Round one of the double elimination began at Mondial du Vent yesterday in 16-24 knots of wind, allowing for the completion of six men’s heats.
Light winds and sunny skies greeted the riders on day four in Leucate, France. With only a breeze blowing through the competition area up to 10 knots, the conditions were not suitable for competition early on, and the forecast left most competitors wondering if the day would be a day off.
As riders in the early heats were preparing their larger kite sizes, the wind steadily increased (surprisingly) to over 20 knots. As a result, riders scrambled to pump up their smaller kites. The wind was shifty at times, changing directions suddenly and creating choppy conditions. With many daylight hours still ahead in the day, the decision was made to wait until later in the afternoon to begin competition.
At 1:30, the first heat of the men’s double elimination began despite any significant change in the wind. Paul Serin and Johnno Sholte took to the water first with some big tricks, showing that the conditions were suitable afterall. Sholte came out solid, landing his first four tricks. After a few crashes, Serin picked up momentum mid-heat earning the win by only .27 points for the closest heat of the day.
In the second heat, despite a very strong start, Liam Whaley succumbed to Sergei Borisov after being unable to re-launch his kite, giving Borisov the advantage mid-way through the heat. Noteworthy performances came from newcomer David Tonijuan who defeated Michael Shitzhofer. Starting with big points early in the heat, Shitzhofer rode strong. However, Tonijuan rode well too, landing solid tricks including a high scoring Front Blind Mobe and Back Mobe for the win.
Former World Champion Youri Zoon demonstrated that he was capable of the long climb up the ladder by beating out the young Carlos Mario with his textbook big powerful style and earning the highest heat score of the day. As Luis Cruz and Patrick Blanc took to the water, they struggled to stay upwind. Even after returning to the beach for larger kites, it was clear that the conditions were no longer favorable and the heat was abandoned. The wind never returned so at 3:30pm, all riders were released for the day.
Today the strong Leucate winds are forecasted to return. Action from the double elimination will begin after the rider’s meeting. For a complete list of current standings and live streaming action, visit the PKRA website at www.prokitetour.com.