Youri Zoon (NL) and Gisela Pulido (ES) earn the top podium spots in the freestyle single elimination on day four of the Pingtan Kiteboarding World Cup. The win by Pulido is a step toward keeping her in contention for the world title race against Karolina Winkowska (PL), currently ranked first. Zoon’s win today, his first since returning from injury, took him past men’s world title contenders Liam Whaley (ES) and Christophe Tack (BE). The results moving forward into the double elimination, will weight heavily in the outcomes of the race for the world titles.
The forecast delivered ideal freestyle conditions today with winds averaging over 20 knots and riders using 6m-10m kites. The falling tide offered flat-water sections between kicker sets that made for dynamic and challenging conditions as the wind increased throughout the afternoon.
Finishing the full women’s ladder before starting the men’s, the top women made the best of the difficult conditions on their small kites. “It was hard out there today,” claimed Winkowska. Her performance against Pulido wasn’t enough as she fell to the current world champion in her final heat. Pulido seemed to find her groove on the water today, “I just tried to enjoy myself and to have no pressure at all. I can’t be third, so I have nothing to lose, I’m second anyway” she explained. “Of course I didn’t ride as well as I would have liked to, but considering the conditions and how strong the wind was, I still rode quite well, so I’m really happy.”
The men’s ladder saw no easy heats as heavy matches took place straight out of the gate. With ample opportunities for big kicker hits on the reach out and flat-water sections between the sets on the way in, multiple flat spins and double pass tricks were the flavors of the day. Zoon was on fire and seemed to have his doubles dialed, “I had a new tactic, I just tried to throw as many doubles as possible and go as big as I could” he admitted.
“I’m sitting in the back so I don’t really have a lot of pressure, but of course I want to win to prove it to myself. The race now is between Christophe and Liam. We’ll see who can handle the pressure most and can come up again in the final.”
With the Hainan, China stop following the event here in Pingtan being the last event of the tour season, the battles for the world titles come down to these last two events, and quite possibly, down to tomorrow’s double elimination. The most interesting heats of the day won’t necessarily be the final, but the heats between Tack and Whaley and Winkowska and Pulido.
The 2014 Title race scenarios are now as follows:
-If Whaley wins at Pingtan and Hainan then he is World Champion regardless of Tack’s results.
-If Tack wins at Pingtan or Hainan, then he is World Champion regardless of Whaley’s results.
-If Pulido wins in Pingtan and Hainan then she is World Champion regardless of Winkowska’s results
-If Winkowska wins Pingtan or Hainan, then she is World Champion regardless of Pulido’s results.
These critical heats will be looming over the tomorrow’s double elimination. The forecast is for strong winds to continue with two days remaining in the contest holding period.
Tomorrow, riders will meet at 10 am with a first possible start at 10:30 am. The event will not be live streamed due to restrictions on live broadcasts by the Chinese government, however heats will be uploaded to the PKRA Youtube account at the end of each day. Stay posted to the PKRA Facebook and Twitter feeds for all the latest results and news from the event.
Pingtan Kiteboarding World Cup Men’s Single Elimination Results:
1st – Youri Zoon (NL)
2nd – Christophe Tack (BE)
3rd – Liam Whaley (ES)
4th – Alex Neto (BR)
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