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

June 25, 2009 | Kiteboarding

Bruno Sroka

The much anticipated start of the prestigious Kite Masters World Tour 2009 kicks off with a thrilling display of speed and power courtesy of the PKRA racers who participated in the third annual Kiteboard Course Racing World Tour 2009. 

Perfect weather conditions greeted the crowd at the beach along with the athletes although the much sought-after wind which fuels the games arrived later during the race. After a long period of waiting, the event got underway at approximately 2:00 pm and was participated by the crème de la crème of kiteboard racing. 

The wind was particular light during the first two races but gradually picked up after the 45-minute break for the third and final race of the day which concluded at 5:00 pm.

The first race of the day lasted approximately 23 minutes and progressively got faster with the final race only taking 17 minutes. Most of the competitors started on their largest kites (15m / 16m for the men) but eventually switched down one size for the final race.

Bringing the crowd on their feet and leading the race after day one is Cabrinha’s Bruno Sroka (FRA) who is making a comeback after taking a break from last year’s racing events. The French racer dominated all three races with convincing wins.

It was apparent that Sroka have been busy training and has worked very hard on his board and speed during the off-season. Unfortunately, last year’s champion Charles Deleau (North, FRA) is racing on borrowed gear due to lost luggage.

The French rider is hoping to get his gear later today so he can climb his way back up to the top to defend his world championship title against Sroka who was World Champion in 2007. Meanwhile, American Jesse Richman, another Cabrinha rider is currently in second place while North’s Sean Farley (MEX) completes the top three.

On the women’s side, Steph Bridge (GBR) of North Kiteboarding once again dominated all three races and even beating many of the men, since both men and women started at the same time. Fabienne D’Ortoli (FRA) riding with a Naish kites ranked second overall after day one followed by Kari Schivebaag (NOR) of Ozone. 

After the races, the competition switched over to the Kite Masters freestyle events where 12 men’s heats and 4 ladies heats were completed. In the men's division within group 1 Sebastian Garat (RRD, FRA) currently has 4 points while Abel Lago has 2 points.

In group 2 Michael Schithofer (Naish, AUS) and Jesse Richman (Cabrinha, USA) each has 1 point while Danilo Nacarato has 2 points.  In group 3 both Alberto Rondina (Cabrinha, ITA) and Gonçalo Gomes each has 2 points and finally in group 4 both Kevin Langeree (Naish, NLD) and Charles Deleau (North, FRA) each has 2 points. 

Over in the women's heats within group 1 Karolina Winkoska (Naish, POL) and Marilou Lavale each has 2 points as is the same situation in group 2 with both Jalou Langeree (Naish, NLD) and Steph Bridge (North, GBR) each having 2 points.

The day’s event concluded at around 7:00 pm while tomorrow's rider meeting is set for 1:00 pm and first possible start at 1:30 pm local time.

Presented by The Gest Group under the leadership of Director General Erich Steffen and Event Coordinator Eduardo Piloni, these premium kiteboarding events will run from June 24 – 28, 2009 at Praia de Alvor, Portimao. These events will be hosted by the Professional Kiteboard Riders Association (PKRA) – the globally recognized professional kiteboarding organization.

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