The last day of competition welcomed the competitors with the most extreme conditions a kiteboarder can expect in Fuerteventura: 35 to 45 knots in the ongoing gusts and choppy waters. As usual on the PKRA we were again surprised by the level the riders can reach in these conditions.
Today was going to be the battle for the podium places between the top 4 men and women.
It started with the two Polish women Litiwin (POL, Nobile) and Winkowska (POL, Slingshot), both struggling but managing to land Blind Judge’s and 313’s. Karolina Winkowska showed more power and advances into the next heat against her long-term rival Bruna Kajiya (BRA, Flexifoil).
In the men’s division, you could feel the stress radiating from the riders standing on the beach while watching the spot. Youri Zoon (NED, Slingshot) sitting in first place commentated: “I’m a little stressed out because the world title is in my hands, if I win this event I’m almost secured to be World Champion so it’s hard to believe… I’m going to ride with as much power as possible because that way if you land your trick then you really get rewarded for it. We’ll see how that goes!”
Meanwhile Alex Pastor (ESP, Airush) beats Marc Jacobs (NZL, Switch) who definitely tried to go for way too much power. Both riders crashed a lot but Pastor secured his heat landing a few switches, which got him into the next round.
This is where the moment of the day happened. There couldn’t be anyone better to describe the heat between Alberto Rondina (ITA, Cabrinha) and Alex Pastor (ESP, Airush) than a judge who understands the technical aspect of these complex moves. Carlos Saez claimed, “I have never seen someone riding so well in these kind of conditions, this is just amazing. He just performed the best heat that I have ever seen on the PKRA with winds averaging 40 knots. He was so solid, confident and radical that he just made it look easy, as if these were his normal training conditions, unbelievable! He got good height when popping off the chops while his kite remained low all the time and he kept amazing speed through the entire trick. A beautiful moment!”
Naturally Alex went through to the finals against Zoon (NED, Slingshot), leaving Alberto happily in 3rd place for the second time this year.
In the girls division, riding with the same kite sizes as the men (5 meters), the women couldn’t quite believe how hard the conditions were. Bruna Kajiya (BRA, Flexifoil) had her worst heat of the competition against Winkowska (POL, Slingshot) who in contrast had her best one, landing 313’s, Blind Judge, Slim and a railey to wrapped. She naturally went into the final against Gisela Pulido (ESP, Airush).
In the men’s finals, Alex Pastor (ESP, Airush), coming out confident from his last heat, went for powerful and radical moves. He ended up crashing a lot against Zoon (NED, Slingshot) who was riding his first heat of the day and stuck in a couple of combos to secure his heat. Alex’s reckons that his strategy doesn’t work all the time, landing less tricks than Youri who remained consistent during the entire competition, winning his fourth event in a row.
In the women’s division it’s a different story, Gisela Pulido (ESP, Airush) found the start of her heat very scary as Karolina Winkowska (POL, Slingshot) landed a 313 and a Blind Judge while she had difficulty landing her tricks in the gusts. But Karolina was unlucky and smashed her kite on the water when crashing a S-bend to blind, her kite deflated leaving Gisela alone on the water to secure enough tricks and take the win of this double elimination.
A massive crowd surrounded the podium to congratulate the top 4 riders who have been riding today. The results of this event exactly mirror the overall ranking stand point at this time of the year:
Results Women Fuerteventura Grand Slam:
1. Gisela Pulido (ESP, Airush)
2. Karolina Winkowska (POL, Slingshot)
3. Bruna Kajiya (BRA, Flexifoil)
4. Joanna Litwin (POL, Nobile)
Results Men Single Eliminations:
1. Youri Zoon (NED, Slingshot)
2. Alex Pastor (ESP, Airush)
3. Alberto Rondina (ITA, Cabrinha)
4. Marc Jacobs (NZL, Switch)
For the next event we remain in the Canary Islands, commencing on Monday the 8th on the beautiful island of Tenerife. This will be a Kite Masters event with a mix of old school high jumps and new wakestyle maneuvers.
St Peter Ording in Germany will be the next PKRA World Tour stop counting for the overall rankings.
See you next year in Fuerteventura for another amazing event.
The Fuerteventura Grand Slam is sponsored by the Canary Islands, the Island of Fuerteventura, Playas de Jandia, René Egli center, The Hotel Melia Gorriones, Cabrinha, NeilPryde, Surf Magazine, and Fuerte Action.