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PKRA St. Peter Ording, Germany, Day 4: Trials and More Racing

The fourth day in St Peter Ording began with clouds and rain resulting in an action-free morning for the PKRA. Towards midday the clouds began to clear and the wind picked up leaving us with a beautiful sunny beach to begin the first race of the day (Race 7). As the spot was perfectly flat a three buoy course was set with a starting line far out to sea.

John Heineken (USA, Ozone) seemed on form today as he won the first race by a good margin. John reckons that he is a lot more confident in strong winds and the same thing applies to his friend and challenger Adam Koch (USA, Ozone). “It’s seems like when it’s windy we get away. Adam and I are fighting for first place, just like at home!”

Race 7

Men:

1. John Heineken (USA, Ozone)

2. Adam Koch (USA, Ozone)

3. Julien Kerneur (FRA, Takoon)

Women:

1. Katja Roose (NED, Airush)

2. Steph Bridge (GBR, North)

3. Caroline Adrien (FRA, Cabrinha)

Heineken led race 7 all the way and commented that the conditions were a lot stronger out there on the start line; he claimed to be overpowered on his twelve meter kite. Kerneur had the same problem and estimated 20 to 25 knots on the starting line for Race 8.

Julien took some time to explain to us his strategy to stay within the bands of wind whilst racing: “If you feel that you are losing speed and that you might be leaving the band then you just look on the water surface to see where the gusts are moving. You can then tack accordingly to stay within them.”

The reaching tack was the most spectacular for the public as the racers were going full speed towards the finish line. The leading fleet came in close to each other and Dirk Hanel (GER, North) had a massive crash on the last stretch when he came too close to the shore with his fins skimming the sand.

Race 7

Men:

1. John Heineken (USA, Ozone)

2. Adam Koch (USA, Ozone)

3. Julien Kerneur (FRA, Takoon)

Women:

1. Steph Bridge (GBR, North)

2. Katja Roose (NED, Airush)

3. Caroline Adrien (FRA, Cabrinha)

At 2.30pm, despite cloudy skies, the wind was strong enough to move onto Freestyle. We began with 10 to 15 knots blowing on flat water but unfortunately this didn’t last and before long the beautiful spot turned grey and rainy which stopped the wind and therefore the action. We did however manage to squeeze in three heats before the weather turned, qualifying Hund (GER, North), Blomvall (SWE, Nobile) and Spiesseperger (AUT, North) into the main event. Most riders were doing 313’s and Blind Judges to secure their heats and would then go into mobes to impress the crowds and judges.

Between the course racers, the freestylers who were going into trials, and the freestylers training for the single elimination, there were over 150 kites lying on the beach by the end of the day. All of these plus the 300 packed in the riders tent and the kites on display in the brand tents probably made St Peter Ording the biggest concentration of kites on earth today…

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