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)
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.
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
Well done Kirsty, 2nd in PKRA Dakhla
Kirsty Jones just showed an amazing performance at the PKRA Wave event in Dakhla, Morocco, finishing 2nd!
The second tour stop of the PKRA season just officially finished with a closing ceremony celebrating the event and honoring the champions of the competition. The tour already came to Dakhla the 5th time! The 2014 PKRA Kiteboarding World Cup Dakhla came to a close after 4 consecutive days of fierce competition.
The wave discipline in Dakhla saw an incredible pool of talent coming together after very few wave events in 2013. As the first wave stop of the 2014 PKRA tour, riders are hungry for more!
With a mix of regular and goofy footers reaching the podium, riders from around the globe pushed the levels of progressive kite surfing. Despite smaller conditions than was seen at last years event, competitors were very happy nonetheless.
In this field of the best athletes of the world, Kirsty Jones, North Kiteboarding, showed her outstanding talent and experience and finished 2nd overall. Well done Kirsty!
North dominates the PKRA Youth World Championships in Costa Brava!
Bay of roses on the Costa Brava was the venue for the PKRA youth world championships from 2-6th July. Ideally situated with daily thermal onshore winds & the event run from a huge campsite which was also the sponsor - camping la Ballena Alegra. Age categories were 8-14 and 14- 16 in boys and girls which meant there were 4 world titles up for grabs.
17 countries were represented with 43 riders registered for this 1st PKRA youth freestyle championships. Winds allowed the 8-14 category to be on their 7- 10mtr kites during their heats for the first couple of days. North Kiteboarding rider from the Phillipeans - Christian Tio showed huge style with committement and finished this event in 5th place. Uk north riders - Guy and Tom Bridge came from different sides of the freestyle ladder to eventually meet in the final for a superb close show with the judging now scoring 12 attempts with the best 5 counting. Tom Bridge (12 years old) scored 35 with his highest scoring move being a 7.76 with a double hinterberger pass. This beat Guy on 20 points who at age 13 was riding powered in straps with the NKB Select. Tom takes his first world title and shares the celebration with his older brother!
Day 4 and 5 saw the 14 - 16 category of the boys, riding on their biggest kites. Execution continues to play a huge role in the overall result and it showed that many riders had been really working on their skills to show them to the judges. Since the ladder did not get completed a joint 5th place went to team mates Jan Novotny from chech republic and Manu de Pfyffer from Spain while another world title for North Kiteboarding was earned. This one went to european champion - Jérôme Cloetens from Spain. As the single elimination did not get finished he shared this title with Font.
Youth race world champion, older brother Ollie Bridge had a blinding heat on his 14mtr Vegas, but got kicked out of the singles so this put an end to this championship for him for this time.
This PKRA event showed the huge talent amongst the youth and the potential of the North Kiteboarding youth team. Congrats to the the 2 new youth freestyle champions - Jérôme Cloetens and Tom Bridge