Whaley and Pulido Win the single elimination at the PKRA Hainan

 

After two days of waiting for the wind, the trade winds filled back in with a solid 20 knot breeze and the single elimination was completed. Liam Whaley won his first single elimination on his last move and Gisela Pulido is one win away from becoming the 2013 world champion and winner of the Hainan event in China. After a slow start to the day the wind filled in and the full single elimination was completed. The onshore winds were challenging but the top contenders advanced and the show was spectacular.

Whaley and Pulido Win the single elimination at the PKRA Hainan

Whaley and Pulido Win the single elimination at the PKRA Hainan

The final was between Christophe Tack and Liam Whaley, Christophe is coming off his win in Pingtan and was looking great throughout the whole final, but Liam Whaley landed a back mobe 5 in the dying seconds of the heat to secure the win. Both riders landed some great moves like perfect front blind mobes and s-mobes. On the womens side it was Gisela Pulido who dominated the final against Karolina Winkowska. Gisela landed a near perfect front blind and back mobe. Winkowska had many great moves but could not match Gisela’s amplitude.

With so many top riders present in Hainan it is hard to pick the best heat of the day but the Tack vs Hadlow was another classic heat. Tack was still on fire from Pingtan and seemed to be freeriding during his heat landing trick after trick. The two semifinals with Pastor and Jacobs were both very entertaining; with Marc Jacobs landing some huge mobes and Pastor sticking some great double handle passes.

Competition will resume tomorrow with the double elimination. If Gisela Pulido wins one of her finals against the challenger she will be the 2013 world Champion. Liam can win his first PKRA event with another win or maybe a challenger like Tack can come in and win bact to back events. If you want to see today’s results go to http://live.prokitetour.com/ to see detailed scores and results from today’s action.

China PKRA Final Day Hainan Island

Waking up to overcast skies and a slight breeze, the competitors here in Hainan Island prepared for the final day of competition, hoping to complete the double elimination heats and possibly even get some slalom in.

  China kiteboarding PKRA Final Day Hainan Island

China kiteboarding PKRA Final Day Hainan Island

Each competitor retained high expectations for this closing day in such an enchanting place; however, the wind gods turned out to have different plans.  Hanging around the event site checking emails, playing games, and socializing, the riders paid close attention to the official notice board and any sign of a greater breeze.

Lunch came and went with still no wind, and each time the wind was checked, it proved to be far below required levels.  The cutoff time for the day drew closer, and PKRA competitors eventually came to terms with the fact that there would be no action on this final day. As such, discussions shifted to the next and last event of the 2013 season, and how the results of this stop will affect the standing going into New Caledonia.

 

And while the lack of wind was disappointing, it did nothing to take away from what a stellar event this China stop has been. In speaking of the day, Race Director Erik Troostheide explained, “The wind in the morning showed promise but unfortunately contestable conditions never materialized so we had riders and staff on standby all day.  With the falling tide we had real hopes of being able to run the remaining heats. There is just so much on the line regarding overall rankings at this point and now it really comes down to the last event.”

Considering the double eliminations did not come to completion, each round that finished did count, therefore the top four results from the singles will hold. Now, the battles for top podium placements remain anyone’s game, and the point spread has possibly never been so close for both the men and the women.  Youri Zoon (NED), Alex Pastor (ESP), Alberto Rondina (ITA), Kevin Langeree (NED), Bruna Kajiya (BRA), Gisela Pulido (ESP), and Karolina Winkowska (POL) represent just a few of the many riders who will now head straight to the next stop with podium visions in the forefront of their competitive minds. The crowning of the 2012 World Champion is now just days away.

Womens Podium China

At the close of this event, one thing is certain – Hainan Island has proven to be an excellent location for such a larges scale event, and the place and people only contributed to the wonderful time that was had here by the top riders in the world and the entire PKRA organization. For the first time, PKRA slalom shined and surprised many – standing out as a challenging and fun discipline that will only grow with time. Many riders now look forward to returning to this place with great anticipation for both their freestyle and racing adventures.

Women's Slalom

 

Mens Slalom

China Freestyle Goes Huge on Day 3 Hainan Island

Living up to the full anticipation of a huge first day for the freestyle single eliminations, day three provided all the action packed excitement one could hope for and more. With the morning starting out at about 12-18 knots, riders pumped up their larger kites, with the hopes that they could go big and impress the discerning judge’s panel.

Some of the first heats saw the advancement of a number of PKRA veterans, such as Mario Rodwald (GER), Victor Hays (FRA), and Helena Brochocka (POL), while several riders from Kazakhstan later put forth their best efforts when up against heavy hitters like Kevin Langeree (NED) and Johnno Sholte (NED). A few local riders even went for the challenge of competing alongside Youri Zoon (NED) and Reno Romeu (BRA), but didn’t quite make the cut before the sound of the ending horn.

Kites China

Throughout the day, every heat provided incredible action that enthralled and excited the beach goers and spectators, who rarely see such large-scale kiteboarding events in their home country. Karolina Winkowska (POL) and Gisela Pulido (ESP) put on an impressive show, exhibiting just how talented this group of women competitors really are. In this tense and high performance heat, Winkowska managed to land a Slim Chance, Blind Judge 3, and KGB, earning 27.5 points, while Pulido’s Sbend 3 and Slim Chance, in addition to other tricks, left her short by 5 points.

The men took the opportunity to heat things up in the afternoon. With each competitor realizing that this would be their second to last single elimination round of the year, they threw down hard in their calculated maneuvers and complicated tricks.  Christophe Tack (BEL) did well in his heat against Zoon early on, as he stomped a nice Blind Judge 5; however, it was not quite enough to overtake Zoon’s trademark power and speed, which he best demonstrated with a Front Blind Mobe and Blind Judge 5.

Bruna Kajiya

As the end of the singles drew near, it became apparent that no competitor was about to give up without a fight. Winkowska and Bruna Kajiya (BRA) took part in one of the closest heats of the day as Kajiya landed a remarkable SBend 3 and an equally impressive KGB. Winkowska answered right back with many well executed tricks, such as a switch Sbend 3, scored at 7.17 points. In the last moments of this nail biting heat, Bruna lost the bar before she was able to ride away clean, just seconds before the buzzer sounded, which garnered much attention from the spectators in suspense.  The stand-out performance from Karolina, however, earned her the win for the women in the single eliminations, and Kajiya not far behind in second.

Karolina Winkowska

In the men’s final, and not surprisingly so – Alex Pastor (ESP) and Youri Zoon (NED) rode exceptionally well. With possibly the best wind conditions of the day, both men threw down with full power and speed. While Alex impressed with a big Double Sbend 3 and a highly technical Shifty 5, Zoon seemed to take more chances and pulled off an explosive KGB, Front Mobe, and Blind Judge 5. These tricks from Zoon, respectively, earned high scores of 8.7, 7.43, and 9.93. In the end, this gave Zoon the advantage in this final heat with 52.69 points against Alex’s 48.56.

And thus continues the high suspense action for this incredible Hainan Island PKRA tour stop, with major action, huge wins, and an end result that is yet to be decided – but will help determine the ultimate Freestyle World Champion of the 2012 season.

Zoon & Pastor

 

Kiteboarding In China PKRA Descends on Hainan Island

Arriving in China for the first time ever, the PKRA enjoyed a great welcome from the local organizers, fans, and community of Haikou, Hainan Island, China.  Registration got underway as usual, with 31 total competitors so far representing 16 different nations. This number is expected to increase, as more participants will arrive on the first day of competition.

Kiteboarding In China PKRA Descends on Hainan Island

Kiteboarding In China PKRA Descends on Hainan Island

On this day of anticipation and preparation, the wind averaged at around 18 knots with side onshore as the predominant direction. Competitors were able to get a feel for the conditions and put up 10 and 12-meter kites, with even greater sizes seen at the end of the afternoon.

With registration day also came the official welcome dinner, put on by the local Hainan Island government and attended by numerous government and city officials.  Welcoming the riders with great pride and excitement, the speakers communicated how great it is to have such a large-scale event here on Hainan Island, and how much they look forward to the action packed days to come.

Kiteboarding In China PKRA Descends on Hainan Island rider

Kiteboarding In China PKRA Descends on Hainan Island rider

Throughout the dinner, competitors were treated to local Hainan Island culinary specialties, as well as traditional music and entertainment. Thoroughly impressed with everything provided to them, PKRA competitors remained visibly fascinated, grateful, and appreciative of the many gifts the Chinese people extended to them. If this first day is any indication of the remaining week to come, the PKRA, its competitors, and fans as well, are in for an incredibly memorable and momentous event.

Over the next week, forecast models expect the wind to build, with contestable conditions a strong prediction.  As the second to last tour stop of the 2012 season, all the top riders remain ready and willing to do whatever it takes to earn top podium placements at this huge event. The tight point differences at the very top of the ladder also make this an exceptionally important stop for competitors including, Alex Pastor (ESP), Youri Zoon (NED), Bruna Kajiya (BRA), and Gisela Pulido (ESP), among others.

Keep in mind, most riders have never set foot on this coveted kiting spot, which will surely provide a challenge for all the competitors involved.  Going into the first day of competition, one thing is certain – this PKRA Hainan Island Tour Stop will go down in history as the first ever major kiteboarding event in China’s history, and the kiting feats witnessed in the South China sea will surely show the world just how long overdue this event really is.

For more information regarding the event, visit www.ProKiteTour.com and the PKRA Facebook page for daily updates.