Kitefoil Gold Cup - Silvaplana
The second Kite Foil Gold Cup stop was held on one of the highest mountain lakes in Europe- lake Silvaplana at 1800 mtrs above sea level. Kiters came from all over the world to compete in this growing discipline which has attracted the worlds best kite racers.
The first couple of days saw the normal gradient south wind coming up the valley from the Maloja Pass which bought excitement to the qualifying series with plenty of position changes. North riders from France, Maxime Nocher and Nicolas Parlier proved why they are leading the french foiling stops and gave Mr Johnny Heineken from USA some close racing. Current Formula European champion, Oliver Bridge from the UK made some decent tactical decisions giving him 3 bulletts on the final races and putting him in 2nd place going into the Gold Fleet races. Younger Brother, Guy Bridge - age 14 took top 5 places in all the 9 qualifying races giving him an 8th position going into the Gold Fleet. Meanwhile, Mum - Steph made it the only Woman to get in the Gold fleet.
The final couple of days the wind did not play the right game & did not allow any medal races to be completed. This meant that the overall scores for the 9 races stay as:
Oliver Bridge 2nd
Nicolas Parlier 3rd
Maxime Nocher 4th
Guy Bridge 8th & 1st Youth
Steph Bridge 17th & 1st Woman
The racers now switch discipline and head to Istanbul for the Formula Kite World Championships which start on 18/8.
THE BOSS IS BACK! HADLOW TURNS HEADS IN ST PETER ORDING
The Think Blue Kitesurf World Cup was hosted in St Peter Ording, Germany. Possibly one of the biggest events of the PKRA World Tour in terms of attendance, it's a buzzing event drawing in a huge spectating audience and brand presence. Running from the 1st to the 10th of August, the world's elite kiteboarders came together to fight their way through heats in magnificent fashion to gain points and dominate the podium.
North Kiteboarding had a strong presence at the event, most impressivly from Brazils Reno Romeu and newest team member Aaron Hadlow from the UK. Reno has had an exciting and consistent season so far, marked as a strong contender for SPO and quite rightly so, taking 4th in the Single Eliminations. However, the rider with the most outstanding track record and world titles under his belt is Aaron Hadlow who, after time out from the circuit, injury and change of brands has taken to the tour once again hungry for yet another World Title. Having not had much luck since the start of the 2014 Tour, he put in a remarkable performance, dominating and claiming a first in the single eliminations, holding it through the doubles to come out on top at St Peter Ording.
Aaron, you’ve been battling hard in previous legs of the PKRA but haven’t had much luck. How does it feel to be back on top after your result SPO and whats changed?
Luck, inconsistency and confidence have all played a factor so far. Although I've been able to do the same tricks as the other guys, I seemed to have failed by having bad heats at critical times whilst the others are on top of their game in every instance. In some cases, winning that one heat instead of loosing would have had a major impact of some of my results so far, but that is competition and level right now is higher than I have ever seen right now. I realise the reasons I am in this position half way through the season, so those are the areas I have been working on. I do feel I have under achieved so far this season but I knew I only needed everything to come together and those better results would start coming. After being on the edge of podium all season I couldn’t have picked a better time to turn that around. I have never won in Germany, even with past career wins so to come out on top exactly half way through the season is amazing, especially at Norths home ground!
Having been out of the competitive circuit for the past few years, has it been a case of falling back into old ‘competition mode’ that saw you dominate for so many years or, as you have grown as a person, have you had to adapt what you know to suit who and how you are now?
There is no doubt that I have gained a lot of experience in the past which definitely helps and I think this last competition has showed that. I was able to make the most of the conditions, pull the tricks I needed at the right time in the right place and keep my cool to focus in the Double Eliminations. It is good to have been on both sides and I can imagine how the younger, hungry competitors feel as I have experienced that myself. Being older and seeing the bigger picture is pretty cool, I really think things have changed so much since those days, it's much more of a challenge and I really have to focus, practise and look after my body. I guess my mind set is similar during the heats but I have had to adapt and do everything I can to make a win possible.
How are you getting on with the North Kiteboarding gear?
The gear has played a massive roll in getting me closer and now finally to that top spot of the podium. Since I got my new kites and boards I feel totally in tune and comfortable on the water, it's made a big difference. In Fuerte I was really feeling the new gear and was unlucky to not get a better position. Finally in Germany, my riding came together along with my kite and that was enough to do it. Having the choice of every kite size has helped me a lot, along with the new North Kiteboarding boots on my Hadlow Edition Team Series aids landing and consistency.
What’s your game plan for the next event and are you feeling confident?
A win for sure gives you confidence but I have to take each event at a time. Liam Whaley is also full of confidence right now and although I have spent most of the Summer in Tarifa, he grew up there and knows the conditions better than anyone. Beating him and other top riders like Christophe Tack was great at the event in Germany, but they all have the ability to come back strong from defeats. It is really close at the top with any one of 4 or 5 riders can take the win at any time. I just hope everything clicks and I can make it happen again.
Any tips for any young riders looking to compete?
To practise hard and know that if you are dedicated enough, you really can achieve anything. Competing is quite physiological as well as physical, so gain as much experience where you can.
Double Elimination Results Men Freestyle
1st Aaron Hadlow (UK)
2nd Liam Whaley (ES)
3rd Marc Jacobs (NZ)
4th Christophe Tack (BE)
Double Elimination Results Womens Freestyle
1st Karolina Winkowska (PL)
2nd Gisela Pulido (ES)
3rd Bruno Kajiya (BR)
4th Annelous Lammerts (NL)
Mario Rodwald takes his third European Championship title!
I had been dreaming about the title long before I competed at my first European Championships five years ago. The first two years I was close to 1st place, but not close enough. Once in Lamezia where this years competition took place, a famous sportsmen said,“second is the first loser.” I'd never really shared this point of view, although there were certainly times I felt like it and so, coming second in the Singles in Italy was not the best start mentally.
The event was held on the infamous Hang Loose beach in Gizzeria, where Italian local and Northkiteboarding team rider Gianmaria Coccoluto really surprised me landing a variety of doubles and moves I rarely see. I had a good Semi Final landing a KGB5 and Frontmobe5 but I wasn't able to repeat my performance for the Finals in the Single eliminations. According to spectators, the wind was good for my heats and over the next few days the Shirokko wind kicked in despite a bleak forecast. With lots of power in my 9m Vegas I set my focuses on having fun and taking pressure off myself. Every heat I improved my riding landing Double Hinterberger 3, Double S Bend passes, Frontmobe 5s and my first Tootsie Roll. I am very stoked to get a third European Title and would like to thank my family, friends and sponsors.
Paula Novotna showed an incredible performance coming back from injury, landing Mobes and S-Mobes and taking the European Title. My team mates Gianmaria Coccoluto and Sander Bos complete the triple podium for North Kiteboarding!!!
In the coming days, I will enjoy this feeling and express it in my heats during the PKRA in Germany!
Olly Bridge shines at the Kitesurf Tour Europe
North Kiteboarding team rider Olly Bridge travelled out to Italy for the second and last stop of the Kitesurf Tour Europe, held on Hang loose beach in Gizzeria. Riders such as current World Champion Florian Gruber and African Champion Riccardo Leccese, had also made it to Italy to compete. With Olly already familiar with the spot and kiting conditions, he was ready when the event started.
The event started with light thermal winds, perfect for the course racers. They managed to run five races with Olly securing four bullets and a 2nd place. With such a strong performance on the first day, he was in a very good position to do well in whole event.
Second day of competition had very similar conditions to the first. The wind was light in the morning so again, perfect for the course racers. Olly again started the day strong, winning the first two races by good distance. He led the third race of the day, but on the final reach to the finish line hit a plastic bag and was overtaken by Florian Gruber. This unfortunate glitch, put Olly back into second place in this race. After the three races the wind picked up enough to run the freestyle single elimination, and by the end of the day Olly was sitting comfortably in first position in the overall ranking.
The third day of competition brought a completely different set of conditions. The wind was light and off shore so again, the course racers were first to start. The wind was light so all the riders opted to take their bigger kites but, during the race the conditions changed. The wind increased up to 30 knots with big gusts seeing Olly switch down to his 7m Dyno for the next race where he managed to win event. Because of the good wind the racing was put on hold and the Freestyle Double Elimination got underway. After the Freestyle had finished the organisers decided to run one final course race. The conditions were unchanged so taking his 7m Dyno, Olly won the last race of the day.
The fourth and final day of competition saw cross onshore 8-12 knots, and as the Freestyle competition had finished the whole day was dedicated to the course racers. Managing to run four races, Olly won three with one second place.
Winning this event puts Olly in a very good position for the World Championships in three weeks’ time.
Outstanding results in Spain for the PKRA Freestyle Junior World Championships
Sant Pere Pescado, Bay of Roses, Spain played host for the second year running to the PKRA Freestyle Junior World Championships, which ran from the 30th June - 4th July. The idyllic venue of Camping Ballena Alegre, saw 46 riders representing 18 nationalities including exotic locations such as Hawaii, Japan, Philippines and Mauritius. The boys were split into three age categories and the girls into two, giving each rider a fighting chance for a place on the podium.
The first day saw strong and gusty winds from the south and riders using a broad range of kite sizes (5m – 12m). Although the conditions were tricky, NKB rider Karim Mahmoud from Egypt set the tone for the rest of the week, showcasing some powerful riding and winning the youngest age group.
Swiftly the 12yrs-14yrs category got underway and NKB's Tom Bridge demonstrated why he was the favourite for the title with some impressive tricks. Progressing into the Semi Final with Tom was another NKB rider, Christian Tio from Boracay, also showing why he is one to watch out for in the future with some stylish and powerful riding. Over the course of the competition, the Single Eliminations were completed with Tom beating Christian in the Semi's, before going on to dominate in the Finals taking 1st place and Christian taking 3rd.
In the eldest of the boys category, NKB rider Guy Bridge made his way through the heats against some solid competition reaching the Semi's and securing a 4th place. Also riding well in his category was Yaya Ochiai from Japan.
As the Double Eliminations got underway they were dogged but marginal, light and gusty winds taking time to reach the Final heats on the last day. Guy Bridge managed to maintain his position finishing 4th in the 14yrs-16yrs age category. Christian Tio improved his position by one place securing a 2nd behind the winner, Tom Bridge.