The mornings started with small glassy waves in front of the Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta. By the afternoon the thermal winds had kicked in and two full slalom ladders of men and women were run at the MINI kiteboard World Cup. Bryan Lake won both of his finals on the men side and Smunty and Withington each won one final. The course was setup by the race director with shorter legs and more marks to make the course more technical.
The first slalom ladder started in the building thermal winds and riders needed to use their bigger kites to get off the beach in the on-shore winds. The first round was run with no upsets and the top riders advanced. The first semifinal Adam Koch and Gunnar Biniasch both crossed the line early and were disqualified and the race was rerun without them, giving two unseeded riders a chance at a final. The ladders were setup with six riders in the final and semifinal. This made the start more challenging because riders really wanted to be ahead of the pack before the start, so that they could have more room at the first mark and the lead. The final was won by Bryan Lake who was perfect right from the start. Julien Kerneur from France tried to challenge him but Bryan was too strong.
For The second slalom ladder the wind had picked and some riders decided to go down to their 11 and 13 meter kites. This time all the starts were perfect and no one was disqualified. All the riders were getting their timing better on the starts and started pushing each other. The final had all the top riders except Koch who broke a line on his way to the starting line, they were all within meters of the start line when the green flag went up and the race was on. It was a close battle to the first mark with Kerneur and Lake battering for the lead, in the end it was Lake who took the win with Kerneur second and Whithington third.
The womens racing was very exciting with all the girls getting a better feel for the course and starts. It was too close to call right from the start with a tight race to the first mark. After a few exchanges it was Warenka Smunty who won the first womens final. The second final was won by Jessica Withington was on fire with her 17m kite and dominated the whole race.
Kevin Langeree and Alex Pastor put on a great display of freestyle close to the beach while the racers were on the water. The light winds did not stop them. They both put up their 15m kites and played on the kickers and flat water in-between the waves. A few more knots are still needed to run the freestyle, but the conditions are perfect for the light wind Slalom.
Saturday should be very exiting with more Slalom racing and freestyle on the Riviera Nayarit. Follow us on twitter and facebook.