The fifth day of VKWC Youth Cup competition offered, by far, the best conditions for riders to show their most impressive tricks to the crowd and judges. The day started with another clinic where VKWC staff presented to the young athletes and explained the code of behavior professional athletes should follow as ambassadors of their sponsors and of their sport.
All winners from the single elimination managed to secure their first positions going into the double elimination rounds. Mexican Anthar Racca (U17), Brazilian Mikaili Rocha, Frenchman Oscar Pirreneau (U13) and British Tom Bridge (U15) all claimed the title of their respective categories.
Competition resumed at 12:30 p.m. with the double elimination rounds starting with the young Dominican Adeuri Corniel against USA’s Chase Hasch. Corniel was on point for the day in the U17 category, while at first he got off to a rocky start against Hasch on the first day of competition, he managed to climb up back the leader board in the doubles. Showcasing impressive skills, he dispatched Hasch, Lazare Gournay and then eliminated Louka Pitot to make his way to the finals. There he was be up against Anthar Racca who after winning his heats, was in full confidence mode.
The crowd watching from the beach, cheered at every trick that the two athletes threw at each other. Adeuri Corniel started the heat with his usual powerful Back Mobe, Front Blind Mobe, Heart Attack and KGB. As the clock ticked down on the heat, Corniel started to show signs of fatigue and could not land his Back Side 317 and 317. Meanwhile, Racca stayed composed and full of energy with every trick. He pulled off a perfectly executed Back Side 317 that gave him the win by 0.7 of a point.
“I am so happy I won my first championship here. I felt a little bit nervous before the final against Corniel because I saw him competing today. When I started my heat I crashed two tricks and got really stressed. Then I landed a Blind Judge 7 and relaxed a little bit”, explained Racca. “The wind was perfect today and I liked it. My plan now is to go to a windy place to train and get prepared for Germany’s trials and try to pass them in August.”
Adeuri Corniel said, “Thanks a lot to the VKWC crew for giving me the opportunity to grab this second place. Thanks to the clinics about competition strategy I learned a lot and now I know how to put my heat together. I will stick to it and train back home. I’m heading to Dominican Republic to study and hopefully I’ll manage to get my long term visa to go to the trials in Germany. My manager Jacobo is really helping me to get it so that I can travel and compete wherever I want”. He also said: “It was amazing today. I’m very happy with my second position, I would have loved to finish first but I was very tired and Anthar is very tough to beat. But it’s ok, we’ll see what happens next year”.
In the U15 category, Nino Liboni of France had a shining day and advanced from ninth position to fourth. The Frenchman performed well-constructed heats eliminating Jason Van Der Spuy of South Africa and local rider Alec Mur. His promising ascent was stopped by Frenchman Maxime Chabloz, who performed near flawlessly, but couldn’t beat the driven Christian Tio of the Philippines, and thus stayed with his third place standings.
The U15 final had last years winner, UK’s Tom Bridge, against fellow friend Christian Tio. Both riders had an excellent performances, but Bridge was untouchable. While Tio crashed a number of tricks and fell behind, Bridge achieved undeniable victory by nailing a perfect 10 with a powered and clean Backside 315.
“It feels really good to win this championship for the third time, it is the best year of my life! This is the main competition of the season but hopefully I will do the trials in Germany and pass them so I could participate in the next VKWC stops”, Bridge stated.
The girls put on a display of great action as well, with Spanish rider Claudia Leon eliminating Egypt’s Anna Hashem, Spain’s Nina Font and Anaïs Desjardin of France. Leon did a good job and rode cleverly but was finally stopped by Hanna Twarog. A rematch of yesterday’s final was held between Hanna Twarog and Mikaili Rocha. The young Brazilian started the heat smartly by mixing up her tricks in order to secure some solid scores before advancing to more difficult maneuvers. Twarog did her very best landing some impressive tricks, but she could not match Rocha’s building momentum. Consequently, Rocha took the title.
“It feels very cool because it’s the first time I got here and I didn’t really think I would be able to win. I am really happy”, said Rocha. “The whole family kite and she has been begging for a kite since she was probably 6 years-old. Every year I made her wait and finally, when she was about eight and a half, I said ok and I let her try. She just got it immediately”, continued her mother, Jodie Thompson.
In the U13 category, the young Spanish rider, Joan Mir, clawed his way up the leader board, driven by his winning ambition. Heat after heat, he methodically dispatched both Japan’s Hiro Karamon as well as fellow countrymen, Kiko Peiro. However, in the end, he was stopped by last year’s winner Karim Mahmoud of Egypt. The finals were set with Karim Mahmoud and Oscar Pirreneau battling for the first place podium finish. Mahmoud held his own and landed a variety of tricks until Pirreneau nailed three consecutive handle passes in the last seconds, allowing him to secure his first ever VKWC Youth Cup win.
“I am super stocked! I didn’t know if I had won or not because it took me a while to get into my heat. I have been a bit sick and had not much energy, but at the end it went well. The wind was really steady so it helped. I was a bit nervous at the beginning but also quite confident and I managed to focus better”, said Pirreneau.
VKWC Youth Cup Finals Video Highlights: