The scene was set on day four in Scheveningen, Holland, as beachgoers and racers arrived early to find out what was in store for the day. With light offshore winds, competitors were forced to wait until 10:45 for the second race of the O’Neill Kiteboard World Cup and the first race of the day. At this time, winds measured 14 knots on the water.
A little difficult to get off the beach, racers were better able to ride once they reached closer to the starting line. The race then began with a tight start, the best race competitors in the world all vying for ideal positioning. Riccardo Leccese admittedly suffered a rough start, but luckily pushed hard on his downwind stretch, propelling himself towards the front. Bryan Lake also had trouble with a crash early on with Rolf Van Der Vlugt – one that he later contested (results still pending).
In this second race, it became very apparent where certain racers exceled in strategy versus speed. Also battling incredibly strong current and unpredictable light wind, front-runners Bryan Lake, Julien Kerneur, and Adam Koch fought hard to gain a lead. Difficult in rounding the buoys caused riders to alter their riding tactics, and at times, lose ground in the overall race. With most racers on their biggest kites, it was clear that every rider needed to take advantage of the best of their abilities in order to achieve top placement.
The first racer to cross the finish line, Riccardo Leccese, came off the water with a smile, while the previous winner of the first race, Adam Koch, experienced a much more disappointing race, as his kite went down and he struggled to get back in the running. Rolf Van Der Vlugt proceeded to complete the course second, followed by Julien Kerneur and Olivier Dansin. For the women, Nuria Goma proudly finished first, achieving her best placement so for this year with the PKRA. Jessica Sickinger earned second place shortly thereafter, followed by Katja Roose in third. Roose found herself in trouble near the end of the race when she came too close to the beach and was forced to fight inside the waves.
The second race got under way in much better conditions with 12-17 knots of wind, allowing competitors to rig down to 12 and 13-meter kites for this stronger side shore blow. Eventually the horn sounded under dark clouds and seemingly stormier conditions. Bryan Lake took an early lead, taking long reaches for better positioning on the upwind stretch. Oswald Smith missed his mark in the beginning, which set him back; however he stayed strong, earning an eventual seventh place. As it turned out, this was a very quick race, with the faster racing speeds accelerating finishing times. Redeeming himself on this day, Koch in pulled into second, just past Rolf Van Der Vlugt who earned third (who was later disqualified) and Leccese who finished fourth. Katja Roose also did better in this race in 1st place, with Nuria Goma coming in second.
Moving onto the third race of the day and the fourth official race of the O’Neill Kiteboard World Cup, Lake, Leccese, and Dansin battled close in the beginning with Julien Kerneur and Adam Koch engaging in a tight stretch as well. The wind turned out to be fairly lighter than the previous race, making it challenging for every competitor involved. As in all races, the angle of attack proved to be everything, allowing racers to edge up in placement and get ahead. In the final moments of this race, Lake and Van Der Vlugt went head to head – Lake eventually achieving a well-earned first place, with Van Der Vlugt in second and Dansin in third. Katja Roose also took another win in her home spot.
The wind forecast for Day 5 of the O’Neill Kiteboard World Cup looks hopeful, with possible conditions measuring 15 knots from the SSW direction.
(Please note that the results posted below are provisional, as one protest is still pending.)