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.
The North Race Team hit the African Formula Kite Racing Championships
The African Formula Kite Racing Championships in Soma Bay, Egypt drew to a close last weekend after a fantastic week of variable conditions over the course of the competition. The last day was greeted by super light winds of 7 knots, evening out the performance spectrum after the stronger winds earlier on. These light conditions proved to be ideal training grounds for the North Race Team who are prepping for the World Championships in Turkey next month. The African Formula Champs, was the first event of the season where new and registered 2015 equipment could be used. UK rider and reigning European Mens Champion Olly Bridge, commented on how he was 'really dialled in to the North Race LTD 69 and that the 2015 race kites are faster than ever.' A great performance by German National North rider, Jannis Maus (18yrs) saw him racing in the Platinum Medal race and finishing 9th overall. Blasco Ozog from Poland, sailed consistently across the variable wind conditions winning the Final Medal race in the Platinum Fleet. Olly Bridge, tied in 3rd place, giving him an 4th since he lost out in the Final race. The regatta became harder for him as the lighter winds took hold, costing him many places over the final few days. Steph Bridge meanwhile, had a full five day battle with Russian youngster Eleanor Kalinina, who has certainly found her pace coming into the season. The North Race Team are now busy preparing for the KTE Germany and Italy followed but the World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey in August.
Results Mens: Olly Bridge (GB) 4th , Blajez Ozog (POL) 6th, Jannis Maus (GER) 9th.
Results Women’s: Steph Bridge (GB) 2nd
A view from across the pond – Colleen Carroll
Colleen Carroll is a pint sized bombshell from the US who joined North Kiteboarding last year. For those of you unfamiliar of her, don't let appearances fool you, she rides hard! Often found hanging out at cable parks around the world honing her skills on the features, she dominated at the Triple S last year and is on a mission to do the same again this year. We caught up with Colleen to find out what she's been up to and what her take on kiteboarding from 'across the pond' is.
“I’ve been travelling, kiting, spending lots of time at the cable park and in general loving life!
Seeing other people on the water pushing their riding really inspires me to go for harder tricks or to try out a new one. It also helps that our sport is so fun. I never have the feeling that I’m lacking motivation when I’m at a kite spot. If its windy and the water looks nice, I’m in!”
When asked how she sees the progression of the female side of the sport, she say's; “progression is kicking ass these days! In the last year I’ve seen and met many female riders who are really pushing their personal limits as well as those of women’s kiteboarding as a whole. I’m curious as to when we’ll see the first double pass landed...”
As a Team Rider it is always interesting to get an 'insiders' perspective on the North Range and more specifically for women and Colleen's style of riding: “Firstly the North Kiteboarding range is huge. There is definitely something for everybody in there whether it’s sliders, freestyle, speed, hang-time, or waves. Whatever fuels your fire. More specifically, the North range offers the perfect setup for me and I think any girl can find what she needs. The performance, safety, and durability are all time on the North kites so I don’t really know what more you could ask for! My perfect set up is a 9m Vegas on 22 meter lines with 136 Gambler and North Kiteboarding boots. Also need my ION sol harness and of course a lovely Sensi Graves bikini. If the wind is a smooth 20kts, the water butter flat, and there is a feature to session, I am in utter heaven!”
A well known rider on the American Kite scene she has never made it across the pond to test out some of Europe’s hotspots, but she is adamant that she will be making the trip this summer. Inquisitive to find out how she felt about riding for a European brand and whether it has influenced her view on the sport, she said: “ Our first kites as a family were North kites and the brand has always had such a strong presence in the Hood River/Seattle kite spots that I guess I’ve never really felt it was foreign. However, working more closely with a European brand, it has shown me how much bigger and more mature the industry is ‘across the pond.”
Looking to the future, she admits that it is best to be flexible when trying to make plans materialise, but that a trip to Europe is on the cards and that her main goal and sights are set on the Triple S Invitational, Cape Hatteras. “I was really lucky last year and came out on top. I have a feeling I’ll see even more competition this year on the girls side so I’m feeling a bit of pressure to up my game.” And up her game she did!
Colleen was crowned the women's Triple S Champion 2014. Never taking her eyes of the prize she dominated the field securing a 1st in Slicks and Sliders, and 3rd in the Surf putting her 1st Overall. Her performance in the Slicks was solid, with two clean runs and stomping technical moves such as Back to Wrapped. A day in the Surf saw her dialling some stylish grabs and unhooked moves off the kickers, scoring well with the judges. In the Slider discipline, she cruised through the heats with clean hits across the park. A stylish front side 180 tail press to blind across the flat bar put her in the Finals. She said;
“All of the girls were riding really solid and it was made even more intense having mixed heats and riding with the boys. I’m incredibly happy that I advanced through to the Finals with the North boys.”