The Nissan Noumea Kitesurf Pro started with light wind and a few rain showers but we quickly saw the sun come out and twenty knots of wind. In the morning the trials competition started to qualify the sixteen men who will go on into the main event and face the top eight riders in the world. The trials were dominated by local riders and Australians. In the afternoon the weather cleared up and the first two rounds of men were completed.
The trials are a great place for the locals to get used to competing in the PKRA format. Riders are judged in an overall impression format, based on the quality of the tricks over the quantity. The judges are looking for the tricks that are technically challenging and done with speed, power and style. The trials had heats of three men with the top two advancing into the main event. Some of the heats were very close. Heat number 3 with Dinclaux (FRA, Takoon), Fondere (FRA, Ozone) and Tadiello (FRA, Ozone) was one of the best heats of the trials. All three of them could jump high and do powered handle passes. In the end it was Dinclaux and Tadiello that went straight into the main event but Fondere would get in on the next round when he won his next heat.
Almost all the young and upcoming riders made it into the main event and Antoine Monnerville (FRA, Ozone) turned out to be one of the best riders of the main event. The local crew is really pushing the limit and these guys are going to be tough competitors in a few years.
The main event started after lunch when the morning clouds had burned off and the wind was steady at twenty knots. Most riders were using a kite size in-between seven and nine square meter. This is the perfect strength wind for really powerful tricks and big jumps.
Some of the highlights of the first two rounds were seeing some of the old school tricks being done by Tom Hebert (FRA, North), Michael Dinclaux (FRA, Takoon), Michael Siret (FRA, North) and Maxime Landeau (FRA, Takoon). These guys were boosting ten meters right next to the crowd doing big board offs and getting a huge amount of hang time.
We also saw the return of bindings into the PKRA with Sebastien Garat (FRA, RRD) and Alex Pastor (ESP, Airush). Sebastien really likes the feel of the bindings; it allows him to get a cleaner pop off the water and land with more speed, while being able to concentrate on the execution of the trick more than having to worry about losing the board. They will meet each other in the quarter-finals tomorrow and we will have an all boots heat.
The most powerful rider of the day was Marc Jacobs (NZL, Switch) who took advantage of the strong wind and perfectly flat water to send some of the most powerful tricks we have seen on the PKRA. He was going full speed in and out of the tricks. He was maxed out on his nine meter while most riders were on seven-meter kites. Simon Wichterman (AUS, Airush) also took advantage of the conditions and went for his patented Mega Loop front mobe but had to bail in the middle and barely managed to get the board under his feet for the landing.
It was a great day of competition with many spectators coming to see the event. The atmosphere was competitive but the riders were showing great sportsmanship by helping each other out and cheering on their fellow competitors.
Tomorrow we will finish the single elimination for the men and women. With these perfect conditions all the heats are going to be amazing, make sure you check out the live feed and vote for your favorite rider on the PKRA People’s choice award and you will be registered to win a New Best kite by the end of the weekend.
The People’s Choice contest will be closing on Thursday Night, Sebastien Garat (FRA, RRD) and Youri Zoon (NED, Slingshot) are wining so far, with Alex Pastor (ESP, Airush) following closely in third. If you have not voted for your favorite rider go on the PKRA website now to choose your favorite rider.
The People’s Choice heat will be run on Saturday.
Youri Zoon will also be going for a perfect season, come check out if he can finish 2011 undefeated.
If you missed any of today’s live feed you can go to www.live.prokitetour.com to see a replay of any of the heats with your favorite riders.