Sotavento, Fuerteventura – July 21, 2009. Wednesday’s final games for the freestyle double wraps up with some great sporting action that only the PKRA can deliver. Although the wind was light, the competitors never failed to give the crowd a spectacular show and another great event for the record books drew to an exciting close.
The sun showed up during the final day of the freestyle competition warming the air to about 26° Celsius. The mandatory riders meeting commenced right on schedule but the start was delayed by 25 minutes due to light winds so race director Olaf Van Tol postponed the starting heat to 2:25 pm. The athletes had to go out on their 10 to 12-meter kites. Although the wind started to build slowly during the start of the heats, it never really picked up momentum as it had during the past few days especially during the start of the competition last Sunday. The average wind speed during the day ranged between 18 and 25 knots.
The men’s heats opened up the day’s events alternating with the women’s until the final women’s heat was run. The competition was then down to the last three men’s heats when Van Tol decided to alternate between a heat and a 10-minute break, which is exactly the time of one heat (7 minutes) plus the transition (3 minutes) to allow the finalists a break before going right back on the water. The first break came after heat #34 between Aaron Hadlow (Flexifoil, GBR) and Youri Zoon (Slingshot, NED) and the second one between Hadlow and Kevin Langeree (Naish, NED) in heat #35.
Freestyle Finals Highlights
Heat #30 opened up today’s games with Aussie rider Andy Yates (Slingshot) continuing to improve his standings in the Tour, edging out Spanish Alex Pastor (Naish) with a combination of power moves and better regular and switch tricks. The Australian kiteboarder won with a unanimous 5-0 decision. In the same heat, Cesar Portas (North, ESP) kept the hopes alive for the hometown crowd beating Alberto Rondina (Cabrinha, ITA) with a variety of moves with grabs for extra technical difficulty score. The Spanish ace then met Yates in the next heat, winning with his signature switch moves and a higher technical difficulty score with a front mobe 5. Continuing his charge towards the top of the competition ladder, Portas defeated Reno Romeu (North, BRA) in the next heat with yet another high technical difficulty score. Portas landed a front mobe 5, regular and switch slim/back to blind air pass, and indy 313. Romeu stomped a regular and switch slim, mobe 5 and kgb but were not enough for a win.
Slightly beaten up with riding in consecutive heats, Portas lost to the UK’s pride and top-ranked Aaron Hadlow who was on fire and keen to win the top podium spot. Hadlow easily beat Portas with a higher technical difficulty score, more speed, more power and more trick variation.
In the fight for 3rd place, Hadlow narrowly inched Zoon going into the last and final heat with a 3-2 win against the Dutch rider. Hadlow landed a regular and switch slim/hasselhoff, blind judge with air pass, front mobe to blind, double s-bend to blind, mobe 5, shifty 360 and a kiteloop 360 against Portas’ regular and switch slim, blind judge, kgb, 313, mobe, kiteloop 360 and late pass mobe.
The final heat was yet again another classic battle between Hadlow and Langeree. In the 35th heat, Hadlow managed to stay on top with a higher technical difficulty score plus some switch moves. In the repeat final, Hadlow sealed his victory with a 3-2 judges’ decision and took home the top prize. Hadlow was on his A-game in the final heats. Riding with his 9-meter Hadlow Pro kite, he landed a front mobe, blind judge with aerial handle pass, s-bend to blind air pass, double s-bend to blind, front mobe to blind, regular and switch hasselhoff, back to blind air pass, non-inverted slimchance, mobe, shifty 360 and kiteloop 360. Langeree was also on top of his game, landing a front mobe, s-bend to blind with air pass, blind judge with aerial handle pass, front mobe 5, 313, slim, mobe, late pass mobe, a double back mobe and a kiteloop 360. It was a very tight call for all the judges as both athletes are top-caliber kiteboard riders but in the end, there can only be one champion. Birthday celebrant Kevin Langeree hopefully made a wish on his birthday cake that Germany will be better for him.
In the women’s events, Germany’s Susi Mai (Cabrinha) lost to Spain’s Angela Peral (North) in the 16th heat which started a sort of “challengers’ losses”. Peral faced the well-rested Karolina Winkowska (Naish, POL) in the 17th heat and lost with just a raley to blind to her record. Winkowska then went on to challenge Joanna Litwin (Nobile, POL) in the 18th heat and also lost. Litwin landed a blind judge, 313 and slim against Winkowska’s lone blind judge. The Naish rider crashed a few of her bigger moves while the Nobile rider landed all of her tricks. Litwin moved on to challenge Bruna Kajiya (Flexifoil, BRA) for the top podium spot but like any other challengers before her, she also lost the heat, putting her in second place overall. Kajiya opened up the heat with a blind judge, moving on to land an s-bend to blind, 313, back to blind air pass and a switch raley to blind. Litwin’s blind judge, s-bend to blind and a higher kite 313 moves lost with lower technical difficulty score and variation.
After the heats, an awards ceremony was held on the beach and the event wrapped up at 5:00 pm. The Kiteloop competition will be held tomorrow starting at 1:00 pm after the 12:30 riders meeting.
The Fuerteventura PKRA Kiteboarding Grand Slam 2009 is organized and presented by Pro Center Rene Egli in cooperation with Playas de Jandia Fuerteventura, the Tourism Council of Fuerteventura, Gobierno de Canarias, Hotel Melia Gorriones, Tropical, Cabrinha and Neilpryde.
ExtremeElements.TV is the official media partner of the PKRA Kiteboarding Grand Slam 2009 which is sanctioned by the International Kiteboarding Association. Next Tour stop is St. Peter-Ording, Germany which will start on July 25 and will run until August 2 for the Palmolive for Men Kitesurf World Cup 2009.
Official PKRA Freestyle Results (Fuerteventura):
1. Aaron Hadlow (Flexifoil, GBR)
2. Kevin Langeree (Naish, NED)
3. Youri Zoon (Slingshot, NED)
1. Bruna Kajiya (Flexifoil, BRA)
2. Joanna Litwin (Nobile, POL)
3. Karolina Winkowska (Naish, POL)