PKRA Racing & Freestyle Captivates Turkey
The last day of the Burn Kiteboard World Tour played out exactly as a final day should. The culmination of the entire event erupted in anticipation and excitement, as racers and freestyle competitors arrived at Burc Beach one last time, ready to give it their all. Contributing to this eagerness was the tight point tally between the competition’s top racers – specifically John Heineken (USA), who entered the day with 10.4 points, Bryan Lake (USA) with 10.1, and Adam Koch with 10.4. This equated to one of the closest world championship racing competitions in all of kiteboarding history
The first race of the day stood out as possibly the best race of the entire competition so far. The new course provided tactical challenges that made not only for good racing, but excellent spectating as well. In fact, Olivier Dansin (FRA) commented that the course was the perfect combination of fun and strategic racing. Interestingly, the windward mark proved to be the most difficult to make in each race. On the first attempt, Riccardo Leccese (COL) and Heineken took the most effective lines and broke ahead of the fleet. Around the second mark, Leccese took a strong lead and Lake fell behind as he attempted additional tacks. On his 15-meter, Leccese finished first as Koch pulled into second place in the last moments of the final lap.
The tenth official race drove the total points scores even closer, leaving spectators on the beach standing in anticipation of what was to come. At this point, many commented that this was racing at its finest. Some kites moved in perfect synchronization alongside one another, while others moved back and ahead in search of the perfect lay line. Heineken rounded the difficult windward mark first, while Lake’s strategies didn’t seem to work quite as well as he hoped. With the fleet on bigger kites, they all took insights from the initial race, hoping that this would benefit them the second time around. Heineken, Lake, and Leccese crossed the finish line first (respectively). Steph Bridge (GBR) also returned to competition after a daylong trip to cross the English Channel. Successful in her goals, she returned and still managed to achieve top placement in each race. Nuria Goma (ESP) earned a consistent second, while locals Merve Ceylan and Bilge Ozturk (TUR) moved in and out of third place throughout the day.
Finally, race 11 turned out to be the most intense of them all, Heineken, Koch, Lake, and Leccese went into battle with the look of sheer determination and commitment. The biggest question was whether Lake or Heineken would achieve the championship title – and the next 30 minutes would be the ultimate deciding factor. From the start, Lake and Koch took a very different approach than the rest of the fleet; however, Leccese and Heineken rounded the first mark ahead of the rest. Olivier Dansin (FRA) gladly pulled into third, leaving Koch and Lake to fight for third and fourth place. Riccardo eventually came flying across the finish – Heineken in second and Dansin in third. Even though this was Leccese’s second win of the day, it was not quite enough to put him on the podium. Heineken, Lake, and Koch, on the other hand, came out on top, claiming the championship titles for the event.
Commenting on his racing experience, top Turkish racer – Salih Alexander Cakir – expressed his excitement about racing with the PKRA, saying, “It was an amazing experience racing for the first time with this world tour and seeing how I measured against the best racers on the planet. I hope to make it to more stops in the future and plan on representing my country in the Olympics as well.” Heineken also explained that it was a very up and down day, saying that the close point difference really put the pressure on in the toughest races of the week.
The freestyle Kite Master’s final heats also attracted a large crowd, as Kevin Langeree and Ariel Corniel first took to the water and displayed a mix of Board-offs, KGBs, and 313s. In 12-15 knots of wind on their 12 and 14 meter kites, the conditions were well suited to decide the final winners of the Burn Kiteboard World Tour. Langeree moved into the final, as did Christophe Tack, who advanced with big 7.5 Back Mobe and a nicely executed Board Flip (TicTak). In the final, featuring Tack and Langeree, Kevin achieved big scores with nothing below a 6.5, including a Late Mobe and Board-Off, while Tack pulled off a powered KGB and Board-off as well. In the end Langeree achieved victory with his mix of crowd-pleasing old school tricks and well-executed new school maneuvers.
All in all, the Burn Kiteboard World Tour proved to be a giant success, filled with incredible racing and outstanding freestyle action. As a first time tour stop for the PKRA World Tour, competitors and spectators certainly hope for a return visit to beautiful Turkey in 2013.