Set against excellent wind conditions and sunny weather, the Telefonica Movistar Kite Pro 2008 in Tarifa, Spain had an exciting grand finale in contrast to yesterday’s long wait for the wind. The morning started with a lot of it with the strong and westerly Poniente wind making its debut into the final games.
The competition started right on time at 11:30 am, half an hour after the mandatory skippers meeting. The men went in the water on their 8- to 9-meter kites while the women were on their 5’s.
Into the highlights of today’s double event, the women had the privilege of going into the water first before the men, showing their extreme kiteboarding talents for the pleasure of the crowd. Netherlands’ Jalou Langeree (Naish) had a great heat against Germany’s Susi Mai (Cabrinha) – the talented young host of ExtremeElements.tv, in the first heat of the day. The Naish-sponsored rider won against Mai with a blind judge, raley to blind, krypt to surface pass, vulcan to surface pass and kiteloop. Mai equally did her best with a raley to blind, front to blind and double back kiteloop but was outpowered and was less on the technical side which gave the win to Langeree.
Poland’s Joanna Litwin, on a Slingshot kite knocked out Langeree in the next heat with a slim and blind judge against the Naish rider’s krypt to surface pass and vulcan to surface pass. Litwin then succumbed to the power of the more experienced Karolina Winkowska in heat #17 with a blind judge against Litwin’s crashed slim and blind judge.
After a tough battle in heat #18 against top seeded Bruna Kajiya (Best, Brazil) in heat #18, Winkowska faced Spain’s Gisela Pulido (Slingshot) in the finals but was clearly outclassed by the world champion. Pulido landed a slim, 313, mobe, front mobe and blind judge over Winkowska’s lone blind judge – a well-deserved win for Pulido.
ExtremeElements.tv managed to get an interview from top seed Bruna Kajiya after the events and this is what she has to say.
“I had a really bad heat, the wind was really strong and I was on my 5-meter. I was not expecting the Poniente wind to be that strong instead we expected the Levante to be really strong so I was in a real rush and didn’t have time to set up my lines, so I was a bit nervous and because of that things didn’t go through well. But I’m very happy because even though I’m not in my best shape even just before Dominican Republic, I made it this far. I got really sick and I lost so much weight, like 5 kilos, and I lost so many muscles so I’m not really strong and I haven’t had time to get back to training because the two events were so close to each other.”
In the men’s division, current world champion Aaron Hadlow (Flexifoil, UK) started his run to the top of the ladder and against Langeree. Winning over Alex Pastor (Naish, Spain) in heat #32, Hadlow landed a blind judge 3, s-bend to blind with aerial handle pass, regular and switch slim, KGB, mobe to wrapped and kiteloop slim. The Spanish bet landed a nice front mobe to blind and mobe to wrapped among others but had less power overall.
Redeeming himself from a defeat in the singles event, Hadlow landed a regular and switch slim, regular and switch back to blind air pass, front mobe, kiteloop 5, shifty front side 3, a big kiteloop-backloop and switch kiteloop handle pass against Mikael Blomvall (Nobile, Sweden) who landed a mobe to wrapped, front mobe but had a lot of crashes. The world champ then went against local boy Alvaro Onieva (Best) who also had trouble landing many of his moves, even changing his kite twice during the heat twice trying to find a winning combo. Aside from a blind judge, s-bend to blind, mobe, backside with aerial handle pass, front side 360, Onieva had a routine heat. Hadlow however landed several regular and switch moves of slim, mobe, kiteloop with aerial handle pass, and back to blind air pass plus a mobe to wrapped, 313, s-bend to blind air pass, kiteloop slim and a blind judge 3.
Hadlow made it to the final and back to doing what he does best – compete for the top podium position. He landed a regular and switch slim and regular and switch back to blind air pass against a well-rested Kevin Langeree (Naish, Netherlands) who opened up the heat with a blind judge with aerial handle pass, KGB, mobe 5, front mobe, s-bend to blind with aerial handle pass, double back mobe and a kiteloop 7. Overall, Hadlow’s moves were powered but lower and slower than Langeree’s and would have to settle for second.
ExtremeElements.tv did a back-to-back interview with these two top-ranked PKRA athletes right after the event and got their assessment regarding the recently concluded heats.
First up was Aaron Hadlow.
“Today was very good. I had quite a hard job ahead of me almost coming up through the doubles is super difficult. It takes so much energy in 10-minutes each time and it just takes a lot out of you. But I did some of the best riding today that I’ve done in this event. I did one trick which was probably one of the best tricks that I did in a long time though – a mega loop with a handle pass and then a 360 grab going down. I was pretty stoked with that.”
“Into the finals, it was really windy, up against Kevin [Langeree] it was difficult because he was consistent but the heat I guess was pretty close. I saw him do the kiteloop 7 which obviously was pretty big, but you know one trick doesn’t win the heat obviously, but I had a couple of good things. I crashed out on a couple of my key tricks which probably might have swayed the other way but it was close and he went through again this time.”
Then it was Kevin Langeree’s turn.
“The day went pretty good for me. I won twice in a row and now I take over the lead, and now I’m stoked, I can’t be happier. The heat went very well for me and the wind was stronger when we arrived this morning. I was on my 8-meter and I landed a kiteloop double handle pass which I landed twice already – that was the second time I landed it in a competition and it’s just amazing when you land a trick – the crowd went crazy, I went crazy. I think that because I landed that trick really helped me to win the heat and win the event so I am super stoked.”
Double Eliminations Result:
1. Kevin Langeree (Naish, Netherlands)
2. Aaron Hadlow (Flexifoil, UK)
3. Alvaro Onieva (Best, Spain)
4. Mikael Blomvall (Nobile, Sweden)
1. Gisela Pulido (Slingshot, Spain)
2. Karolina Winkowska (Naish, Poland)
3. Bruna Kajiya (Best, Brazil)
4. Joanna Litwin (Slingshot, Poland)
After the end of the double eliminations, there was a 20-minute break and an informal beach awards ceremony was held before the second discipline was started. The Big Air Best Trick had a small ladder of 5-men heats and 3-women heats with a total of 3 rounds with the best two advancing to a quarter finals and then to the finals where there are 4 competitors shooting for the top podium spot. Although by the time the Big Air Best trick competition started, the wind had died off considerably with the men on their 12- to 14-meter kites and the women up on their 9’s. Later in the competition, the wind picked up again and provided a great finale for the crowd.
The Big Air Best Trick competition concluded around 4:00 pm after which a formal awarding ceremony was held at the beach at 6:00 pm.
The winners of the Big Air Best Trick competition were:
1. Mario Rodwald (North, Germany) for a high handle pass front mobe to blind
2. Kevin Langeree (Naish, Netherlands) for a high handle pass mobe
3. Aaron Hadlow (Flexifoil, UK) for a high handle pass front mobe
1. Gisela Pulido (Slingshot, Spain) for a high handle pass front mobe
2. Susi Mai (Cabrinha, Germany) for a big front roll one-footer
3. Karolina Winkowska (Naish, Poland) for a big double front spin
The Movistar Telefonica Kite Pro 2008 was sponsored by Movistar Telefonica, Nissan Sport Adventure and O’Neill Kiteboarding.
The next stop will be Portugal from July 9 to 13 for the Kitemasters Invitational Cup 2008 and the second annual Kiteboarding Course Racing World Tour, the event where the hardest-hitting and the best kiteboard racers from all over the world will come together in a five-day event to compete in the toughest racing competition in the history of kiteboarding.