MINI Kiteboard World Tour in Full Swing
With the earliest start yet for the MINI Kiteboard World Tour, day three provided good wind early on, and freestyle riders finally earned some time on the water. The Freestyle Pro portion of this competition involves a mix of old school and new school tricks, with a six-minute window to provide the best overall impression in each heat. Local favorite, Sean Farley (MEX) returned to competition for the first time in several years after a foot injury. Often considered a staple of international kiteboarding events, Farley proved his talent is still in tact, winning his first heat. Farley will go against Alberto Rondina (ITA) in the next round. Rondina also impressed with some stylish old school one-footers and newer tricks like his Moby Dick.
For the course racing, the first run began at 12, and luckily, there were no storm clouds to be seen this time around. Blowing consistently at 10-12 knots, racers took to the water once again, determination and intensity as high as ever for this third day. Interestingly, most all racers have adapted to a tri-fin set-up, which decreases drag while still allowing for optimal racing capabilities. Top racers, Adam Koch (USA), John Heineken (USA), and Bryan Lake (USA), all utilized this fin system here in Playa Del Carmen.
The 6th official race was incredibly close, with Koch taking an early lead and holding it throughout the duration. Unfortunately, however, a crash just meters before the finish line gave Heineken the chance he needed to inch his way past Koch- taking the first place finish for that race. Koch, of course, was undeniably disappointed by this outcome. Katja Roose (NED) also secured another impressive first place finish, which nearly ended in disaster as the two men before her mistakenly missed the finish line, nearly leading Roose in the same direction. Luckily, Roose paid enough attention to see where the correct finish line was and commented that she almost made the wrong decision following the two racers in front of her. With high spirits and a good race so far, Roose was happy to continue in this seemingly perfect day of competition.
Race 7 was incredibly tight as well, with the usual front-runners battling for first place, and others such as Olivier Dansin (FRA), Ricardo Leccese (COL), and Julien Kerneur (FRA) close behind. For the second day in a row, Lake made a big impression, earning a clear first place win just after his sixth place finish in the race prior. Once the 8th race started however, it was clear not long after the green flag went up that winds were shifting. Erika Heineken, a top finisher for the females in preceding races, had trouble with her kite and was never able to relaunch it. Meanwhile, kites began to go down one by one, and pretty soon eight kites lay dormant on the water. Due to these unfavorable conditions, the race was cancelled, even though Leccese, Koch, and Heineken had already crossed the finish line.
After the cancellation of race 8, it was clear that the wind would not be returning. Racers packed up and plans began for what will be the final day here in the Riviera Maya.