The PKRA freestyle event in Fuerteventura started yesterday with trials, to fill 14 openings in the main event. 41 men and 12 women registered. 33 men completed trials for the 14 spots available. The wind was around 20 knots. The men were mostly on 9 m kites and the water was perfectly flat. Many top seeds advanced like Hadlow, Shitzhofer, and Spiessberger, but some big upsets as well including the Garat brothers, Serin, Bakker and Scholte.
The format of the trials is very simple; nine heats of 3 to 4 men with the winners advancing directly to the main event. Losers of the first round meet in round two for 6 heats of three men with the winners advancing. Round three is comprised of two heats with the top two seeds advancing and the two losers meeting in round four. The winner takes the final spot into the main event.
In heat one Patrick Blanc advanced over his competitors with some powerful handle passes like and S-1 and S-mobe with the kite low. In heat two Spiessberger landed a clean front blind mobe to advance. Hadlow was in heat three, even though he was not very powerful, his riding was extremely clean and technical and he qualified for the main event. Garaschenko surprised Hutter in heat four with some big moves. Schitzhofer was constant and powerful in heat five and advanced while Nico Suriel went huge to get his win in heat six. Madson was extremely clean and powerful in heat seven. Corniel won a close heat over S.Garat to qualify for the main event. In the last heat of round one, Borisov only landed a few tricks but they were extremely well executed and powerful to secure the win. After the first round, five spots remain for 18 riders.
In round two, the riders were under a lot of pressure. It’s a must-win heat to remain in the competition and only one out of every three riders advances to the next round. The six riders that advanced were: Neto, Fermon, DaSilva, Bobryk, Hutter and Umpierre. The second round had two extremely close heats. One with Serin, Bobryk and Alcazar with the judges having a split decision. In a very close heat, Bobryk advanced. The other close heat was between Umpierre, Sebastien and Valentin Garat. Once again the judges were split and the decision went to Umpierre.
Round three was a great show with everyone advancing to the main event or the next round. Hutter and Neto took care of business early while Umpierre needed another heat to qualify for the main event by defeating Fermon. Da Silva and Bobryk advanced over Fermon with bigger moves and more power.
Trials are getting more difficult at every PKRA event. Just winning a heat is becoming very challenging with strong competitions from all over the world. The 14 riders that advanced into the main event will have a chance to challenge the top eight riders of the world. The main event is now set with a very talented fleet. Youri Zoon and Bruna Kajiya are the two missing competitors from this main event, who will be out for the rest of the season due to injuries.
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