Fuerteventura Grand Slam, taking place on the Canary Islands, is the PKRA’s 7th official tour stop of 2013, and Day One of the event was extremely exciting.
Slalom races were run with many surprising results, lots of speed, and a few spectacular crashes. Oswald Smith of South Africa and Gisela Pulido of Spain were in the lead after 3 races, with contenders like Kerneur, Withington, Winkowska and Novotna close behind. Tomorrow, winds will be stronger and racing should be even faster.
HOW IT WORKS
Racing ladders for the men are setup with two semifinals (of 7 men each) with the top 3 riders advancing to the final. The women’s ladder is setup with a super final of five women. At the end of the event, all results will be added up and racers with the least amount of points will win. A first place is worth 0.7 points, 2nd is 2 points, 3rd is 3 points and so on. All riders get to discard a few races after a minimum of three races are completed, thus allowing them to average their best scores toward the final competition count.
RACING AT FUERTEVENTURA
The first race started around 3pm when the trade winds kicked in and it was blowing 15 to 25 knots. Racers on directional boards were riding 7 to 9 meter kites, and riders on twin tips were on kites between 9 and 12 m. The action was intense from the first heat and kept all competitors and spectators on their toes for the afternoon.
The first rounds of race one were completed with Reno, Neto, Kerneur, Smith, Biniasch and Blanc advancing to the final. 3 twin tips and 3 Slalom boards made it to the first final. The final was intense with Kerneur jumping into the lead. Oswald was in second but Biniasch got too aggressive and they fouled each other at the 4th mark, leaving the door open for Romeu and Blanc to grab 2nd and 3rd place. Kerneur won the first race of the PKRA Fuerteventura event. The women also had a close race with Pulido starting strong, followed by Novotna in 2nd and Winkowska in 3rd.
The women hit the water and once again Pulido was in the lead but this time Winkowska was on her tail the whole race, with Novotna in 3rd. The men’s second race was the most exciting of the day with Lewis-Hughes taking the lead on his twin tip. Kerneur and Withington were right on his tail until mark 4 when Lewis crashed. Kerneur tried to avoid him and got tangled with Withington who was disqualified. Oswald and Biniasch then took advantage of the situation to place 1st and 2nd, with Lewis in 3rd.
For the final races of the day, the wind started to drop and riders changed kites. Novotna came out fast and led the whole way followed by Pulido. Titova battled with Winkowska for a 3rd place finish. The wind dropped even more and racers were very underpowered on 7 meter kites. Romeu tangled with Corniel and was disqualified. Oswald was well in the lead; Withington on a 9m passed Kerneur for 2nd place. Kerneur took 3rd. Neto finished 4th.
Tomorrow the strong winds of Fuerteventura will return. Twin tip board riders may have an advantage around the course. It is hard to say how much wind it will take to blow bigger slalom boards off the water.
For complete event results, or to follow racing live, visit www.prokitetour.com