PWA Windsurfing & PKRA Kiteboarding World Cup

For windsurfers and kiteboarders, Fuerteventura is the Hawaii of Europe. As well as white sand beaches, blue skies and summer temperatures, the island also has all the wind a windsurfer or kiteboarder could wish for.

The wind-powered acrobats fly distances of up to 70 metres, reaching heights of up to 15 metres. From 17th July to 1st August 2009, windsurfing and kiteboarding world championship events will be held on Fuerteventura.

The windsurfing programme includes slalom and freestyle disciplines. The kiteboarders will compete in the freestyle discipline and there also will be a kiteloop competition.

Slalom is the Formula 1 of windsurfing. The event consists of a high-speed race around a course marked by buoys, with tense tussles for position and spectacular overtaking manoeuvres. Both windsurfers and kiteboarders will compete in freestyle events in which a jury of judges awards points for spectacular leaps and breathtaking manoeuvres.

With no exhaust fumes or engine noise, the competition for world championship points shows just how congenial and in harmony with nature top level sport can be. Once they’re out on the water, the competitors really give it some juice – using the latest equipment, they utilise the wind so effectively that they can accelerate faster than the fastest sports car.

The competitions are held at a spectator and camera-friendly proximity to the beach. Direct contact between competitors and spectators is encouraged. The extreme sportsmen and women are more than happy to have spectators looking over their shoulders whilst preparing for the off.

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Bruno Sroka and Steph Bridge win the 2009 PKRA Portimao in Portugal

The day started out cloudy with a slight breeze but by mid day the skies cleared and the temperature soared so it was quite hot on the beach since there was little to no wind.

Competitors, who showed up to the beach, were recovering from last night’s party or relaxing while waiting for the wind. Race Director Olaf Van Tol set the riders meeting at 12:00 pm hoping that the wind would cooperate between 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

By the time the riders meeting got underway, bad news arrived regarding the engine of the boat being used for the event was stolen. With the wind seemingly uncooperative, plunging quickly to around 4 knots plus the unfortunate news, 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.

Meanwhile, there was a nice swell for long board surfing so Kevin Langeree (Naish, NED) took the opportunity to find a surf board and with the assistance of the jetski operator, was towed into the incoming sets.  

Bruno Sroka (North, FRA) won the men’s racing event while Steph Bridge (North, GBR) won the women’s title. Our congratulations to all the winners!

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2009 PKRA Portimão

The morning started with a light drizzle on the beach but the rain clouds eventually dissipated. Overcast skies dominated the first half of the day with onshore winds which made the temperature seem quite chilly compared to the past few days.

The scheduled riders meeting of 1:00 pm went right on time and the start of the 4th race happened at around 2:00 pm which according to race director Olaf Van Tol, “turned out to be a good decision because we had a good window of an hour with wind.”

Excitement and controversy marked the second day of events. With the onshore winds, the riders started much closer to the beach, giving the crowd an impressive spectacle to watch as the 35 kites jockeyed for position.

The first race was completed without incident. After the first race, the wind started shifting and after a little break, the wind continued to shift more so the race director announced a lunch break before the next race.

The second race of the day (Race #5 of the event) got underway at around 4:15 pm. From the perspective of the people on the beach, it looked like another good race was about to unfold for the day.

However, the wind gradually died down and by the end of the race, only nine guys and one lady crossed the finish line and many competitors had to be rescued in the waters.

After much discussion on the beach about the validity of the second race due to less than 50% of the competitors finishing, it was decided the race would stand since the PKRA is now operating under ISAF/IKA racing rules and not under its own previous rules which the riders had become accustomed to in the past.

So after finishing another two races, the leader board still shows Bruno Sroka (Cabrinha, FRA) on top with 2.8 total points followed by Abel Lago (RRD, ESP) in second with 13.7 points and Jesse Richman (Cabrinha, USA) in third place with 14 points.

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