The kick off event for the Official 2009 PKRA World Tour is in the beautiful city of Leucate, situated at the southwestern coast of France. The weather started out cold and wet with the temperature dropping as the day wore on. The wind, however, was a no-show for the day showing little promise of improvement during the rain squalls that swept through the area in the morning. Average temperature was about 10° Celsius with periods of heavy rain until about noon which kept the crowds indoors until late afternoon when the weather finally started to improve.
Yesterday’s registration was a huge success with over 47 competitors from 14 different countries that have come to compete in the best and most recognized official world tour of kiteboarding that is known as the PKRA. Registration started at approximately 16:00 and concluded around 19:00 local time.
Today’s skipper meeting got underway at 10:00 where Sami Gali, PKRA Head Judge, introduced the panel of 6 judges for this event and covered regular pre-competition information such as format and judging criteria. There was also an announcement that a riders meeting would be held at 14:30 to discuss the events that have transpired since the tour concluded last year in Chile.
During the riders meeting PKRA Tour President Mauricio Toscano and Vice President Paul Caswell gave a full description of the PKRA, IKA, ISAF discussions and why the PKRA ended up seeking separate recognition from ISA as an alternative to the failed mediation between the IKA and PKRA. It should be noted that the mediation party, ISAF, was not considered an impartial mediator since ISAF represents IKA as one of their own members and could not offer an objective view to the concerns that the PKRA raised from the beginning of the negotiations.
The opinion from the athletes was that of overwhelmingly support and agreement in the PKRA’s management decisions. Other business covered in the meeting was nominations for the new riders committee. A vote will be held on Tuesday where only five athletes from the total nominations will be elected. The riders committee will discuss matters over the course of the 2009 tour year that concern the athletes such as rules, judging guidelines, points and discards.
Later in the day, with clearing skies, the crowds ventured out-doors and flooded the event site to try and get autographs or a glimpse of the best kiteboarders in the world who make up the official world tour of
kiteboarding. At 17:30 there was a opening ceremony where some of the top riders where recognized on stage including Aaron Hadlow (5-Time PKRA World Champion, Flexifoil, UK), Kevin Langeree (Naish, NLD), Gisela Pulido (2-Time PKRA World Champion, Airush, ESP), Sebastian Garat (RRD, FRA) and Alex Caizergues (F-One, FRA).
Tomorrow’s wind forecast looks promising with strong winds, albeit, cold and rainy weather again will only push the athletes to preform their best in their quests to overcome mother nature in search for the ultimate prize of over 40,000 Euros that hangs in the balance. Skippers meeting is set for 09:00 with first possible start at 09:30.
The Mondial du Vent 2009 and the Official PKRA 2009 World Tour event in France is made possible through the efforts and kindness of the Office de Tourisme de Leucate with VW Utilitaires and Portail Orange as official partners. ExtremeElements.tv, being the official media partner of the PKRA, will provide HD-quality video footage of the event. To view the event’s live results, simply login and register at http://www.extremeelements.tv as well as commentaries and press releases from the previous PKRA World Tour years, now officially recognized by ISA.
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