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.
The year is coming to an end and again overall results show the domination of North Kiteboarding: Congratulations Mario, Steph, Stefan, Flo, Luke, Sabrina and Maxime!
Four days of spectacular competitions, light and strong wind conditions at the beach of Castelldefels came to a fabulous end, when the European Championship in Kiteboarding Freestyle as well as the winners of the MINI Kitesurf Tour Europe in Course Racing were crowned. 97 riders out of 19 nations participated in Spain.
The wind didn’t came up on the last day to run the double eliminations in Freestyle and to continue with Course Racings, but everyone enjoyed the friendly spanish atmosphere and the prize giving ceremony at the beach. The first day of the event had amazing conditions for Freestyle, with perfectly sunny weather and winds up to twenty knots. This allowed the riders to show how far the riding has come over the last decade. In the single eliminations, Mario Rodwald (GER, North) and Stefan Spiessberger (AUT, North) made their way to the final. Apure North Kiteboarding final of team mates! Rodwald travelled to Spain as the leader of the MINI KTE ranking and was unstoppable to get the title. In the final of the single eliminations, he won against Stefan. Place one and two for North Kiteboarding. Luke Whiteside made it to the excellent 3rd place overall.
In the women division, dutch freestyler Annelous Lammerts won the spanish stop against Therese Taabbel (DEN) with powerful and clean moves. German North Kiteboarding rider Sabrina Lutz gained third place on the podium after her heat against Kelly Schouten (NED).
After five events all the results are in: Rodwald and Lammerts are the winners of the final stop of the MINI Kitesurf Tour Europe in Castelldefels, Spain and were also crowned European Champions 2012. Stefan Spiessberger and Sabrina Lutz, obtained second places of the overall ranking 2012. Well done boys and girls!!
In Course Racings, Maxime Nocher (FRA, North Kiteboarding) crossed the finish line as a respectful third. With this result he managed to achieve the Second podium place in the tour overall ranking, followed by german olympic hope Florian Gruber (North Kiteboarding). Great racing boys! For professional North Kiteboarding team rider Steph Bridge (GBR), the 2012 season was successful again. In Brouwersdam, Netherlands, she became first overall and then dominated the KTE. France. Here in Spain, she left no doubt again about who is one of the fastest European female racers by winning all races and clearly dominating the women’s fleet.
Altogether again an amazing weekend for all North Kiteboarding athletes showing the world they are the ones to beat!
Well done team!
Steph Bridge takes European Champion, Florian Gruber takes 3rd overall
Some decent races were held at the kite race Europeans at KTE La Baule where over 110 racers competed for the european title. Winds were generally light and variable making conditions challenging. North riders dotted the front end of the fleets with the new green Dynos and Race LTDs and all were gaining valuable experience preparing for the kite race worlds starting this week in Italy. The mens fleet was dominated by the up and coming young North Kiteboarding Riders Florian Gruber in 3rd and 3 points behind Olly Bridge from the UK in 6th while mum Steph Bridge took 1st place in the womans fleet. Now that kite racing is an Olympic discipline, over 40 countries will be represented in Cagliari for the kite race World Championships with over 220 entries - this will be some event worth watching! Starts 3rd October so don't miss it!