Freestyle action from day two of the 2016 El Gouna Kiteboarding Grand Slam
An early start once again saw riders in the water at 7am, with the forecast dropping around midday this was the best possible chance to complete a full Freestyle draw.
Luckily the Forecast was right and riders had a great a great three hours of solid wind on the water. Conditions were almost as good as it gets at the Element Watersports spot with a steady twenty knots and a small wind chop through the event area.
The day started slow with a single man heat with only Tonijuan on the water. Martinez suffered an ankle injury the day previous and couldn’t compete. We wish Martinez all the best and hopefully see him on the water again soon!
The slow start wasn’t a sign of things to come though as competition in both the Men’s and Women’s Draw was fierce! Round 4 was the losers round and the last chance for all the riders to land themselves a place in the final rounds.
Both Tonijuan and Neto joined Val Garat and Cloetens advancing through to round five.
In the Women’s draw it was both Taabbel and Novotna both showing a more consistent heat taking out Soloveykina and Whitely respectively.
Round five for most is the most important round of the competition, a loss (last in the heat) in round five will see you exiting the competition.
In the Women’s draw whether you come first or second in round five will now land you in the winners or losers final respectively. Whilst in the Men’s round five only the first place getter will progress to the finals. It’s a cut-throat draw and it was clear that all riders knew this well.
Both Men and Women’s round five draws saw what could be regarded as the most competitive heats of the event. Unsurprisingly though it was the top seeds in every heat of both Men’s and Women Round Five that came through on top. Experience is a big part of competition and todays results only showed us how a composed approach to a stacked heat can give a rider the result needed.
In the Women’s Draw it was to be a classic Winkowska vs Kayija final whilst Van Westerop and Taabbel would battle it out for third and fourth places. Van Westerop showed that her new kites weren’t holding her back riding a consistent heat over Taabbel including a nice a BS313 and Frontmobe which secured her a deserved 3rd position. Taabbel went out hard but couldn’t stick her biggest tricks. Taabbel is only new on tour but she’s no doubt got a great future ahead of her, congratulations on a deserved 4th place finish!
The final with Winkowska vs Kayija was as to be expected, both ladies came out going huge! Kayija landing a big Backside 313 to start with Winkowska going even bigger but crashing out hard. From Early on it looked as though Kayija may have the upper hand, landing more tricks and showing us a power that we hadn’t seen often after her knee injury. It was Winkowskas big clean Backmobe that was the turning point of the heat though, slowly reeling Kayija back in afterwards. Kayija was going for it hard attempting massive Frontmobes but coming up short with each attempt, at one point catching a massive edge which may have rattled her a little bit. Both girls finished strong with lovely Front to Blinds and Back to Blinds but it would be Winkowska narrowly edging out Kayija this time and taking the win. Kayija placed a deserved second, had she landed her Front mobe the outcome may well have changed. Surely this wont be the first time we see these two meet this season.
The Men’s Semi Finals were a heat full of World Champions, with Hadlow vs Zoon and Pastor vs Mario. Hadlow and Pastor both didn’t have their best heats in the Semis with both riders going big but not riding away clean enough to place the high scores they needed. In this scenario it could have been anyone’s day but both Mario and Zoon kept the pressure on their opponents and landing tricks such as 317s and Frontmobe 720s. These tricks require a high technical ability and were no doubt what Mario and Zoon needed to seal their spots in the final.
The losers final was a formidable match up, both Pastor and Hadlow have beat each other on numerous occasions and it was clear it would come down to the wire as to who would take the third place. Both riders were going big and both riders were crashing hard. Both riders attempting Frontmobe 720s but not quite pulling them off. In the end it was be Pastors huge BS317 and a big Double Heart Attack that would seal him a third place finish and push Hadlow into the fourth spot.
The Men’s Final was a spectacle to behold with young vs old. Two riders with a similar style and almost the same equipment choice fighting it out for the first place rank for the year. Zoon came out all guns blazing as he had for the last three heats, he posted up what was considered as the biggest Backmobe 540 of the competition and a huge clean 317 to put some pressure on the young Brazilian Mario. Mario look shook, he got off to a slow start but by the middle of the heat it was clear he had sorted out any wobbles. Mario answered back with a big 317 of his own and a huge Backside 317 to get himself back in the game, at this point he no doubt had his confidence back and sealed the deal with a super clean KGB 540 and a butt-checked Frontmobe 720.
With Mario taking out the event and Zoon in second place, surely this wont be the last time we see this matchup this season as it appears Zoon is back on form with his new equipment choice.
Competition will resume towards the end of the week with the Big Air disciplines, with a good forecast for Saturday 22 perfectly in time for the prizegiving ceremony in the evening at Element Watersports.
In the meantime, make sure you tune into the Livestream site and our Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram feeds for all the latest highlights and heat by heat results.
1. Carlos Mario (BRA, Slingshot)
2. Youri Zoone (NED, Slingshot)
3. Alex Pastor (ESP, Airush)
1. Karolina Winkowska (POL, Slingshot)
2. Bruna Kayija (BRA, Airush)
3. Annabel van Westerop (ARU)
For full results and heat-by-heat tricks and scores please see the complete freestyle elimination ladder at http://www.f-ridescoremobile.com/temp/f-ladder-ika-freestyle.html
Livestream and Coverage – www.worldkiteleague.com