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World Kiteboarding League – Leucate – The Finals

The final day of competition here in La Franqui, Leucate, was nothing short of exceptional. The completion of the Men’s Semi-finals took place first, followed by the Men’s Small Final, the Women’s Elite Final, and the Men’s Elite Final. The first Semi-final of the day was full of anticipation until the very end, with Brazilian rider Set Teixeira landing some high scoring tricks such as Slim 7 and well executed Heart Attack to take the top spot. Liam Whaley didn’t land his last trick but still managed to just make his way into 2nd position with a clean Front Blind Mobe and Back Mobe 5. Conditions were tricky and riders were often having to change from 7 metre to 9 metre kites during their heat. Semi-Final number two was full of tension between Aaron Hadlow from the Uk and Stefan Spiessberger from Austria. It was extremely close between them both but it finally came down to Spiessberger who landed his Slim 5 scoring just enough points to jump from 3rd into 2nd position, and ensuring his spot in the final. Current World Champion Carlos Mario clearly dominated the heat by landing his usual sequence of doubles including a Backside 315, …

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World Kiteboarding League – Leucate – Day Six

Day 6 commenced with extremely strong winds, as the Tramontana was blowing in full force. Temperatures were somewhat lower than what we had earlier in the week. The Women’s Semi-finals were completed, followed by the finals for the Qualifier League for both Men and Women. To end the day and take advantage of the strong winds, a Big Air Expression Session was held, as we are preparing to host the Big Air World Cup later in the year. The wind was strong and the conditions were challenging for the start of the Women’s Semi Finals. The ladies were riding 6 and 7 metre kites, and were often very overpowered. Annabel Van Westerop from the Netherlands showed a lot of experience and dominated her heat throughout. She was followed by Francesca Bagnoli from Italy who showed that passion and motivation can get you far. Both girls will now be in tomorrow’s final. Joining them will be Current World Champion Bruna Kajiya who won with her last trick, a nice slim chance scoring a 8.4 that left her pumping with adrenaline. Paula Novotna from the Czech Repulic came close but couldn’t land her 4th trick that she needed, so it was Annelous …

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World Kiteboarding League – Leucate – Day Five

It was another early start on the beach of La Franqui, in Leucate, France. The day commenced with Women’s Round 1, with conditions that were gusty, but not as strong as we have seen typically at this location in previous years. It was newcomer Maureen Castelle from New Caledonia who won the first heat of the day beating fellow riders Annabel Van Westerop and Rita Arnaus. Castelle landed clean and big S-bend to Blind, back to blind, and slims, and was delighted to pass directly through to the 3rd round. Annabel Van Westerop followed very close behind and nearly stole the win on her last trick, a slim chance, but unfortunately her kite was a little too high and it did not score too well. One rider who was on fire this morning was Francesca Bagnoli, who showed some amazing skills by landing all her tricks perfectly. The battle was on with Therese Taabbel from Denmark who also rode extremely well, but it was Francesca who scored an 8 with a big heart attack, and passed directly through to Round 3. During Heat 3, Czech Republic rider Paula Novotna decided she wasn’t going to give the newcomers a chance, and …

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World Kiteboarding League – Leucate – Day Four

It was another early start on the beach of La Franqui, in Leucate as the Rider’s meeting was held at 8am, as the sun was rising and the Tramontana wind already blowing. The objective for the early morning was to complete the Qualifier League Event. Heat 5 for the Women was first in sequence. It was newcomer Mikaili Sol and Maureen Castelle that dominated the heat by landing powerful S-bend to Blinds, Back to Blinds, and Slims. Maureen showed some outstanding control by landing all of her tricks perfectly. The new young talent Mika, of just 12 years of age, showed talent and skill beyond her years and secured a spot in the next round. For the second heat of the day, Annelous Lammerts from the Netherlands showed a great comeback after a disappointing first round. She stomped some impressive tricks such as a Blind Judge, 313, and S-bend to Blind. Rita Arnaus from Spain also put on a good performance, which showed her Elite League experience. Julia Castro also from Spain landed a very powerful 313, though it was not enough to get her through to the next round. After a short pause, Men’s Qualifier Heat 23 was run, …

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World Kiteboarding League – Leucate – Day Two

Day Two in La Franqui commenced with strong winds, as predicted. After an early 7.30 am skipper’s meeting for the Qualifier League Event, the heats got underway immediately. The conditions remained tough, with the wind averaging 35 knots. Riders were on 5 to 6 metre kites during the morning and larger sizes during the afternoon. There were many crashes throughout the day as riders were struggling to successfully land their tricks. As the heats progressed the athletes started to take more risks, as they had to work harder to push their way into the top 9 which would guarantee them a spot in the Elite League. Former World Champion Aaron Hadlow from the UK put on a strong performance showing his experience in competing here in La Franqui. His consistent riding has now guaranteed a spot for him in the Elite League. Oswald Smith from South Africa proved that gusty and challenging conditions were not an issue for him and rode exceptionally well, with Leucate showing many similarities with the conditions he trains in at his South African home spots. Luis Alberto Cruz landed the highest scoring trick of the day, a 317 scoring him 7.73 and allowing him one …

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