The fourth day at the Fuerteventura World Cup offered up a myriad of exciting heats and nail-biting action as the top competitors of this competition so far battled it out on the water for the ultimate title of world champion.
With lighter wind, measuring 22-30 knots at the start of the day, the location provided different challenges for riders who had been battling with huge gusts and strong winds in the days prior.
Beginning with the women’s heat featuring Gisela Pulido (ESP) and Annabel Van Westerop (ARU), Pulido pulled out a nice Blind Judge 3 right away, scoring 5.17.
Racking up the points quickly, Pulido obviously had her head in the game, eventually beating out Van Westerop, who did manage to throw a nice Blind Judge 3, among other tricks.
Next up came the match-up between the two strong competitors, Kevin Langeree (NED) and Marc Jacobs (NZ). Kevin started off with an advantage, scoring a 7.02 S3, while Jacobs pulled in some high scores as well with a 7.77 Late Back Mobe.
From then on, it was a battle of the biggest, as each rider went huge and fast. Langeree pulled in high scores for his Front Mobe and Back Mobe, but eventually lost out to the slightly higher scores that Jacobs was able to achieve at the end of the heat, such as from his Slim and Front Mobe.
With only a few heats left, the men and women continued to exchange turns back and forth, allowing the winner of each previous heat to take a quick break before the next on-water battle.
The wind dropped considerably in the next heat between Pulido and her adversary from the singles, Wiktoria Rosinka (POL), which Pulido won. Jacobs then went head to head with Alberto Rondina (ITA) in Rondina’s first heat of the day. In lighter, yet suitable wind, both riders put up their 9-meters in 20 to 27 knot winds. From the start, this was a very close heat.
Jacobs put the highest scores on the board first with a Late Back Mobe and Blind Judge 3, while Rondina came into his high scores at the end with a 6.0 Back Mobe and 5.80 Shifty 5. In the end, Rondina simply executed more tricks with better scoring, which lead to his advancement in this heat.
The familiar female adversaries, Bruna Kajiya and Gisela Pulido also competed in an intense heat. Kajiya however, seemed to go into her tricks a bit faster and with more power, and eventually executed more tricks then Pulido with a KGB, 313, and Blind Judge 3. In the following heat, Bruna continued to advance against Asia Litwin (POL).
Many could tell that Kajiya was giving it her all, and her riding certainly reflected her determination and focus as she kept her kite low throughout her tricks and rode very powered. Rondina, on the other hand, did not continue once he was matched up with Pastor. In fact, Pastor put together one of his most solid heats so far, which included a 7.33 Slim.
His early lead turned into a sizeable point spread by the end to take the win and continue on against Youri Zoon (NED).
In time, the women’s final commenced with a concentrated Karolina Winkowska (POL) and the already warmed up Kajiya. Both competitors rode extremely well, and this turned out to be the highest scoring women’s heat of the entire event.
Bruna opened up with a solid S1, while Karolina also hit a nice S1 (switch) and Blind Judge 3. Karolina in particular seemed to excel in the conditions at hand, and eventually, this won her the heat and the championship title. She proved consistent, strong, and powerful in her riding, putting forth her best moves with amazing execution.
For her, this was her very first, first place podium win, and very much deserved considering her amazing heats throughout the event. In accepting her awards and congratulations, Winkowska revealed, “I fought with all my mind and strength to win this heat. Fuerteventura is such a great place, always with blue water and lots of wind, so I am really so happy to have won this event.”
Finally, in the most anticipated heats of the day, Youri Zoon and Alex Pastor fought for the first place title with everything they had. Pastor, having just finished one of the best heats so far was likely amped with adrenaline, yet the single elimination winner, Zoon, needed only to win the first final to win the championship.
In this first final, Pastor threw down the biggest score of the entire competition, with a Slim 7, which scored a huge 8.57. And while Youri answered back with many amazing tricks, such as a powered 313, Alex kept his kite low and appeared more comfortable riding in the conditions at hand. Thus, Pastor won this final with the highest score of the day (48.1), prompting the super final where the winner would take all.
This last heat was incredibly close and lacked absolutely nothing in amazement or incredulity. Massive tricks were thrown one after the other from each competitor, and it became quite clear that neither rider was ready to give up any time soon. Alex’s best trick proved to be a Double S1, while Youri’s highest score came from a Late Back Mobe.
In the final moments, Pastor edged into the lead and stayed there until the ending horn sounded. Speaking later of his win, Pastor gushed excitement, saying “I didn’t expect to beat Youri the second time around, but he is a great competitor and I had to just try my hardest. This is my first time winning in Fuerteventura and I am really happy. I can’t describe how good I feel.”
The two winners and the second and third podium placers ended their day on stage inside the giant event tent with huge applause and big congratulations. Looking elated over their wins and also relieved to have finished competing in such challenging conditions, the competitors recognized once again the amazing event that has brought them all to this place, year after year – never failing to provide a great time.
After the awards ceremony for the freestyle, the PKRA Airstyle single eliminations commenced with top riders such as Kevin Langeree, Reno Romeu, and Sebastian Garat (FRA) taking part in this fun, yet challenging discipline. Nils Wesch (GER) achieved the biggest reaction from the beach with his huge handle pass that landed in a crash, while Tack completed the most well-received double handle pass. Eventually, Garat and Pulido won the single eliminations, putting them in prime placement for tomorrow’s doubles.
Tomorrow, double eliminations of the PKRA Airstyle competition will bring the Fuerteventura World Cup to a close after an eventful and action-packed five days here in the Canary Islands.