The final day of competition for the 2014 PKRA Barra Grande Kiteboarding Grand Slam in Brazil got underway mid-day with the first heats having the pick of conditions. Flatter water and lighter wind found the men riding 11 meter kites while the women rode one size smaller on 9m’s.
The women’s competition was fierce as all riders fought to better their positions. The Brazilian Vieira did well advancing two heats only to fall a little short of Novotna. Novotna also didn’t make it much further, however, losing the next heat to Lammerts. Lammerts fought hard against Kajiya but sadly her kite deflated in a large crash leaving her far from shore, with little chance of winning the heat. Kajiya looked to be riding strong and continued that way against Winkowska, narrowly defeating her with a slightly better execution on a few key tricks.
This resulted in a final between Kajiya and Pulido, something we haven’t seen this year on the PKRA tour. Kajiya didn’t have a great start to the final and it didn’t get any better, crashing pretty hard on a few tricks. Pulido also had an average heat in the final, not riding as well as she did in the singles, but doing enough to take the victory. With another win behind her, Pulido’s world title hopes are kept alive. She will now have to win the next two events in China if she wishes to take it home.
The men’s competition was exciting to say the least. Locals were hungry for the win with two local Brazilians, Teixera and Mario, in the running. Both had amazing days respectively riding strong and advancing a considerable amount of heats. Teixera advanced 4 heats only to come up against a fresher Mario who had advanced two heats only two heats previously. The heat between Teixera and Mario was an exciting one with both friends giving it their all. As one threw a massive trick, the other would reply with his own. Both riders kite together almost everyday, and it was obvious they knew what they had to do to take the win. The heat was super close, but in the end, Mario narrowly advanced through to face Tonijuan, and shortly after, countryman Alex Neto. It was only after four competitive heats that Mario’s winning streak was brought to an end by Youri Zoon. Zoon brought his A game to the plate and showed everyone he’s still got what it takes to win a world title. Zoon produced nice Backside and Frontside 317’s and finished it off with an impressive Slim Chance 720.
The final round was a Zoon vs Whaley affair, with both riders going out big. Whaley appeared a little nervous, not landing the tricks he typically might, and Zoon on the other hand, looked like a man on a mission finishing strong in a heat that resembled his previous one against Mario. Eventually, Zoon took the win and forced Whaley into a Super Final.
The air was thick as both riders looked nervous in the final moments. Neither rider had an exceptional heat but it was Whaley who held it together enough to confirm his single elimination win. Whaley was crowned the Barra Grande Kiteboarding Champion, thus keeping his chance of taking the world title alive. He, too, will need to win the next two events.
Trick (and possibly heat) of the final day in Brazil should be noted. Felix Martinez produced an amazing heat against Carlos Mario landing the first ever Hinterberger into a Frontside 720 every done in PKRA history. If Martinez had only landed his 13th trick (Slim Chance 720) instead as his 12th trick he undoubtably would have taken the heat.
With both world titles still on the line, the next two PKRA stops in Pingtan and Hainan, China, will be critical make-or-break events for top competitors. For more results from Barra Grande or details on upcoming events in Asia, visit the PKRA website at www.prokitetour.com