North dominates the first KTE Stop in Almanarre France
Almanarre, the neighborhood of St. Tropez was the perfect start into an exciting season for the NKB team! Let´s get it on! 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 started 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 it 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. North Kiteboarding rider Stefan Spiessberger (Austria), who was unfortunately kicked-off in round 4 in the single elimination, fought his way back 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, NKB (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. Congratulations!
The final women’s heat took place between Sabrina Lutz, NKB (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 and North Kiteboarding 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 followed by Julien Kerneur, also from France. British race legend Steph Bridge, also NKB 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 close to each other in rotational positioning. Day three and four, brought a bout of very light, or better, no wind.
The course director adapted due to these light conditions. But unfortunately they realized their wishful thinking did not materialize. The wind didn’t pick up the last two last days. In a nutshell, ten races were sailed, with two discards in total. French rider Maxime Nocher (NKB) at first and Blazej Ozog, also NKB on third position. Congratulations!
The women´s fleet, was lead by Steph Bridge (UK). Steph crossed five times the finish line first and dominated the event. Like so many times before.
The end of the first MINI KTE event was marked with the closing ceremony and the distribution of the trophies and prize money. It could not have been a better way to start the season with a grateful 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.
Congratulations to all the participating North Kiteboarding riders!!
North Race Results are: North Freestyle Results are:
1st Steph Bridge 1st Sabrina Lutz
4th Arianne Imbert 3rd Nanette van der Snoek
1st Maxime Nocher 1st Mario Rodwald
3rd Blajez Ozog 3rd Stefan Spiessberger
4th Florian Gruber
5th Olly Bridge
Welcome to China! By Mario Rodwald
Since I am on the NKB international team I´ve spent quite some time in Asia, but never in China though. This massive country and it´s “communism” always brought some mystery to my imagination and it was really nice to get an insight. On some of the webpages Hainan Island was announced as the Hawaii of China, but it must be more the south of the island. Anyhow Chinese people are truly great at organising and tried to help as much as possible. It seems that in their culture the official meetings and dinners are very important, but can also turn out very funny as alcohol is a must have at these ceremonies!
The first day the wind did not quite kick in but was enough to show the Chinese crowd some of our tricks. All of them were pretty stoked on kiting as they invented the kite 2000 years ago. Furthermore they took hundreds of pictures, just as you would imagine. One day later the wind picked up even more and the race director Eric decided to run the Slalom Worldcup. It is the first time since many years that the PKRA is running this kind of downwind race again. Powered on 14 meter kites and locked into boots, racing against four of your mates/competitors is really really good fun! A head start can give you quite a lead, however in some of the races I could overtake one or two riders. Also the turns at the buoy can decide about winning or loosing the whole race. Most of the time I sent the kite for a downloop some meters before the turn, so you just make it around the buoy without loosing any speed. My start in the final was not that great, so I was fourth at the starting line. On the first downwind I could overtake Ewan (AUS) and Victor (FRA) and finished second behind Kevin (NED).
The Freestyle Single Elimination took place in nice 14 meter weather and some quite choppy water, with some small kicker waves near the beach. I was quite happy with my heat for these conditions, landing an F-Mobe blind, switch Slim, Double S-bend blind but unfortunately I lost quite close against Alberto Rondina for two points. My teammate Stefan Spießberger went one round further and also lost in another close heat against Alberto. After one day without wind and many hours in the hotel´s hot tub, the wind slowly started building up again on Saturday. It was quite rainy and a bit chilly in my shorty, but I wanted to make it at least into the price money and pushed Eric a bit, by some freeride sessions on the 14. Due to the light wind I had to re-run two of my first heats, but made it to the ninth place where my teammate Ariel Corniel kicked me out - in the end he got 7th. Reno and Stefan had some really decent heats as well and both finished 9th. Stefan’s heat against Christophe was a thrilling one as both are really close in the overall ranking. Unfortunately Stefan was really unlucky and broke his board on his Mobe5 and Christophe passed to the next round. The wind didn´t stay all the way through the double elimination and Youri could take this one home without going again. Right now everyone is pumping the kites for the trials in New Caledonia. Can´t wait to shred the blue water in paradise!
The year is coming to an end and again overall results show the domination of North Kiteboarding: Congratulations Mario, Steph, Stefan, Flo, Luke, Sabrina and Maxime!
Four days of spectacular competitions, light and strong wind conditions at the beach of Castelldefels came to a fabulous end, when the European Championship in Kiteboarding Freestyle as well as the winners of the MINI Kitesurf Tour Europe in Course Racing were crowned. 97 riders out of 19 nations participated in Spain.
The wind didn’t came up on the last day to run the double eliminations in Freestyle and to continue with Course Racings, but everyone enjoyed the friendly spanish atmosphere and the prize giving ceremony at the beach. The first day of the event had amazing conditions for Freestyle, with perfectly sunny weather and winds up to twenty knots. This allowed the riders to show how far the riding has come over the last decade. In the single eliminations, Mario Rodwald (GER, North) and Stefan Spiessberger (AUT, North) made their way to the final. Apure North Kiteboarding final of team mates! Rodwald travelled to Spain as the leader of the MINI KTE ranking and was unstoppable to get the title. In the final of the single eliminations, he won against Stefan. Place one and two for North Kiteboarding. Luke Whiteside made it to the excellent 3rd place overall.
In the women division, dutch freestyler Annelous Lammerts won the spanish stop against Therese Taabbel (DEN) with powerful and clean moves. German North Kiteboarding rider Sabrina Lutz gained third place on the podium after her heat against Kelly Schouten (NED).
After five events all the results are in: Rodwald and Lammerts are the winners of the final stop of the MINI Kitesurf Tour Europe in Castelldefels, Spain and were also crowned European Champions 2012. Stefan Spiessberger and Sabrina Lutz, obtained second places of the overall ranking 2012. Well done boys and girls!!
In Course Racings, Maxime Nocher (FRA, North Kiteboarding) crossed the finish line as a respectful third. With this result he managed to achieve the Second podium place in the tour overall ranking, followed by german olympic hope Florian Gruber (North Kiteboarding). Great racing boys! For professional North Kiteboarding team rider Steph Bridge (GBR), the 2012 season was successful again. In Brouwersdam, Netherlands, she became first overall and then dominated the KTE. France. Here in Spain, she left no doubt again about who is one of the fastest European female racers by winning all races and clearly dominating the women’s fleet.
Altogether again an amazing weekend for all North Kiteboarding athletes showing the world they are the ones to beat!
Well done team!