It was an amazing day of competition in Fuerteventura today in what the riders commented to be the hardest conditions they have rode in this year with winds averaging 35 knots .
Tom Hebert added: “There’s only two seconds between each gust and the wind is more side shore which brings a lot of chop to the water. Today definitely provided the hardest conditions, stronger than our last event in Leucate, France. We all try to secure our heats with easy tricks first but when we go for the main ones with power, you start to stress out if you crash and things become a lot more hectic from there on. The single elimination is definitely the most important part of the competition. If you do well you will have less of a battle to get back up in the ranking as the double is a fight in every heat against someone who is as hungry as you are!”
Today was the chance for all the riders that lost in the singles to climb back up the rankings. The PKRA decided to run the competition until the 4th place position where Marc Jacobs is sitting in the men’s division, and Joanna Litwin in the women’s.
Judge Julian Hosp said that he never saw this many close results, as most of the heats were 3 to 2 decisions. The first two heats of the day were no different: Thomas Paris beating Michael Schitzofer and the veteran of the tour Mike Blomvall beating the youngest, Liam Whaley. Liam said he was happy to be finishing in 13th position with big names such as Onieva, Wesch and Schitzhofer who are all ready to battle it out once again in the next PKRA World Tour stop in Germany.
Christopher Tack had a very good day and is proving to be one of the new generation’s riders to look out for. Chris had to verse the two Dominican riders today, first beating Alex Soto in a 4-1 decision. Youri Zoon (current leader of the event) watched from the beach and reckoned that he saw a lot more power in Tack’s moves and therefore wasn’t surprised to see him advance into the next round to meet Ariel Corniel. Chris however was disappointed to have crashed a lot of his tricks, “I’m always nervous going into a heat, whoever the rider is, I try to focus on my tricks rather than the rider, otherwise I would be stressing out too much against those at the top.”
Judge Ian Sleuyter saw some amazing crashes, especially in the heat between Corniel and Tack, the Dominican was bouncing on the water after a front mobe and Christopher had a pretty gnarly smash on a Blind Judge 3. Ian also described Mario Rodwald as being on form today, he was the only rider landing a front mobe to blind and a double S-bend to blind. Mario had an impressive come back taking him into 6th place beating Blomvall who happily takes 7th position.
The girls were not spared on the crashing front as Fernandez crashed a huge down loop front roll and the rest of the girls struggled in the high winds.
Asia Litwin confirmed her 4th place with a Blind Judge over a railey to Blind against Wicktoria who made her debut on the PKRA tour at this event.
Ariel Corniel has been training in Sotavento for a month as he now lives on the island with his wife. He showed a comfortable riding style in these extreme conditions, landing most of the tricks in the book as well as a few mega loops. Meeting with him after his heat he said he is pushing for mega loops with tricks at the same time. For now however he reckons that this is only a work in progress for most riders.
He came out to be the man of the day, climbing from 9th to 5th place. Ariel won all his heats with powerful tricks and impressive riding but head judge Sami Gali said that he couldn’t do anything against Marc Jacobs who had one of the most powerful and radical heats of the day. This leaves us with a very interesting heat tomorrow against Alex Pastor.
It turns out a lot of riders have achieved their best results of the year at this event: Paris is in 9th and confirms his recent win at the French championships, Blomvall and Tack came in 7th, Rodwald in 6th and Corniel in 5th place.
Tomorrow will never the less be the last and most exciting day of the competition as it’s the end of the double elimination of the Freestyle in both the men and women’s divisions. The event will start at 12pm. Gisela Pulido and Youri Zoon are sitting in first place waiting for the top 4 to climb up the ranking and meet them in the finals.
More information can be found on www.prokitetour.com
You can follow the competition live during competition hours at: http://live.prokitetour.com/?
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.