Strong winds blowing in the bay of Barra Do Cunhau, Brazil, welcomed the top ten best kiteboarders in the world for the end of the double eliminations. The Brazilian rider Carlos Madson (BRA, RRD) made an impressive comeback all the way to third place, winning four heats in a row and taking down some of the best riders in the world, one after another. In the women division Bruna Kajiya (BRA, Flexifoil) kept her first place followed by Joanna Litwin in second (POL, Nobile).
We started with two of the most anticipated heats of the day, local star Carlos Madson (BRA, RRD) against the best French rider on tour this year, Tom Hebert (FRA, North). As the wind got stronger, the riders were going with a lot of speed into their tricks and often “butt checked” their moves, meaning that they couldn’t pull off a clean landing and touched the water.
Christopher Tack (BEL, Liquid Force) explained that the judges took the wind conditions into consideration and rewarded these tricks anyway. The speed when going into the trick is one of the most important factors, therefore butt checking a trick is usually rewarded more than going for less power with the kite higher.
That said, Tom went for some big tricks but didn’t have the best heat and crashed a lot of his moves. This resulted in only five tricks counting for him versus more than a dozen for Madson, who went for technical difficulty and speed, thereby winning the heat.
Carlos Madson put up an incredible fight to get back to a podium finish. He managed to beat one after another of the best riders in the world. No mean feat considering this was his first international competition.
Alberto Rondina (ITA, Cabrinha), ranked third in the world, and one of the most consistent riders on tour, was his first challenge. Madson went for kite loop tricks combined with mobes. He had more amplitude and more power than Alberto, but also took more risks. The heat was close, as Alberto did a wide variety of maneuvers with his usual technicality, but overall the decision of the judges went to Madison for his powerful moves and cleaner landings.
Bruna Kajiya (BRA, Flexifoil), hosting the video of the day, interviewed Madson at the end of his heat. He said that he had injured his ankle in the last heat, but was very excited to win against some of the best riders in the world. He expressed hopes that he could compete at more PKRA tour stops in the future.
Sebastien Garat (FRA, RRD) was up next, battling for fourth place. Sebastien, having witnessed the previous heats, decided to go for a dangerous strategy: try power tricks only and risk everything to land a few of his best tricks. Unfortunately he didn’t land most of the maneuvers while Madson landed a wide variety of all the basic mobes cleanly.
Moving on to Marc Jacobs (NZL, Switch), fourth overall in the world, the bets were open. Marc has a reputation for being consistent in strong wind, but Madson (BRA, RRD), having just beat the third best rider in the world was not intimidated by his opponent. While Marc crashed a lot of tricks, Madson did twice as many tricks with clean landings, definitely going for variation. After the heat Marc said he saw a huge potential in Madson’s riding skills.
At this point Madson (BRA, RRD) was sitting in third place and feeling pretty confident, considering that this was his first PKRA event. Alex Pastor (ESP, Airush) went out for his first heat of the day, ready to defend his second place. Both riders kept an eye on the other during the heat, countering every move of his opponent with an equal or better trick. Considering how wide the repertoire of each rider is, the result was a non-stop trick spectacle for 7 minutes. Both riders showed off the same variety of tricks, so in the end the difference came down to the kite position. Pastor always went with the kite lower than Madson and landed one of his most powered front blind mobes and a NIS 5. Madson lost the heat on a 4-1 decision, but made an outstanding impression today by winning so many heats in a row and is definitely a rider to look out for in the near future.
In the girls division, the strong wind conditions made life hard, but the riders still managed to pull off a nice show. In battle for the third place, Clementine Bonzom (FRA, JN) managed to beat Sofia Lennartsson (SWE, Ozone) and went against one of the best rider of the PKRA, Joanna Litwin (POL, Nobile). Joanna easily won the heat by landing her usual 313, Blind Judge and slim chance. She did the exact same tricks in the finals against Bruna Kajiya (BRA, Flexifoil) who was on form and won by landing five of her best moves, including a back to blind air pass, 313, Blind Judge and switch Blind Judge, NIS and a S-bend pass.
Bruna commented: “I had a nice heat against Asia (Joanna Litwin) and I’m stoked to win here in Brazil, my home country. It’s nice to see all the people cheering me on from the beach. They were all stoked to see the Brazilians ripping at this event.”
Just before the finals Alex Pastor broke his board and had to borrow a new one. It wasn’t the best start to a final heat, but Alex was focused on getting his revenge and finally defeating Youri Zoon (NED, Slingshot) currently leading the tour.
We met with judge Rui Meira (POR) after the final to get the judge point of view and sum up the heat: “Youri had an insane KGB, super well executed with the kite very low. Then the second highlight was his kite loop 3. A move he landed clean with lots of height and power. Overall Youri had so much more speed and amplitude in all of his tricks than Alex that it was clear that Youri had dominated the heat.”
With a wide variety but less power in his moves, Alex Pastor looses on a 5-0 decision.
Offiicial Results of the double eliminations:
1. Youri Zoon (NED, Slingshot)
2. Alex Pastor (ESP, Airush)
3. Carlos Madson (BRA, RRD)
1. Bruna Kajiya (BRA, Flexifoil)
2. Asia Litwin (POL, Nobile)
3. Clementine Bonzom (FRA, JN)
This is event is organized by Dream Factory with the PKRA. The Kitesurf Wind Riders is sponsored by Volkswagen, co sponsored by the Kitesurf and Surf Association of Rio Grande de Norte (AKSRN), Viva Barra Association, the Ministry of Tourism, the State of Rio Grande do Norte, the secretary of Tourism of Rio Grande do Norte and Emprotur.