Hyères/ Alamanarre, June 3rd – With the two first days of wind, sun, 95 riders from over 14 countries coming to the South of France – Almanarre Kitemasters finished with a full freestyle event and 8 counted course races. The tour starts with 46 racers – 39 men and 7 women – as well as 49 freestylers – 37 men and 12 women. The first edition of the European tour stop on the Côte d’Azur, was a great event with a parallel execution of the two disciplines.
The first day brought strong 30-35 knots. The action was intense right from the beginning and we started early in the morning with both competitions. Freestylers were riding with 7 meters kites and after to get used to the conditions, the spectators could seen some awesome tricks. Riders like Stefan Spiessberger (Austria), who was kicked-off in round 4 in the single elimination, went straight through the doubles and won unstoppable six heats until the quarter final, when he was beaten by Liam Whaley (Spain).
The final in the doubles, featured Mario Rodwald (Germany) against Whaley. Both of these riders have had an amazing start and demonstrated great progression over the wintertime. That heat was full of power, variety and action for the beach crowd. With a great powerful double S-Bend Pass and a Low Mobe 5, Mario got it and won the first European tour stop. The final women’s heat took place between Sabrina Lutz (Germany) and title-holder 2012 Annelous Lammerts (Netherlands), when Sabrina crashed her kite and Annelous advanced. A super women final was announced and finally the first women tour stop title goes to Germany as well – Sabrina Lutz (NKB).
Focusing on course racing, the first two competition days were quite eventful. Racers entered the water early, hungry for days full of racing action. With regard to the rough sea, the course provided tactical challenges that made not only spectacular for racing, but excellent spectating as well.
On day one, French rider Maxime Nocher (NKB) won three of four races following by Julien Kerneur, also from France. British race women Steph Bridge from UK, holds first place positioning, while Dutch rider Katja Roose followed her on second place. The riders were always quite close and handled out arresting battles. The second day was a smoother running. Some kites moved in perfect synchronization alongside one another. With the fleet on bigger kites, Maxime Nocher, Julien Kerneur, Blazej Ozog and Florian Gruber were riding closed to each other in rotational positioning. Day three and four, brought a bout of very light, or better, no wind.
The course director, Markus Schwendtner, adapted due to these light conditions. But unfortunately they realized their wishful thinking did not materialize. The wind didn’t picked up on these two last days.
In a nutshell, ten races were sailed, with two discards in total. French riders Maxime Nocher and Julien Kerneur, managed to achieved top placements, with Maxime on first, Julien on second and Blazej Ozog on third position.
The women fleet, was leading by Steph Bridge (UK). Steph crossed fifth time the finish line first, followed by Katja Roose (NED). Aga Grzymska (POL) earned a third placement.
The end of the first MINI KTE event was marked with the closing ceremony and the distribution of the trophies and prize money. We could not have a better way to start the season with a greatful event and tough conditions in the beginning.
The next stop of the season is on the German island Sylt. The rough Northern Sea and strong winds will be a perfect spot for the 2nd stop of the year, from 2nd July to 7th July.
Go to www.kitesurftour.eu to see the latest contest news and schedule information.