Aaron Hadlow conquers the 2009 PKRA France 

The third day of the Mondial Du Vent 2009 started again with cold weather and light rain. The mandatory skippers meeting was held right on schedule at 09:00h but due to the high winds, there was a decision to postpone the start to let the winds subside a little.

A decision to switch between starting with the women from yesterday’s postponed heat and starting with the men caused a little confusion for Kevin Langeree (Naish, NED) and Sebastien Garat (RRD, FRA) who weren’t able to check back at the announced time of 10:30h to hear the switch in plans. As a result, the two riders missed their respective heats by several minutes in the singles semi-final round which started at 10:45h.

The action-packed, edge-of-your-seat event ensued but unfortunately for Tom Hebert (Airush, New Caledonia), who wasn’t able to duplicate his strong performance yesterday lost to a fired-up Youri Zoon (Slingshot, NED) who unleashed a ton of moves in the 13th heat. The schedule change enabled Reno Romeu (North, BRA) to secure enough moves for the win against a late Kevin Langeree who came storming out but crashed a few landings early on. Likewise, a late Seb Garat lost to Alex Pastor (Naish, ESP) in the 14th heat while Zoon and Romeu went head to head in the 15th heat with the former winning with higher technical difficulty score and more powered moves. Pastor took the third podium position, out-classing Romeu with more height and powered moves, landing a s-mobe, mobe 5, back to blind, s-bend to blind and kiteloop.

Aaron Hadlow (Flexifoil, GBR) however, was a man on a mission. He started off his heat with a win against Petr Tyuskevich (Flexifoil, RUS) with a lot of his signature moves. He then busted out a new wake style move in the 15th heat against Pastor. Hadlow landed a Bel Air (air tantrum) to blind with an air pass for the very first time in a competition. Along with several other technical and powered moves, the PKRA World Champion easily moved to the final round against Zoon.

In a closely-fought heat, Hadlow once again went huge and technical while Zoon went a little more for power. Hadlow got through and took a 3-2 win with a mobe, blind judge, hasselhoff, s-bend to blind, shifty 3, tantrum, and a kiteloop-backloop with aerial pass while Zoon landed a blind judge with aerial handle pass, back to blind air pass, non-inverted slim, kiteloop-backloop and a front mobe.

The men’s double elimination started right off where the singles ended and there was no break between the two events which was at approximately 14:00h. The doubles elimination round concluded at 19:45h with the wind, even though up and down in intensity remained strong through the finals. The men were on their 7’s while the women were on their 5’s and 6’s for the most part.

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Mondial du Vent - 2009 PKRA France

Day 2 of the Mondial Du Vent 2009 in the city of Leucate, France started with a much colder temperature than yesterday. The temperature fell to 9° Celsius with wind chill near freezing point, which provided an extreme setting for the athletes that include some of the best kiteboarders in the world.

There was a light rain during the competition but that didn’t dampen the excitement of the athletes and the crowd. In fact, there were more people on the beach today compared to yesterday as the crowd was eager to see their respective favorites back in action.

The skippers meeting was held at exactly 09:00h with the Men’s trials event hitting the waters an hour and fifteen minutes later. After two rounds of trials and the ladder drawing for the Men’s singles, the main event took off at approximately noon.

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Mondial du Vent - 2009 PKRA France 

The kick off event for the Official 2009 PKRA World Tour is in the beautiful city of Leucate, situated at the southwestern coast of France. The weather started out cold and wet with the temperature dropping as the day wore on. The wind, however, was a no-show for the day showing little promise of improvement during the rain squalls that swept through the area in the morning. Average temperature was about 10° Celsius with periods of heavy rain until about noon which kept the crowds indoors until late afternoon when the weather finally started to improve.

Yesterday’s registration was a huge success with over 47 competitors from 14 different countries that have come to compete in the best and most recognized official world tour of kiteboarding that is known as the PKRA. Registration started at approximately 16:00 and concluded around 19:00 local time.

Today’s skipper meeting got underway at 10:00 where Sami Gali, PKRA Head Judge, introduced the panel of 6 judges for this event and covered regular pre-competition information such as format and judging criteria. There was also an announcement that a riders meeting would be held at 14:30 to discuss the events that have transpired since the tour concluded last year in Chile.

During the riders meeting PKRA Tour President Mauricio Toscano and Vice President Paul Caswell gave a full description of the PKRA, IKA, ISAF discussions and why the PKRA ended up seeking separate recognition from ISA as an alternative to the failed mediation between the IKA and PKRA. It should be noted that the mediation party, ISAF, was not considered an impartial mediator since ISAF represents IKA as one of their own members and could not offer an objective view to the concerns that the PKRA raised from the beginning of the negotiations.

The opinion from the athletes was that of overwhelmingly support and agreement in the PKRA’s management decisions. Other business covered in the meeting was nominations for the new riders committee. A vote will be held on Tuesday where only five athletes from the total nominations will be elected. The riders committee will discuss matters over the course of the 2009 tour year that concern the athletes such as rules, judging guidelines, points and discards.

Later in the day, with clearing skies, the crowds ventured out-doors and flooded the event site to try and get autographs or a glimpse of the best kiteboarders in the world who make up the official world tour of
kiteboarding. At 17:30 there was a opening ceremony where some of the top riders where recognized on stage including Aaron Hadlow (5-Time PKRA World Champion, Flexifoil, UK), Kevin Langeree (Naish, NLD), Gisela Pulido (2-Time PKRA World Champion, Airush, ESP), Sebastian Garat (RRD, FRA) and Alex Caizergues (F-One, FRA).

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