Sotavento, Fuerteventura – July 19. The sun came out in full force and raised the mercury up to 26° Celsius (78.8° F), literally warming up Playa de Sotavento. True to its reputation, this magnificent location abounds with beautiful beaches, sunny weather and very strong winds packing an average speed of 25 to 35 knots. Today was no exception. Before the skippers meeting, a sandstorm rolled through the whole competition area with winds well over 40 knots and gustiness of up to 50 knots. During the event proper, the wind was at an average of 30 to 40 knots which made it difficult for some of the riders to land a good trick.
Taking advantage of the strong wind, the competition started off with the men. Although there was some discussion if the games would be postponed until the winds subside a little, the heats eventually pushed through under strong and very gusty wind condition.
Today’s events started as a continuation of yesterday’s games. In heat #13, Reno Romeu (North, BRA) defeated Alex Pastor (Naish, ESP) with a solid display of variation, power and technical moves. At the opposite end of the heat, Kevin Langeree (Naish, NED) overpowered and outclassed Aussie Andy Yates (Slingshot) with some nice moves and landings in the strong, gusty winds.
In the next heat, Youri Zoon (Slingshot, NED) proved too good in strong winds and grabs an almost easy win over Seb Garat (RRD, FRA) whose performance was slightly affected by the choppy conditions. Following up this heat was a close battle between Aaron Hadlow (Flexifoil, GBR) and Michael Schitzhofer (JN Kites, AUT) with a 3-2 win for Hadlow. In the end, it was the technical variation of Hadlow’s tricks that gave him the edge.
The first semi-final set between Langeree and Romeu was an exciting match. A man on a mission and eyeing a championship trophy this season, Langeree was charging with a full heat of solid tricks. An insanely powered KGB opened up the heat followed by a series of super quick and powered moves sealed the win for the Dutch champion. Romeu was equally brilliant in his tricks, landing his share of top-caliber moves but Langeree’s variation and powered moves were the deciding factor in the heat.
In the second semi-final set, current number two Zoon sealed a stunning 4-1 upset victory against current leader Hadlow with a solid display of powered, ultra-fast and technical tricks. Hadlow rode extremely well but lacked the low kite angle. Zoon landed a back-to-blind airpass, hasselhoff, front mobe, blind judge with aerial handle pass, non-inverted slim, mobe, 313, late-pass mobe and a mega loop. Hadlow landed a blind-judge with aerial handle pass, s-bend to blind air pass, hasselhoff, back-to-blind air pass, regular and switch slim mobe and shifty 360. The English champ settled for a 3rd place position after winning against Romeu.
The battle for 1st place was an all-Dutch final heat. Langeree saw his chance to grab the top podium spot and never looked back. A very convincing 5-0 victory against Zoon told it all. The Naish rider landed a blind judge with aerial handle pass, front mobe, kgb, s-bend to blind air pass, front mobe 5, 313, mobe, non-inverted slimchance and a mobe 5 and took the top prize. Zoon’s blind judge with aerial handle pass, front mobe, back-to-blind air pass, regular and switch non-inverted slim, mobe and kiteloop weren’t enough to win the heat but took home the runner-up prize. More trick variation and a higher technical difficulty score for Langere was the deciding factor of the heat.
In the women’s heats, Joanna Litwin (Nobile, POL) won over Angela Peral (North, ESP) in heat #7 with a blind judge and s-bend to blind against Peral’s raley to blind. Bruna Kajiya (Flexifoil, BRA) sweeped Naish rider Karolina Winkowska (POL) in the same heat with a blind judge and s-bend to blind. Although Winkowska lost this heat, she eventually managed to defeat Peral in heat #9 to settle for 3rd place with a display of power and higher technical difficulty level. In the finals, despite a very strong showing from Litwin, Kajiya held on to take home the top podium prize and the women’s Singles title. She landed a blind judge, s-bend to blind and blind judge with aerial handle pass against Litwin’s blind judge and s-bend to blind.
The Freestyle Singles finals for both the men and women concluded at around 2:00 pm at which time, the riders and the crowd attended the awards ceremony at the beach followed by an hour break for lunch.
After the lunch, the red flag was raised at exactly 3:05 pm to start the first round of the men’s doubles and then the event switched over to the women’s events. The day concluded at around 4:00 pm.
Tomorrow’s riders meeting will be at 12:00 pm with first possible start at 12:30 pm Fuerteventura time.
Freestyle Singles Result:
1. Kevin Langeree (Naish, NED)
2. Youri Zoon (Slingshot, NED)
3. Aaron Hadlow (Flexifoil, GBR)
1. Bruna Kajiya (Flexifoil, BRA)
2. Joanna Litwin (Nobile, POL)
3. Karolina Winkowska (Naish, POL)
Congratulations to all the winners and good luck on the Doubles!