Completed Single Eliminations
Day two of the second PKRA tour stop in Leucate, France, brought about expectedly strong winds. With an early meeting and starting time of 11am, riders were out and on the water as soon as the wind allowed it. The strong offshore winds gusted up to 45 knots with an average of 25 knots in the morning, which at times rattled the glass walls of the judging tower and sprayed sand in the faces of awe-struck spectators. Amazingly, the French onlookers seemed not to be fazed by such conditions at a chilling 15 degrees, showing up in droves to witness the spectacular sights that carried on throughout the day.
Today also marked the first time this year that the live webcast aired from a PKRA event. Dave Tyburski and Regis Mortier (aka – Rage) took to the mike, detailing the action of each heat, which drew over 7,000 viewers in its first day. A close heat between former world champion Kevin Langeree and Alberto Rondina attracted over 500 online viewers, while Jacobs and Madson warranted 450 hits. For the first time ever, the live broadcasting system was able to report on the new scoring system implemented for 2012, with point-by-point coverage. While these live scores were not shown online today, they will be available for the next freestyle event in Holland and for the rest of the year to view in real time. This is thanks to industry partners Epikoo and Mystic.
The single eliminations provided very tough conditions for most riders who entered on the water. Using five to seven meter kites, competitors were fully powered, bravely facing incredible gusts and at times, barely holding on. This brought about many remarkable crashes and incredible jump attempts by various riders. In the heat between current World Champion Youri Zoon and the youngest rider on tour, Liam Whaley, each rider boosted huge air, with failures to stick landings on multiple occasions. Zoon and Whaley brought some big back mobes and 313s to the table, while the underdog – Whaley – performed exceptionally well, earning a 6.3 for a Front Blind. Ending in the biggest upset of the day, Whaley beat Zoon in a 2.63 difference in scores. In his heat that followed against local favorite, Sebastian Garat, Whaley performed just as impressively, exhibiting astonishing consistency, coming out on top with the winning position and earning the respect and adoration of everyone on the beach. He later lost to Alberto Rondina but won again in a battle against Carlos Madson, stepping up to the PKRA podium for his first time ever. Looking back on his match-ups, Whaley attributed his wins to an increased level of confidence throughout the day.
Another interesting heat occurred between the two Brazilians, Eudazio Da Silva and Ariel Corniel, with Corniel advancing on a score of only 14.7 total points. This heat brought the most crashes with the most difficult wind. With such strong gusts, kite loops represented one of the most common maneuvers of the day – riders sending their kites as high as they could go. For Alex Pastor, even though his first heat was not his best, he said he was amped after hitting several technical moves in the tough conditions. Pastor executed some nearly perfect Mobe 5s and a textbook Blind Judge 3, earning the highest score of the day at 48.9 in heat 16.
The women’s heats provided no lack of action once the afternoon arrived. Interestingly, the champion of the Dakhla Kiteboarding World Cup, Bruna Kajiya, switched from boots to straps for her first heat on the water against Jungo, and while she suffered some trouble with this transition and the gusty wind, Kajiya came out victorious, moving onto the next round and switching back to boots for her remaining heats. Gisela Pulido also stepped up her game after a surprising loss in Dakhla, performing powered tricks such as a Slim Chance and Front Blind, later commenting that she was happy to have the support of her family at the competition and is excited for the remainder of the event as she hopes to stay in the lead.
Karolina Winkowska earned the highest trick of the day for the women with a 6.5 S-Bend to blind. This was the first time that the women competed with the 9 total trick attempts, a format which clearly worked well compared to the previous 12 total trick attempts allowed in Dakhla. Without a doubt, this day brought high intensity with incredibly close heats and hard fought battles. The final results of today’s single eliminations are as follows:
1. Alex Pastor from Spain (Airush)
2. Alberto Rondina from Italy (Cabrinha)
3. Liam Whaley from Spain (Cabrinha)
4. Carlos Madson from Brazil (Nobile)
1. Gisela Pulido from Spain (Best)
2. Bruna Kajiya from Brazil (Airush)
3. Karolina Winkowska from Poland (Slingshot)
4. Asia Litwin from Poland (Airush)