Dakhla Morocco PKRA 2013 Closing ceremony

The end of the event was marked with the closing ceremony and the distribution of the trophies and prize money.  The Wali of Dakhla and his colleagues came to see the closing ceremony and showed their support for the riders and the sport.  With six days of wind and waves, 25c degrees, sun, 75 riders from over 21 countries coming to Dakhla, Morocco and finishing  a full freestyle event and wave event.  We can say that this event was a great success. Alex pastor and Karolina Winkowska won the first freestyle event of the year and Jalou and Kevin Langeree won the first wave event.

“It is great to win the first event of the year and really motivates me for the rest of the season”-Alex Pastor

The organizers, locals, press, Dakhla Attitude and sponsors really made this event one to remember.  They provided great hospitality and welcomed everyone to their home spot.  The closing ceremony was done at Dakhla Attitude with all the riders and officials.

The skill level of the riders really improved over the winter. It was very obvious from the first heats that everyone had been training.  The girls have increased their repertoire of tricks and are much more consistent.  The newcomers Van Westerop and Paula Novotna really improved and could over the season start to compete for a spot on the podium. The top women are Karolina, Gisela and Bruna just keep pushing the sport with bigger moves and more power. They are all three battling for another world title having each already won one.

“Really happy to win the first event, I was not sure what to expect from the other girls.  I knew that everyone trained over the winter and hoped I was up to the level”-K

“I am happy with the good start of the season, yeah happy like a hippo”-Marc Jacobs

The men’s division is still dominated by Youri and Pastor but Marc Jacobs showed that he can also get to the podium.  The young riders like Jaspan, Whaley, Blanc, Hutter and many more are the next generation of champions. They clearly showed that by the end of the season some of them will be in the top 10 if not top 5.

“Ranking wise I am not too happy, but I am happy with my gear and the high scores of tricks and heats”-Youri Zoon

We would like to thank all the riders for coming and competing in the freestyle and wave event. This event that features freestyle and waves is a great way to showcase kitesurfing to the world and Morocco is a great place to do it.  Also thank you to our event sponsors for making this possible and being great hosts.

PKRA Morocco Start of the freestyle main event

The second day of the PKRA Dakhla, Morocco started this morning with heat number 11 of the men.  The winds were slightly offshore and a bit gusty but the race director decided to start the competition. The first three heats of the day were crucial due to the fact that the winner would go straight into the main event.  The first upset of the day was in heat 11 when Nico Suriel from the Dominican Republic defeated Michael Schitzhofer to go into the main event.  In heat number 12 and 13 Liam Whaley and Sam Light both secured a place into the main event.


After the first round of men, 13 men were qualified for the main event and 26 competitors remained for the ultimate three spots.  After around two was completed, 12 men remained for the last three spots and three heats had to be run to pick the top three riders.  Heat 20 was between Soussi, Hays, S. Garat and Guias.  Sebastian Garat’s experience proved to be too much for the other riders consistently landing powered tricks and switch tricks.  Garat was stoked to qualify for the main event after recovering from a serious shoulder injury.  Heat 21 was between Barker, Corniel, Boulte and Schitzhofer.  All four men are seasoned veterans of competitions and anyone could have won this heat; however Ariel Corniel’s explosive riding and 317 got him into the main event.  The final heat of the trials was dominated by Mario Rodwald, whose down loop slim and technical riding got him into the main event.


After a short lunch break at Dakhla Attitude we started the main event in perfect 20 knot side shore conditions.  With all the riders training over the winter, each rider became a contender to win his heat.  The first heat was between Liam Whaley and Set Teixeira, Liam’s training was obvious from the start being able to land solid blind judges and 313’s. Teixeira was late getting to the heat but was able to quickly gain ground but in the end Liam took the win.  Another exciting heat in round one was in between Alvaro Onieva and Eudazio da Silva. Onieva being a season competitor took a more conservative approach but da Silva came out throwing 317’s and blind judge 5’s.  In the end da Silva’s technical tricks proved too much for Onieva even with all his experience.

Heat number six was between Mario Rodwald from Germany and Sam Light from the UK.  Both riders came up through the qualifiers and were stoked to be in the main event.  Sam Light went for some very technical moves like the Crow-Mobe but Mario was going for broke on every move, he put on a great display of power and took the win.

The first heat of the second round was between the eighth-seeded Christophe tack and Liam Whaley. Christophe tack set the pace with his first move landing a powerful slim 5, Liam landed a perfect 360 back mobe but it was not enough to defeat Christophe.  The next heat was between Ewan Jaspan and Alberto Rondina.  Alberto started the heat with a perfect back mobe, but Jaspan battle back with a great grab KGB an excellent S mobe and upset the number three rider in the world.  The first heat between Alex Pastor and Eudazio da Silva was very close. At the end of the heats the judges missed a trick from Alex Pastor and the heat had to be rerun to make sure that we have a fair result. When the heat was started again both riders came out strong but the number two in the world had too much experience for the young Brazilian, landing a great front blind mobe and a 317.  Da Silva landed a blind judge seven but it was not enough, we can be sure he will be a threat in the double elimination.

In heat 13 Marc Jacobs had a grab KGB and a grab back mobe and a few more big moves to defeat Borisov.  The following heat was with Mario Rodwald and Kevin Langeree who came out on fire. Every move he sent was big and powered, this is what he had to say about that heat and is training: “I did a bunch of training this winter but I wasn’t super focused on learning new tricks, I went with a super mellow approach to the first event of the year and that strategy seemed to work pretty well. I’m also pretty stoked on my KGB were I scored a 7.8 which was my high score.” Kevin Langeree.  Mario had already done four heats and ran out of steam, but put on a great show for the crowd.

The last two heats of the day were run as the sun was setting, the first heat between Reno Romeu and Sebastian Garat was very close, both riders had very similar tricks but in the end it was Reno who put an end to Garat’s streak.  The final heat of the day was with the world champion Youri Zoon against Louis Hutter from France who had just performed a beautiful heat against Patrick Blanc.  Youri was riding extremely well and on his way to victory but in the final minutes of the heat he crashed into Hutters kite and was disqualified.  Youri he was not happy with the decision, but he knows he has to focus on the doubles to win this event.

Tomorrow the women will take to the water first, we asked to Gisela Pulido as she prepared for the season and how she feels about tomorrow. “I was training in South Africa all winter, I was able to train in different conditions.  Then I went to Orlando to train on the cable park. I feel really well prepared for the season and ready to start the year. “Gisela Pulido

The forecast looks great for the rest the week, we should be switching over to her wave kites are discipline Friday morning.  Check out the live feed on www.prokitetour.com and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates.

PKRA Start of the 2013 Season and Trials

The 2013 PKRA season officially started this morning with the opening ceremony in Dakhla, Morocco.  The ceremony was opened with the presence of the wali of Dakhla and all the riders.  The 4th edition of the Dahkla PKRA is going to be one of the best ones yet with 47 men freestylers, 11 women freestylers, 18 men and 6 women in the wave event.

The registration started early this morning with over 75 men and women from 21 countries coming to compete in the lagoons and waves of Dakhla.  Everyone has had four month to train to learn new tricks and hone in their skills to prepare for this first event.  All the top men and women are here to claim the first title of the 2013 season and take home a piece of the 47,000$ in prize money.

This event marks the return of the wave competitions on the PKRA with many of the top wave riders here to compete.  Pedro Henrique, Nuno Figueiredo, Abel Lago, Kevin Langeree, Jalou Langeree, Kirsty Jones, Kari Schibevaag, Ines Correira and many more. With competitors of this caliber on the perfect right hand break of Dakhla, the action is going to be top tier.


The wind picked up late afternoon and the first 10 heats of the trials were run.  The ladder was set up with a first round of 13 heats, all the heats were very important due to the fact that the winner would advance directly into the main event and the others would have to battle for the last 3 spots.  We saw spectacular action right from the start, with Borisov having a solid heat advancing into the main event.

PKRA new Caledonia Trials Commence & Suspense Builds Day 3

On day three, the Noumea region experienced a distinct weather transition, allowing the beginning of trials to commence. While this only lasted for a brief period, it looks to be the start of good things to come, with strong wind expected soon.

While the day began as what seemed to be another lay day, the breeze picked up around 2pm, at which time, riders started to prepare for the first trial heats of the REEF Kitesurf Pro. Beginning officially at 3:45, competitors put up their 10-15meter kites and entered the water.

Beach New Cal

The wind made appearance; however, only long enough to carry out the first four trial heats.  Seasoned PKRA competitors such as Ewan Jaspan (AUS), Victor Hays (FRA), Michael Schitzhoffer (AUT), and Mario Rodwald (GER), advanced with ease into the main event with first place finishes, while local riders, Michael Dinclaux, Terai Orava, Quentin Valesa, and Sebastian Nguyen advanced as well. Now, two heats left in the first round will leave six riders to fight for the remaining 3 spots open for the main event.

With the forecast now improving, the focus is clearly shifting to the 2012 world titles, and at this high level of competition, it remains incredibly difficult to say just who will have the advantage.

Ewan JaspanThe contenders for the men’s title will need to leverage the strengths of their individual riding styles to impress the judges in order to score higher. Alex Pastor (ESP) will need to execute his best tricks, combining power and variety with grabs – exemplifying the textbook execution that he is known for.  Youri  Zoon (NED), on the other hand, will need to leverage his big, aggressive riding style and raw power to put himself ahead of his competitors.

The women’s contenders are no different, as Bruna Kajiya’s (BRA) strong execution of technical tricks will need to differentiate her from her competitor Gisela Pulido (ESP), who’s consistent repertoire of tricks will need to be executed superior to those of her competitors. Karolina Winkowska (POL) too, will need to maintain her consistency that she demonstrated in the last two events by landing her solid variety of powered wakestyle moves, if she wants to earn top placement.

Tom Hebert

Each rider has his/her own unique riding style, and in the top 5, this couldn’t be more evident than in the battle for 3rd place between Alberto Rondina (ITA) and Kevin Langeree (NED). Alberto’s style showcases his polished versatility with many switch tricks and toe-side moves such as his Moby Dick 5.  Kevin’s go big style and trademark one-handed tricks are what really set him apart from his competitors. PKRA judging criteria is the same for everyone and is decided by the riders throughout each tour season.  It is ultimately up to the rider’s execution and interpretation of the tricks to set them apart in the eyes of the judges.

As in any event, the conditions may favor certain competitors. The perfect flat-water conditions present at the event site will give those riders who have been training during the mid-season break in flat-water spots a definite advantage.  Also, with the somewhat unpredictable wind forecast, it is basically a guessing game as to who will be better suited or accustomed to the wind conditions in the heat – thus kite size will remain an important factor.

When asked about strategy, Bruna revealed, “I think that you have to go into a competition believing that you are going to win, it is the right mindset. My way all the way to the semi finals is pretty mellow, but once I get to the semi-finals with Karolina and then Gisela, I just have to go, no holding back, and just go for it”.

As is apparent, this final competition is just as much about physical abilities and talent as it is a mental game of preparation and confidence. With the ultimate prize on the line – the World Championship title, there is no telling what surprises the next days will bring.  The biggest event of the year is now on deck, and it’s anyone’s game.

Over the next several days, keep in tune with the event as it happens at www.live.prokiteour.com via the live stream, and stay updated through the PKRA homepage and Facebook/Twitter channels.

 

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?

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 PKRA The Doubles Commence on Day 5

After a day of no action, every competitor and local kiting fan hoped with a great deal of optimism that this day 5 would bring strong winds and mind-blowing battles. While this wish was granted only partially, it proved to be an exciting yet brief day of competition, which was marked by several canceled heats and lighter winds throughout. Blowing side onshore from the left in the early morning, a direction that the event has not yet experienced, the first possible start was delayed due to lack of sufficient wind.  With an anticipated strong afternoon blow, it became a waiting game into the afternoon, and riders as well as spectators remained ready to wait it out for the ultimate reward. The weekend crowd kept everyone’s spirits up, and competitors braced mentally for possible action. Ewan Jaspan Lunch then came and went with still very little wind present, yet just before the race director was about to call the day, the wind began to increase as an onslaught of clouds approached. In 12-14 knots of wind, the doubles kicked off around 3pm; however, this heat was abandoned half way through due to light winds. Early on, top riders such as Mario Rodwald (GER) and Reno Romeu (BRA) advanced, while Ewan Jaspan (AUS) and Johnno Scholte (NED) took part in a very close heat, with Scholte throwing a nice Front Mobe and Back Mobe and Jaspan completing an impressive Back Mobe and KGB – which won the heat. Rodwald also went on to battle against Ariel Corniel (DR) in one of the closest heats of the day.  It was this heat that ended with a win by Corniel in a 34.85 to 33.81 spread.  This was a controversial heat, as it was claimed that the downwind mark  was not marked clearly enough; however, the official notice board and PA announcement reaffirmed the judge’s call to mark Rodwald’s Sbend to Blind ‘outside the box’. Victor Hays Michael Schitzhoffer (AUT) and Christophe Tack (BEL) also rode very well considering the lighter conditions, as did Stefan Speissberger (AUT) in his heat against Jaspan. Undoubtedly the most impressive heat turned out to be the battle between Marc Jacobs (NZE) and Corniel. In this highest scoring heat of the day, Jacobs came straight out of the gate on fire. With amazingly aggressive power and his kite low, he stomped a Slim Chance, KGB, and a high scoring Late Back Mobe. Corniel, meanwhile, completed a well-received Front Blind Mobe among other big tricks, riding fast and showing his high level of skill. Jacobs earned the win in this heat, and commented later saying, “I got lucky to beat Reno in my first heat because the wind was really light and he’s a really good light wind rider.  In my heat against Corniel luckily it was cancelled at first and when it was rerun, the wind picked up a bit and I was able to show a bit more power.” Stefan Speissberger The day ended with heat #42, which featured Speissberger and Tack. Both of these riders have had an amazing year and demonstrated incredible progression. In this particular heat, Tack won out with a nice Back Mobe 5 and Front Blind Mobe, while Speissberger followed close behind with a Back Mobe and Slim Chance, among others. The sheer number of tricks completed by Tack earned him the victory, closing out the day with much excitement and enthusiasm. Notably, the only women’s heat took place between Helena Brochocka (POL) and Clementine Bonzom (FRA), wherein Brochocka advanced. For tomorrow, the forecast is not incredibly favorable; however, time and again such forecasts here in Hainan Island have been proved wrong – therefore, the competitors will prepare for this final day with high hopes in completing the double eliminations. Mario Rodwald

China Kiteboard PKRA Lay Day today

The fourth day of the Hainan Island PKRA world tour stop brought an unexpected bout of no wind, which surprised riders who arrived early to the beach, ready to begin the double eliminations. The forecast for this day looked promising, and as such, all competitors remained amped and excited to continue the action – some looking to hold onto their positions and others ready to redeem themselves.

China Kiteboard PKRA Lay Day today beach

China Kiteboard PKRA Lay Day today beach

The hot and humid day, however, had different plans. Passing the time with Sudoku games, social media, and lounge time in the rider’s area of the event site, competitors hoped with every calm breeze that passed, that better conditions were moments away. In the afternoon, the wind did begin to pick up, and riders acted quickly to pump up their kites in preparation.

pkra riders

Unfortunately they realized their wishful thinking did not materialize, and the wind began to die just as suddenly as it had picked up. The race director, Erik Troostheide, remained hopeful and set up hourly announcements until 2:30, at which time the day was called with an unfavorable forecast for the remainder of the afternoon.

In loo of competition, riders spent their free time soaking in the hotel pools and exploring the city, which many find quite captivating. A few riders even traveled to a nearby temple, enjoying the many cultural wonders of the region. The judges also took advantage of this break in competition to deliberate over the rules for the 2013 season.

judges pkra

Reflecting on this day without competition, Manuela Jungo (SVE) commented that she wished the riders could have at least done some slalom races, as it was a really great way to spend a light wind day.

For tomorrow, the forecast is expected to be good in the morning for the beginning of the double eliminations. Keeping their finger’s crossed, the riders will spend the night in anticipation, hoping to continue the hard fought battle into this second round.

China kiteboarding PKRA Slalom Shines in Haikou

Starting out with a glassy, windless morning, the conditions soon began to improve on this second day of the Hainan Island PKRA tour stop, as the afternoon neared. While still light, the conditions turned out to be suitable for the first racing competitions of the event in 12-15 knots of wind. Sending up their 12-18 meter kites, riders welcomed the idea of a new racing format – slalom, and as such, some of the best freestyle riders took part, as they could ride without gear restrictions as normally seen in course racing.

As the competitors entered the water, it was clear that this would be a very interesting set of races. Riders like Bruna Kajiya (BRA) and Kevin Langeree (NED) happily lined up at the start, and prepared to take part in serious battles to the finish. From the beginning, it became clear that those who had the best start gained the biggest advantage. Competitors started on a port tack between a buoy and a boat – going out about 300 meters – and then around another buoy to complete another 300 meters. They then continued onto the finish line alongside the beach, and in front of the many spectators, coming in incredibly fast as they bared off the wind. In total, the course’s length measured approximately 1 kilometer.

Racing in China

In recounting the exciting moments of the race, Bruna Kajiya commented, “ Slalom is actually more fun than (course) racing! I really enjoy it and it is really exciting to watch, especially if you are racing with your friends and it is really tight and close. I think it was pretty cool!”

Gisela Pulido also chimed in, saying, “It was so much fun! It was really nice because we were really close together at the buoys and passing each other. It is so much different than freestyle. In freestyle you are always worried about crashing tricks and choosing the right kite size.  In Slalom you just go for it and try to get a good start, go really fast and not crash and keep your speed at the buoys and the fist one to cross the finish line is the winner.”

Local China

After many close heats, it became apparent who shined on the race course, Kevin Langeree excelled at the starts and Victor Hays (FRA) made an impressive mark when he passed Christophe Tack (BEL) in the last seconds of one race, which qualified Hays for the final. Pulido also did well for the women, beating out her normally close competitors, Karolina Winkowska (POL) and Bruna Kajiya. And while the local Chinese riders didn’t quite make it into the finals, it was apparent that they have much experience riding in such conditions, and did very well against the top PKRA riders.

Kevin Langeree

After such an incredible day, all the riders are very much looking forward to the continuation the event and the beginning of freestyle heats. Everyone came away from today’s experience with a new level of excitement, with smiles and laughter the most noticeable feature across every competitor’s face.

Day three looks like it will be a full one as well, with conditions expected to improve.  The single elimination will likely begin, and a first possible start of 11am looks hopeful.  For more information and updates on the event, check out www.ProKiteTour.com or the PKRA Facebook page.