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!
Fuerteventura Kiteboarding PKRA Grand Slam 2012
Fuerteventura is known for its extremely windy but also gusty conditions. This year it has probably been the most extreme event ever. North Team Rider Reno Romeu was completely overpowered on his Vegas 6 (!!) the first days and all riders really had to have guts just to unhook, but then even do world class tricks. Still Reno managed to get a good 4th overall. Also Stefan Spiessberger showed his talent and collected some points for his overall ranking at the world tour.
After the completion of the single eliminations in the mentioned extreme and gusty conditions, it seemed appropriate that the first day of the doubles would provide calmer winds and a bit of relief for PKRA competitors. With plans to make it only part way through the doubles, the top finishers of the single eliminations were able to relax, reboot, and consider their strategy for the days ahead. Meanwhile, other riders stepped up to the plate, ready to climb their way up the ladder and provide the best results they could muster.
A pretty impressive end of the event was the big airstyle show. Again Reno showed his talent, this time as brilliant entertainer, unfortunately the conditions tricked him a bit and the judges didn't let him into the final round. Still the crowd loved him!
4th Place PKRA Germany 2012 !!!
Ohh Yeah... I made it again! If anyone would have told me at the beginning of the season, I woulnd't believe it!
I am competing for 3 years now and this is my first full season on the PKRA World Tour. This event was definately the most important and most exciting one since I'm kiteboarding. Finishing 3rd in the Single Elimination and ending up 4th after the Doubles felt like a little dream coming true.
It's hard to describe how i felt after making my way up to 3rd place in the Single Elimination! I was so unbelievable happy and couldn't really believe it at the same time. Winning over Christophe Tack in the second round and my teammate Mario Rodwald in the third round meant that I had a place in the Top 4 of the Singles.
The Semi Final against Youri Zoon didn't go so well. I was struggeling with the increasing wind conditions and didn't really perform good.
On the other side, current tour leader Alex Pastor from Spain lost against Kevin Langeree from the Netherlands and I knew it's not gonna be easy to get 3rd place. The wind was quite good for my 9m kite at that moment and probably more than thousand people where on the beach watching the finals.
I did one of my best heats during the whole competition and managed to win over Alex with a total score from 42.51 points!
The end of the Double Elimination was held on the last weekend, as a lot of spectators where showing up on the beach again. My heat wasn't a easy one. I knew that it would be most likely Alex Pastor coming up and fighting for a place on the podium.
I did my best and had a pretty good heat, but I wasn't really a 100% on top of my game this day and lost against Alex. In the end I took 4th place but I was more than happy with the result!
Flying back home to Austria with a 2nd place at KTE Sylt and a 4th place at the PKRA in St. Peter Ording was sick !