Earth Shattering Singles Action in Noumea Day 4

With the anticipation levels at the highest they have been all year, competitors braced for this day with high hopes and huge expectations. Everything is riding on this last PKRA tour stop in Noumea, New Caledonia, and all eyes are focused on the world title and the top podium placements. As the sun came up in the morning to illuminate the green and turquoise blue grandeur of this island, the wind also crept in as the hours passed, leaving no question as to whether the single eliminations would finally begin. In fact, by 8am, kites were already in the air, signaling the start of good things to come.

After completing the trials in the morning, the main event kicked off close to noon, allowing for a full day of competition. In the first round, favored competitors such as Mario Rodwald (GER), Tom Herbert (FRA), and Johnno Scholte (NED) advanced, while local riders Sebastian Nguyen (FRA) and Michael Dinclaux (FRA) moved forward as well.  Things started to heat up in round two, with a close heat between PKRA regulars Christophe Tack (BEL) and Rodwald. Putting on an amazing show for the crowded beach, Kevin Langeree (NED) and local rider Tom Hebert (FRA) threw down some incredible maneuvers, with Langeree stomping a high scoring KGB and Blind Judge 5, while Hebert’s well-received Slim and KGB didn’t quite make high enough scores to advance. Langeree’s next round; however, turned out not to be as successful, as he lost to powerhouse Marc Jacobs (NZE), who demonstrated his trademark strong riding skills and abilities.

Pastor & Winkowska

Moving on into the afternoon, a close quarterfinal heat between Stefan Speissberger (AUT) and Alberto Rondina (ITA) captured the attention of many, and ended in a 33.69-36.76 point spread, with Rondina in the advancing position with some solid Back Mobes and a nice Slim.

Christophe Tack later impressed again against world title contender Alex Pastor (ESP). In this highest scoring heat of the day, Tack landed a Blind Judge 7 (6.9) and a Slim 5 (7.25), while Pastor answered back with a Double S-bend 3 (7.63) and a Front blind mobe (7.1). Considering the lighter winds of the day, this was an incredibly impressive heat, which showcased two amazing performances. In the end; however, Pastor exhibited more advanced moves with a higher level of precision.

This kind of incredible riding kept the day going, as competitors seemed to become more amped as the hours passed. The women’s heat turned out to be just as exciting, with the best ladies in the world going at it for the ultimate prize. Karolina Winkowska (POL) shined in her heat against Bruna Kajiya (BRA), and advanced with her consistency and impressive tricks. While it was a close heat, and Kajiya rode strong, the winner at the end of this battle was clear – Karolina landed an impressive Blind Judge 3 and Slim Chance, while Bruna executed a nice Shifty 5 and KGB, among others.  Gisela Pulido (ESP) also advanced in the semifinal round with a wide variety of tricks against Helena Brochocka (POL), leading up to the final heats for the women.

Pulido

Once the finals were on deck, all eyes turned to the competition. While the beach was buzzing with all sorts of activity, no one could deny the intensity at the water’s edge.

Bruna Kajiya and Brockocka battled first, with Bruna sealing a win fairly early in the heat. For the men, Jacobs and Rondina went head to head in lighter, yet contestable winds. Jacobs came out strong as soon as the buzzer sounded with a Back Mobe and S3. Rondina also put forth some amazing maneuvers, sticking a Front Blind Mobe and Slim. In the end, Jacobs came out victorious and thus stands in third place going into the double eliminations.

Day 4 eventually culminated in the final heats. The sun cast each rider as a silhouette on the water and the starting buzzer seemed to sound with more intensity than ever before. Winkowska and Pulido went strong and big in the flat-water conditions. Winkowska managed a S3 Switch (6.57) and a Shifty 5 (7.2). Pulido, on the other hand, rode very strong; however, her trick scores simply did not match those of Karolina’s. She threw down a S3 (5.77) and a nice Front Blind Mobe (6.5), but that just wasn’t enough. Karolina came out of this heat as the winner of the single eliminations, and in best positioning to win the world title in the double eliminations.

Youri Zoon

The men’s final between Pastor and Zoon provided the huge action that can always be expected from two such powerful players. With Pastor on a slightly bigger kite, the two rode neck and neck for some time. Pastor opened up with a KGB, a Slim, and a Front Blind Mobe, while Youri executed a Blind Judge 3, a KGB, and Back Mobe straight out of the gate. Obviously a very high scoring heat, these two men rode with all their might, knowing full well what the results would mean. By the time the ending buzzer sounded, no one was clear on who the definitive winner actually was. After the official point tally, Pastor earned a well-fought victory with 42.54 points to Zoon’s 38.79. Now Pastor stands strong in his first place position going into the doubles on the last day of competition.

From here on out, anything can happen. The 2012 world title is ripe for the taking and the top competitors here want it more than anything. The forecast for tomorrow promises stronger wind, which will make for an ideal final day of competition. This day will go down in kiteboarding history as one of the closest battles ever fought, leaving no room for error or weakness in these pristine conditions.

For this last and final day of the 2012 PKRA season at the REEF Kitesurf Pro, tune into the action LIVE atwww.live.prokitetour.com.

Womens Singles

 

Mens Singles

Noumea Day 2 in PKRA Paradise Epic Battles Await

Competitors woke up to another beautiful and clear day in paradise here in Noumea, with a slight breeze and the possible promise of contestable winds. Showing up prepared and ready for anything, the event site quickly filled up for the first skippers meetings, at which time they were left to wait until conditions improved.

While several riders were able to make a few tacks, this just wasn’t enough to warrant the beginning of the trials for this final PKRA stop. As a result, most of the day was spent SUPing, relaxing, and chilling by the pool – all the while, keeping the coming on-water battles in mind.

Rowdy New Cal

For the women, this event puts everything on the line in the battle for the title.  Prior to the last event in China, the battle for 1st and 2nd was between Gisela Pulido (ESP) and Bruna Kajiya (BRA). But now, coming off a win in Fuerteventura and last week in China, Karolina Winkowska (POL) stands out as a serious contender for the title. Essentially, the placing that each women earns here at this last event will provide their placing in the world rankings.

For the men, first and second place is between Youri Zoon (NED) and Alex Pastor (ESP). Tied coming into the last event, they were even in the rankings.  Now, after a win by Youri in China, he has the advantage coming into this event.  With a solid point spread between the 1st and 2nd ranking and 3rd and 4th ranking, the battle for first is only between these two fierce competitors. Whoever wins here in New Cal will reign supreme as the 2012 World Champion.

Similarly, the battle between 3rd and 4th is very close, with Alberto Rondina (ITA) retaining a slight lead over the 4th ranked 2009 World Champion Kevin Langeree (NED). Kevin demonstrated that he is still a force on his first season back after being injured. Rondina, on the other hand, has been continually climbing up the rankings year after year to be a familiar face in the top five. Ultimately for Kevin to oust Alberto from his 3rd place ranking, he needs to beat him by at least two places.

Meeting

An exciting twist in the battle between first and second and third and fourth is the fact that we have a top-level rider competing here that was not present on the tour all year.  Tom Herbert (FRA) will compete in his first event after taking a break from the tour.  Tom likely has the ability to disrupt some of these title battles if he turns out a really good heat, which is sure to make for some interesting action.

For tomorrow, the forecast looks to be improving and the wind is shifting to the more normal direction; however it is still not expected to be classic, strong New Caledonia conditions until possibly Saturday and Sunday.  Once the battles begin, fans and followers can tune into the live stream at www.live.prokitetour.com, or follow updates on the PKRA website and Facebook page.

Live stream

Tack & Brochocka

PKRA Arrives in Noumea New Caledonia

Shortly after a successful stop in Haikou, Hainan Island, China, the best riders from all over the world arrived today for the REEF Kitesurf Pro here in Noumea, New Caledonia. With the welcome sight of lush palms, white sand beaches, and a generally exotic feel, competitors welcomed this familiar tour stop with expectations of an amazing week ahead.

While many riders did arrive as planned and on time, others were unlucky enough to miss connecting flights throughout parts of Asia, and the difficulties of traveling as a professional athlete with loads of excess baggage proved itself a hurdle for many to overcome on the way here. As a result, a number of riders were delayed in their attempts to reach their destination; however, this will only create an extended period for registration, and will not affect any other portion of the scheduled competition.

Those that did arrive to Noumea on time did so with a bit of jetlag and plane exhaustion, yet the site of luxurious accommodations, warm tropical air, and a chill island vibe did much to inspire renewed energy and good moods. Located in the South Pacific, New Caledonia stands as an overseas territory of France, which is located between Fiji and Australia in the Coral Sea. As the fourth consecutive year the PKRA has returned to this location, many riders consider it their favorite spot, where strong winds and ideal conditions always make for an incredible competition.

PKRA Arrives in Noumea New Caledonia

PKRA Arrives in Noumea New Caledonia

This year in New Caledonia will prove to be especially outstanding, as the 2012 World Champion will be decided here in just a matter of days, and the race for the top has never been so close. The top men and women remain in hot pursuit of the world title, and it is up to this event to provide a winner.

For tomorrow, the forecast looks light with some expected rain showers; however, the conditions look to be strong later in the week and into the weekend. Emotions are running high and tensions are even higher in this final stop of the year, as every competitor and PKRA fan begs the question – who will be champion in 2012?