The 27th June was an exciting and productive day for the whole PKRA team in Praia de Alvor, Portimao as the Kite Masters World Tour 2009 hit its third day. After the morning drizzle that occurred on day 2 it was nice to see the sun out again, blaring down for most of the day without a clouded barrier. Wind speed was between 10 and 14 knots and remained onshore for much longer than everybody was expecting because it usually switches directions between 2:00 ? 3:00 pm.
The first race was underway by 1:00 pm under a constant south-westerly wind. By the second race, the wind picked up even more to a maximum of 14.5 knots. Lunch break was held at 3:00 pm after which Race director Olaf Van Tol saw the conditions were favourable for a freestyle event so the round robin continued from the previous day until the last 4 heats of the men's and the last 4 heats of the ladies remained.
Bruno Sroka (Cabrinha, FRA) once again dominated all three races giving him an impressive total of 4.2 points. Charles Deleau (North, FRA) remained in second place with 20 points followed by Sean Farley with 26 points. Abel Lago (Spain, RRD) dropped to forth overall while Jesse Richman dropped to tied fifth along side Renaud Madier (FRA) and Sylvan Hoceini (Optimum, FRA).
It wasn't a great day for some of the veterans though. Sean Farley (North, MEX) unfortunately was disqualified on the first race due to crossing the starting line early and Charles Deleau also had his share of mishaps when he had a tangle with another racer in the second race. However one man's loss is another man's gain and there were some new faces in the top 10 standings at the end of the day. Michael Gebhart (Ozone, USA) made a strong showing today in the first two races and looks to be one to watch for the future.
Over in the ladies division Steph Bridge (North, GBR) topped the scoreboard with a total of 4.2 points while European Course Racing champion Fabienne D'Ortoli (FRA) remained in second place with 15 points. Nayara Licariao (BRA) caps off the top 3, breathing down the neck of D'Ortoli with only a point in it.
At the Kite Masters Freestyle event Sebastien Garat (RRD, FRA) and Michael Schitzhofer (Naish, AUS) had 2 points each in Group 1 after day 3. In Group 2 Alberto Rondina (Cabrinha, ITA) and Kevin Langeree (Naish, NED) both had 2 points after defeating their respective opponents. Abel Lago and Jesse Richman (Cabrinha, USA) had 2 points each in Group 3 while Charles Deleau and Randy Hereman (NED) both got 2 points in Group 4.
In the ladies division, Karolina Winkoska (Naish, POL) and Steph Bridge qualified into the semifinal as well as Jalou Langeree (Naish, ED) and Pauline Bousard (FRA), who willl be battling each other in the second semifinal slot.
Day 4 saw partly cloudy skies and light winds prevaile during much of the day and a significantly larger crowd gathered to watch their favourite kiteboarders in action. Despite the clouds the day was warm, but the lighter wind conditions only made course racing possible as freestyle required more wind to power the kites and propel the riders in the air to do their manoeuvres.
After an initial restart of the 1:00 pm start time due to an abrupt wind depletion that made it quite impossible to launch the kites, 2:15 pm became the official start of the race on day 4. There was a slight variation of the race course which was straight up, straight down with additional buoys on the water so the riders were much closer to the shore to the delight of the spectators at the beach. A second race was quickly started as race #1 finished and the third race of the day was launched at 4:40 pm. A final race was in the pipeline but was cancelled due to poor wind conditions ? between 4 and 6 knots.
Sroka continued fine form by winning races 1 and 3 putting him top of the leader board. Charles Deleau remained second. Another French rider to make a name for himself with the help of his Eclipse kite was Renaud Madier. After winning race #2 Madier found himself in third place overall.
The women's standings saw no change as Steph Bridge (North, GBR) dominated all of today's races and increased her chance of bagging the first place podium position. Fabienne D'Ortoli (Naish, FRA) trailed in second followed by Nayara Licariao (Brazil) with a mere 2 points separating them.
Day 5's morning weather conditions turned out to be no surprise as clouds filled the sky with only a slight breeze. By midday however the sky had cleared and the temperature soared. Unfortunately the intense sun didn't mirror the wind conditions as there was barely even a breeze by then.
More bad news followed at the riders meeting when it was discovered that the engine of the boat being used for the event was stolen. With the wind seemingly uncooperative, plunging quickly to around 4 knots, Race Director Olaf Van Tol decided to cancel the day by an hour early. Instead of releasing the riders at 5:00 pm, the race director decided to call the day off by 4:00 pm to give everyone enough time to pack their gear before the awards ceremony at the beach.
It was no surprise then to hear that Bruno Sroka (North, FRA) won the men's racing event while Steph Bridge (North, GBR) won the women's. A huge shout out goes to them and all the other competitors who participated in the event.
International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) Executive Secretary Markus Schwendtner was at the event site as the official IKA representative. He mentioned about being unlucky with the wind on the final day and went on to say, 'I think everybody was amazed at what's possible in racing with the latest event that transpired here, from being able to go in low wind that gave us so many opportunities to go to any places in the world ? that was amazing.' Well said Markus!
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