The seventh day of the competition started out with wind changing directions and blowing onshore again rather than the forecasted offshore direction. Overcast skies dominated the skyline while the temperature was a bit warmer (18°C) than it has been in the past days. As the day wore on, the wind steadily picked up speed to near gale-force winds reaching up to 40 knots, forming moderately high waves. Due to safety concerns for both competitors and rescue crew, the race director decided not to run the last three remaining races. So the competition for kiteboarding is now officially over.
The French debut of the PKRA 2008 World Tour comes to a close with a series of successful kiteboarding games under its belt. This PKRA stop, the second in a series of destinations in and around North and South America, the Caribbean, Europe and Africa, saw the most number of kiteboarding races held so far in a single stop. The Freestyle event concluded in a record three days and has once again showcased some of the best kiteboarding athletes in the world. Organized by the Office de Tourisme de Leucate in partnership with VW Utilitaires and Portail Orange, the PKRA World Tour competition in France was held side by side with the Mondial du Vent, the most prestigious and longest-running kiteboarding and windsurfing competition in Europe. Official sponsors include Fosters Beer, Veolia Eau, Cool Shoe Corporation and Julbo sunglasses.
The Freestyle events were held from April 12 to 14 and were greeted by varying conditions, from light winds to gust of up to 35 knots. The top-ranked PKRA kiteboarders once again made it to the top and the classic Aaron Hadlow – Kevin Langeree match-up provided the highlights of the event in the men’s division. Spain’s Gisela Pulido once again pulled off her big moves to defeat Bruna Kajiya in the final events in the women’s division.
In kiteboard racing scene, it was Mexico’s and one of North’s pride, Sean Farley who has been at the top since the start of the Racing on April 12. Farley, who had a successful start by winning the first race, never looked back and dominated much of the games, ending his record here in France with six 1st place finishes and a total of 15.2 points. Another North racer, Charles Deleau came in second overall with a total of 16.28 points, finishing his record with four 1st places finishes throughout the competition. In total, the North team won a record 10 races out of 13 in the men’s division and 8 out of 13 races in the women’s division.
Dirk Hanel of North Kiteboarding commented, “It was really great to test the new North gear here in Leucate. Sean, Ken, Sky and I have been testing the 2-fin board on the same testing ground together while Charles tests a 4-fin board. As the race results have shown, I think that working in two directions as far as the board is concerned, is a big advantage for the whole team.”
After France, the PKRA 2008 World Tour goes to El Yaque, Margarita and El Coche island in Venezuela for the third stop. The competitions will be held from April 30 to May 4, 2008 with a total of $40,000 price money at stake. Congratulations to Sean Farley and Steph Bridge! See you in Venezuela.
Overall Race Results:
Men’s Division: (Top 5)
1. Sean Farley (North, Mexico), 15.2 pts.
2. Charles Deleau (North, France), 16.28 pts.
3. Sami Gali (Best, Spain), 28.67 pts.
4. Julien Kerneur (France), 34.4 pts.
5. Dirk Hanel (North, Germany), 50 pts.
Women’s Division: (Top 5)
1. Steph Bridge (North, UK), 9.6 pts.
2. Gina Esteva (Best, Spain), 19.4 pts.
3. Fabienne D’ortoli (Cabrinha, France), 24.1 pts.
4. Caroline Adrien (Naish, France), 41 pts.
5. Johara Sikes-Davis (Flexifoil, UK), 70 pts.