The PKRA Tarifa Pro Kite Tour 2014 went large in its third day of competition with Ariel Corniel (DO) and current world champion Gisela Pulido (ES) taking home the top spots of the Big Air discipline. Non-stop kiteboarding action ran throughout the day.
Getting off to an early start, the men’s and women’s freestyle trials took advantage of the 20-25 knots of wind for the early part of the morning. Twenty-six men and twelve women competed for the coveted spots in the freestyle main event. For riders that participated in all three parts of the day’s competition, it was a demanding day, beginning with the freestyle qualifiers, the spectacular Big Air division, then finally the freestyle single elimination.
The Big Air discipline was a highlight of the day with strong winds gusting up to 35 knots. The timing of the jumps was very important, as there were some large holes on the inside of the competition area. Although luck did play a part at times, the riders that consistently went big, moved on to the next round. Massive jumps were had by all of the top finishers who combined variations on spins, kite-loops and board-offs for both the men’s and women’s divisions. Each high jump sent the crowds lining the beach into a roar, clearly pumping the competitors up with confidence to go even bigger on their next pass.
Local favorites Liam Whaley (ES) and Gisela Pulido (ES) made their home crew proud on their home turf with a solid second for Whaley and Pulido’s win. However, in the men’s division, it was Corniel taking first in the final with consistent big jumps, combined with inverted spins, and a risky double handle pass.
This is a big win for Corniel who rose to prominence in 2007 by winning the freestyle discipline in his home spot of Cabarete, Dominican Republic — a result he has been working to repeat ever since. “I feel really happy and content about my performance today competing against so many great riders and to win in the challenging conditions that we had in the finals” commented Corniel. “For me, the big air discipline is one of the most explosive aspects of the sport. Since it was the original discipline from which the sport developed, it is great to have it coming back now, especially here in Tarifa with such good conditions and strong winds” he added.
By 5:30 pm, the wind was still strong enough for powered freestyle conditions and the single elimination of the men’s freestyle main event got underway. In the end, only six heats were completed as the wind continued to drop, with riders struggling at times on their 12-13m kites. Soon after, the competition was called for a day with hopes that the Levante winds would hold for another early start the next day.
With six days of PKRA competition left in Tarifa, the freestyle discipline now shifts to center stage and will be the priority for the rest of the week. If strong wind conditions return after completing the freestyle double elimination, another round of Big Air competition will be run.
For on-going updates and information on the Tarifa Pro Kite Tour 2014, visit the PKRA website at www.prokitetour.com.