The Kitesurf World Cup Mendoza kicked off this week with an opening ceremony attended by riders, media, organizers and sponsors alike. Celebrating the commencement of the event, organizers and regional politicians spoke and made it clear (with an enthusiastic sense of pride) that they were honored to officially inaugurate the 2013 PKRA Kitesurf World Cup Mendoza and to add kiteboarding to the long list of adventures and activities offered in the region. Closing the ceremony, were the 2013 freestyle World Champions – Alex Pastor and Gisela Pulido – adding a few inspiring words and well-wishes for all the competitors.
The drive to the event site was filled with anticipation for all. The route passes through the Valle de Mendoza — world famous for its vineyards. Green lines of grapes gave way to dramatic mountains, snow-capped Andean peaks and finally the emerald-blue water of Lago Potrerillos.
After a brief riders meeting, and the wind just filling in, many Slalom racers went out to train and to get used to the conditions in anticipation for tomorrow’s races. Shortly after 2 pm, the men’s freestyle trials got underway in 15 knots of wind. The riders used kites in sizes ranging from 11m to 14m. For the trials, the heats are run in a dingle format, which allows each competitor two attempts to advance. Competitors winning first place in their three or four-person heats move straight into the main event. Other riders go back into the ladder to compete again. Early round trials action saw few surprises with the most seasoned riders moving on.
The first heat saw Evandro Da Silva advance in the closest competition of the day against the Brazilian rider Reis. Reis landed some nice technical tricks but Da Silva took the win showing better overall execution. Carlos Madson advanced in heat two, unanimously showing his variety and technical ability with a 315 and 313 Osmosis. During the early minutes of heat three, the wind became light and the heat had to be stopped short. Only minutes later, the wind returned and competition resumed. Carlos Mario, younger brother of Carlos Madson advanced throughout heat three, and was the most notable rider of today’s heats.
”Bebe” as he is known, landed both a Double Hinterberger 5 and Blind Judge 5 demonstrating why, at 15 years old, he is the 2013 Brazilian national champion. Heat four saw Hutter firing his arsenal of stock moves including a grabbed Hinterberger Mobe. Neto advanced with a very solid Slim Chance and Crow Mobe in heat five and Umpierre landed a nice Hinterberger Mobe and 313 which put him through in heat six. With light wind, Bakker advanced with a Front to Blind and 313 in heat seven. Near the end of the 7th heat, it was clear that the day’s thermal wind was on its way down. At approximately 4:30 pm, conditions were not suitable to continue running heats and the decision was made to call it a day.
While the first day’s action was just a sample of what is yet to come, it proved without a doubt that the venue here in Mendoza, Argentina is worthy of a PKRA Tour stop. With the level of talent present, the Kitesurf World Cup Mendoza is sure to provide some of the most spectacular kiteboarding action witnessed to date.
Tomorrow the action continues with the termination of the Men’s Freestyle trials followed by Slalom Racing throughout the afternoon. For daily photos, rankings and results, visit www.prokitetour.com