The eighth day of the Think Blue Kitesurf World Cup saw big winds and bigger tricks as the world’s best kiteboarders did battle in stormy North Sea conditions in front of thousands of spectators who braved the volatile weather for a front row seat at the action. Completing the full single elimination ladder, it was former world champions, Aaron Hadlow (GB) and Karolina Winkowska (PL) taking the top podium spots in their respective categories.
Earning his first win since his return to the PKRA World Tour, Hadlow was elated, commenting on his win “I was watching the forecast the days before and I was kind of waiting for this moment all week. I could feel that this was my chance and knowing that it was going to be stormy, I was pretty up to the challenge. I’m use to these conditions from back home in England so I was pretty keen to give it a go.” Hadlow was quick to acknowledge that he hasn’t won yet. “I’m really happy to take first in the singles, but I’m not going to celebrate yet. It’s not a done deal. I could still come second in the doubles and my goal is to finish first.”
Hadlow dominated the day with the highest scoring heat of the day against Christophe Tack (BE) scoring 38.05 points. Riding well was Reno Romeu (BR) who seemed to have carried momentum from his podium finish at the last tour stop in Spain into this event, finally succumbing to Tack in the loser’s finals. In the winner’s finals, Mark Jacobs (NZ) demonstrated exceptional power with his trademark style, but Hadlow was too technical matching Jacobs with full power, earning the win. The highest scoring trick of the day was a massive Indy FS7 that scored 8.61 from Ozzy Smith (SA) that sent the crowd into an uproar, as many just looked on in disbelief.
The girl’s heats were equally as exciting, and the top four girls were riding strong in the challenging conditions that bordered on extreme at times throughout the day. Heavy rains plagued the morning hours and early round action. Winds averaging 20-30 knots and gusting up to 40 knots at times, forced one heat to be abandoned, as a dangerous squall suddenly increased the wind, and pushed the water to the edge of the protective sand barriers constructed to protect the village from the encroaching tide.
When the competition resumed, the current became a significant factor for competitors and choosing the right size kite, became very important. Commenting on her heat against Annelous Lammerts (NL) “In my heat against Annelous, I took a six meter but I was really struggling to pop, so I had to switch up to a bigger kite. Its really strange here because the current is so quick; I think it’s faster than the wind actually blows! Winkowska said laughing.
Regarding her heat in the finals against current world champion Gisela Pulido (ES), “I had a good heat in the finals, but she rode well too. I did my tricks and I was happy that I did my Back Mobe and Front Blind that I didn’t do in Fuerte. I had other good tricks too and I was actually happy so I was thinking like, at least I had a good heat, so if I win, that’s sweet, and if not, I still had a good session.”
Other impressive women’s heats saw up and coming Lammerts back in the top four for her third tour stop in a row, and Bruna Kajiya (BR) seems to be back on track after her injury landing her Back Mobe and S-bend to blind. Pulido is clearly hungry for the world title again this year and rode strong today landing a very impressive and powerful S-Mobe.
Tomorrow’s forecast is calling for the continuation of strong wind. The double elimination will start as soon as conditions allow. Riders will meet at 8 am with at first possible start at 8:30 am. Our friends in Germany can watch the live broadcast on our Ustream channel. Viewers from most other countries can watch on the live.prokitetour.com For updates on broadcast start times and announcements regarding the 2014 PKRA Think Blue Kitesurf World Cup, stay tuned in to the PKRA Facebook page and Twitter Feed.
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