All the action from the first few days in Texel with the cream of the freestyle crop!
Words: WKL / Images: Svetlana Romantsova
The qualifiers kicked off on day one with some solid riders including Mexican rider Anthar Racca, Nicolas Delmas from France, Christian Tio from the Philippines or Linus Erdmann from Germany all vying for a place in the main event. The level was equally high on the ladies side with riders such as Spanish Rita Arnaus, Danish rider Therese Taabbel and local Dutch rider Vera Klabbers, all looking to secure their spot in the 2018 Elite League.
On day two the action got underway with an early skipper’s meeting called for Day 2 of the Qualifier League event and the intention of starting the competition as early as possible due to the light conditions that were forecasted.
The winds on the island of Texel continued to tease the riders and organisation throughout the day, with several moments where it looked like it was about to fill in. Several riders headed out to test the conditions, but it dropped again before there was a chance to commence competition. Finally at 6pm, the wind picked up and the Qualifier Event began, with Men’s heats 1 and 2 completed.
Men’s Heat 1 saw Russian rider Sergey Borisov get off to a strong start, landing every single trick throughout his heat and giving him the win. His experience and confidence was visible from the first moment. Young Mexican rider Anthar Racca came in second, landing three solid tricks including a nice double heart-attack. He will be joining Borisov in Round 3.
It was Tom Bridge from the UK who lead the way through Heat 2, landing a nice Back Mobe 5 and Front Blind Mobe, riding consistently well throughout his heat. He was delighted to be passing through to Round 3 directly. Rens Van Der Schoot from the Netherlands and Dominican rider Joselito del Rosario had a tight battle for second place, with Rens staking his claim right at the last moment, allowing him through to Round 3 together with Bridge.
The third and final day of the Qualifier League event started with a bang, as the heats kicked off at 8 am directly after the skipper’s meeting. This was the final day for the Qualifier League, so every moment of wind had to be used to its full potential.
Men’s Qualifier Heat 3 was first in sequence. Maxime Chabloz from Switzerland started his heat with strength and power, and managed to take the win, despite crashing his last two tricks. French rider Louka Pitot followed though behind him managing to land 4 of his 6 trick attempts with consistent scores.
Heat 4 went to Italian rider Gianmaria Coccoluto who showed his experience landing each of his 6 trick attempts including a nice Slim Chance 5. Young Colombian rider Juan Rodriguez will also join him in Round 3 after riding well and racking up some solid scores such as a 6.1 for his Heart Attack. Both riders passed directly to Round 3.
The inconsistent wind conditions caused some delays with Heat 5, as it was postponed after the first three trick attempts. The on-shore wind conditions made it difficult to perform tricks, with the riders landing very close to the shore. After a prolonged break, the wind speed increased late in the afternoon. This meant that Heat 5 could be completed finally with young Colombian rider Valentin Rodriguez dominating the heat landing some impressive well scored tricks, and Luis Alberto Cruz coming in second just behind him.
As the wind increased, so did the battle against time to complete the first round for the Men’s Qualifier League. Heat 6 was an impressive heat that saw Brazilian Romario de Sousa storm to the lead followed by Nino Liboni. The scores were very close, with Antoine Fermon and Jonas Ouahmid extremely close behind them.
Christian Tio from the Philippines had a rough start to Heat 7, but gradually picked himself up and landed several powerful tricks towards the end of the heat which included a double heart-attack, which gave him the win. Manoel Soares from Brasil had a strong heat, with tricks such as his front blind mobe that placed him in second.
Heat 8 brought the Men’s round one to a end. Nicolas Delmas controlled the heat, landing 5 out of his 6 attempts with good scores, and fellow frenchman Paul Serin managed to get some consistent scores giving him the second position.
Women’s Qualifier Round 1 was fully completed in the last hour of the day, with the girls in Heat 1 struggling to adapt to the wind and choppy water conditions. Rita Arnaus showed her experience over her competitors and finished first in her heat.
It was Vera Klabbers from the Netherlands who took the win in Heat 2, making it a great start to the event for this young Dutch rider who qualified for the Elite League earlier this year.
Fellow Dutch rider Isabeau Galiart rode consistently well in the tough conditions for Heat 3, and showed confidence and strong adaptability in the water, giving her the win over her competitors.
The final heat of the day went to French rider Maureen Castelle, who scored a 7.5 in the last minute for her impressive Hinterberger Mobe.
Day three was the last day for the Qualifier League Event, with the first round of both the Men and the Women now completed. Today the Elite League kicks off!
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