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.
The Bridge Episode
Tom Bridge ventures to Egypt for his first PKRA event!
North Kiteboarding Team Rider Tom Bridge, is the youngest of the Bridge Brothers, an outstanding trio of kiteboarders hailing from the UK. Taking advantage of his school holidays, he headed to Soma Bay, Egypt for his first PKRA event.
Light winds met his arrival, so Tom took advantage of the warm waters on a 10m Vegas. Later that day, the opening ceremony saw him flying the flag for Team UK with Jo Wilson and Aaron Hadlow, a role model and inspiration for any young kiteboarder.
“It was really good to be in warm water, in a shorty wetsuit and session with a bunch of great riders from all around the world. I also got to fly the English flag with Jo Wilson and Aaron Hadlow which was pretty special”
A 0630 start had competition getting underway. Tom, unfortunately was feeling particularly ill prior to his heat, which left him struggling to put in his best performance and ultimately out of the competition.
“I didn't get a second chance, so for the rest of the holiday I learnt new tricks like the Low Mobe 5 and Crow Mobe. I'm stoked to be returning home with these two tricks in the bag as I take off with my left foot, which is not my regular side. I was super happy to be part of the event, see the level of riding and strategy used during competition...and take my riding to the next level. Thanks Dad for taking me and to my sponsors for the support.”
fotocredit: Toby Bromwich
The three Bridge brothers, UK all make the podium at the European Freestyle Championships!
St. Pierre la Mer, France played host to the 10th Junior European Freestyle Championships, from the 18th-21st April. Young kitesurfers from all over Europe gathered for this annual freestyle showdown where every year, the level of riding gets higher. Day one kicked off at 8am for Team Bridge, who were here to compete for their age category ; Tom age 9-13yrs, Guy 14-15yrs and Olly 16-19yrs. The event started with the youngest age category in the form of a Dingle elimination. Conditions were variable and challenging. Huge gusts wiped riders off the water and lulls barely provided enough to stay upwind, so choosing the right kite size was tough. Tom stepped up his game during his heat to put some great scoring tricks together for the Judges. After four heats using the Vegas 5 or 7m, Tom made it to the Final against his old Team Mate from Spain, Javier Jimenez. For the 3rd year running, Tom won the Title and was ecstatic by his performance in the challenging conditions.
Next up was Olly in the first heat of the 16-19's Single Elimination. Throwing down some big powered moves he was off to a great start, but this was not enough to beat his first opponent from Holland. Olly’s freestyle day was over and all he had to think about was the big come back in the Doubles the following day.
Guy put in a performance that was the biggest surprise of the whole day! Staying on the ladder all the way through to the Final of the 14-15 yr category, his riding in the shocking conditions improved as he went through the heats. Guy came off the water grinning, stoked as he made the best heat of his life. Having made the Final, against Spanish Youth Champion, Noe Font and Zurick, Guy was amped on the outcome of a 3rd place in this division.
Day 2 was greeted with another early start and first up was Olly, who was on a mission to make it back in the Double Eliminations. A sunny start combined with a cold Tramontana, gave the same unpredictable conditions and gusts as the previous day. Olly had a couple of blinding heats to put him back in the game but then the going got really tough. Cycling through the rounds of the Doubles, he was only back on the beach for a couple of minutes rest before his next heat. It was certainly good physical training and although he was not riding to the level he does when he Freerides, his competition strategy and experience showed. After 4 hours of straight competition, Olly made it to the mens Final with Dutch rival, Van Der Meis and french opponent Guillerbert. A poor choice of kite and exhaustion meant it wasn’t his best performance of the day, putting him in 3rd place overall. A result and come back like this however, is highly motivating for Olly who is current mens European Race Champion and did this discipline 'just for fun' on a borrowed board.
While the Freestyle antics was going on, young Tom had been practicing his race skills around the Boarder Cross course. This involves jumping over long inflatable objects in the water and round buoys in a race knockout with 4 other opponents. Fast, fun and exciting, with lots of crashes, Tom managed to win his category in this discipline.
Back in the Uk Team Bridge are practicing for the next stop on the tour - the Youth PKRA World Championships in June.