of competition at the Virgin Kitesurf World Championships (VKWC) Youth Cup 2015 saw amazing action and great crowds of onlookers who came to support the young athletes.
Thermal winds picked up slowly under a blazing sun and competition only started at 4 p.m. (GMT+2). The firsts to hit the water were the young teammates Osaia Reding (ES) and Anais Desjardin (FR). Desjardin showed a little more variety in her heat and advanced into next round.
Next in line were the talented Brazilian Mikaili Rocha and Claudia Leon (ES). Both girls gave an amazing spectacle by delivering trick after trick, not losing their time. Mikaili passed the trials in Barra Grande (Brazil) last year against seniors and impressed spectators, showing to everyone that things are in safe hands for Brazil. Despite her young age (10) compared to her opponents (because categories have been merged due to not enough participants), Mikaili Rocha showcased extreme confidence and strategy in her heats and managed to dispatch Leon as well as Nina Font (ES) in the semifinal. Rocha will meet Hanna Twarog (PL) in girls’ final tomorrow, while Font will meet Desjardin in the mini final.
Mikaili Rocha: “I think I did really good and my competitors were tough and did really good too. I was able to land all my tricks and it is good for my age so I’m proud of myself. It is my first time in this championship and I am not too nervous. The wind was ok but the big kite was hard because where I live I usually use a 4 and here I had a 10! It was big big big.”
The contest moved on to U17 with big names advancing to the semifinals. Chase Hasch (US) seems to be quite at ease in competition and managed to win over a less experienced Robin Krikken (FR) in the first heat. Hasch went straight to semifinal where he would meet the winner of next heat that saw one of the most fierce competitors of the event, the young Mexican Anthar Racca.
Racca started with a “go-for-broke” approach against Bruce Kessler (Switzerland). He first secured 5 extremely high scoring tricks, including powered and perfectly executed Front Blind Mobe, Back Mobe, KGB, Heart Attack, and Double S-Bend to Blind. After sealing the deal the talented rider pulled off nothing less than the first ever Double Half Cab Mobe in competition. A trick that top guys such as Liam Whaley (ES), Christophe Tack (BE) and Aaron Hadlow (GB) have been trying to nail this year. The grom is clearly showing the world that he will be a serious contender to go up the podiums in the years to come. Racca came out of the water with his hair dry and 10 tricks in his bag. Kessler couldn’t match his opponent’s performance but still performed clean and consistent tricks as well.
Anthar Racca: “I think it is the first Double Half Cab Mobe in competition so I’m happy. I know Liam Whaley is also doing it. In last European championship I also tried to do it but I grabbed the bar wrong and looped the kite so it wasn’t so good. With light wind I felt able to try it again. It was not so clean but I’m stocked. I felt that I was going to crash but at the end I kind of landed it.”
The Mexican continued his assault by beating Hasch in the first semifinal, a heat that could have perfectly been a final. Racca once again wowed the crowd and showed judges that he is an accomplished rider who can play with the big boys. He will dispute the final tomorrow with the winner of second semifinal between Louka Pitot (MAU) and Frenchman Lazare Gournay.
As for Pitot, one of the revelations of this year, he put on some very well-structured heats and showed no mercy to his opponent Ruslan Sirazhetdinov (Russia) by snatching the lead with a powerful Double Heart Attack.
The U15 also offered a great show to the audience. Local boy Alec Mur defeated his opponent Roman Rose (Monaco) who couldn’t put his heat together. Mur showcased strength and style allowing him to advance into semifinal.
Christian Tio (Philippines) and Tom Bridge (UK) both managed to dispatch their less experienced contenders Sebastian Ducos (ES) and Valentin Bontus (Austria) respectively, while Nino Liboni (FR) and Maxime Chabloz (Switzerland) had an extremely close heat. Both riders of similar level knew they had to give it all to beat each other. Chabloz performed his habitual routine of powerful tricks and topped it with a Double Half Cab that gave him the win over Liboni. The Swiss rider will meet world champion Tom Bridge in the semi final tomorrow.
U13 kiteboarders did a great job too putting on a display of moves and trying their best all over the course of today’s competition. Oscar Perrineau (FR) and Karim Mahmoud (EGY) – U12 last year champion – both made the difference step by step eliminating their rivals and booking their tickets for the final tomorrow.
Karim Mahmoud: “I am really stoked that I’m in the final. The conditions were not my best because I don’t really train with the 10 meter kite at home. I’m more used to the 8 and 6 but I landed my tricks though. It is my second time here, last year I won in U12 category and now my goal is to keep my title.”
Oscar Pirreneau: “I did everything I could. I did a Blind Judge, a S-Bend Blind, a 313 and a Double Hinterberger. I managed to pull off everything I wanted so I’m super happy and motivated. In the last minutes I tried to do a Double S-Bend Blind that I don’t always perform. I landed it and caught the bar but I finally crashed. It is my first time here and I was stressed before my heats but my trainer (Etienne Lhote) helped us doing breathing exercises and it was really useful.”
The wind slowly started to drop by 6 p.m. and competition was called off for the day. Judges will give the first clinic tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. and young competitors will be given some advices about strategy as well as judges criterias.
Riders’ meeting is scheduled at 11:30 a.m. with a first possible start at 12 p.m.