Welcome to Tarifa, home of the Levante and Poniente and the fifth Tour stop of the PKRA 2008 World Tour. Once again, the fifth stop of the PKRA 2008 World Tour kicks off at Valdevaqueros Beach in Tarifa, Spain for the third straight year.

Aptly dubbed the Telefonica Movistar Kite Pro 2008, the event’s major sponsor is none other than Telefonica Movistar, Nissan Sport Adventure and O’Neill Kiteboarding. The Tarifa event showcases some of the most thrilling kiteboarding competitions of the PKRA World Tour with high-flying moves and technical tricks as seen in the past two years.

A total of 32 men and 15 women from 17 different countries have registered for this five-day premium kiteboarding event which will run until the 6th of July. They will vie for a total of € 40,000.00 prize money and the PKRA Tarifa Freestyle crown currently held by PKRA world champion Aaron Hadlow for the men’s division who is still unbeaten in Tarifa. The women’s crown is held by PKRA women’s champ Gisela Pulido who is defending the title this year. EETV asked her how she feels competing in her home turf and this is what she has to say:

“For me it’s the best event because I am competing in my home turf – in Tarifa, and it’s really good because I have my friends watching the games. I train everyday here so I know the spot very well which makes me do well in the competition.”

When asked how she feels about the conditions, she said, “I like the Levante, strong winds up to 40 knots or more which is really good for competition. The Poniente is good as well because it’s not so gusty and you have small kickers and flat waters which is good for doing freestyle.”

Coming from a fresh win in Cabarete, Dominican Republic, EETV asked the young world champion about her expectations here in Tarifa. “I’m very motivated right now because I won in Cabarete and that gave me a lot of breathing room in terms of points in the rankings.”

Today marked the early start of the competition with the registration held during the morning at 9:00 am followed by the mandatory riders meeting with the actual event commencing in the afternoon. Fresh from the Cabarete events, the PKRA riders had an early taste of the Tarifa weather particularly the ladies who started the competition mainly because of fairly light wind conditions. All the women riders managed to compete fairly in the first round on their 10 – 12m kites with the Poniente wind fluctuating throughout the day before finally dropping down below competition standards late in the afternoon prompting race director Olaf Van Tol to call off the competition.

“We actually started the day without any wind but during the end of the morning and early afternoon, we had the winds but coming from all sorts of direction. About 3:00 pm the wind looked like it was going to stabilize but started to drop off again so we waited a bit more. It came up about 45 minutes later but we officially started around 3:20 pm and we ended the day at 6:00 pm with the wind dropping as early as 5:40 pm,” says race director Olaf Van Tol.

Tarifa has two prevailing winds, the easterly known as the “Levante” and the westerly known as the Poniente. These two prevailing wind conditions are caused by the narrow sea-level passage known as the Strait of Gibraltar which acts as a funnel intensifying the wind from the central Mediterranean Sea and also by the difference in the temperature between the Mediterranean and Atlantic Ocean. The stronger Levante blows all year-long and comes from inland which makes it warmer and does not form waves while the Poniente blows from the Atlantic Ocean mostly in winter which makes it cooler, creating flat water in between waves – great for kickers.

Highlights of Day 1

There were a total of four heats completed before the wind finally called it quits later in the afternoon. Polish rider Wiktoria Boszko (North) started off the first heat knocking off 3rd ranked Susi Mai (Cabrinha, Germany) with a kiteloop, raley to blind, blind judge and raley to wrapped against Mai’s raley to blind and kiteloop. United Kingdom’s Jo Wilson (Naish) was defeated by another Polish kiteboarder Joanna Litwin (Nobile) in the same heat. Wilson had a shocker after her huge heat opening raley to blind. While Litwin also had troubles landing her moves, she stomped a blind judge in the middle which was enough to give her the edge over Wilson.

Coming from a 3rd place finish in Cabarete, Bruna Kajiya (Best Kiteboarding, Brazil) opened up her Tarifa heat with some powered moves and style, landing a huge blind judge, blind judge with aerial handle pass, s-bend to blind and raley to wrapped, beating Maria Nunez (Best, Spain) who managed a back to toeside surface pass and s-bend to blind.

Opening up with a raley and then into a huge slim and blind judge, Karolina Winkowska (Naish, Poland) put Johara Sykes-Davies (Flexifoil, UK) in the back foot. The UK female kiteboarder did well with a raley to blind and downloop to blind but lacked the technicality of the air pass which cost her the win in heat #3. In the same heat, Spain’s Angela Peral (North) out-styled and out-powered Lindberg with a raley to blind and downloop to blind taking the win.

The final heat of the day was an upset win for local kiteboarder Leticia Quesada (Ozone), knocking out PKRA world number 6 Jalou Langeree (Naish, Netherlands) in the dying winds. Landing a kiteloop, back to blind, and raley to blind, Quesada battered Langeree’s lower tech and low-powered krypt to surface pass and kite loop.

Source: PKRA