The Doubles Commence on Day 5 in China
After a day of no action, every competitor and local kiting fan hoped with a great deal of optimism that this day 5 would bring strong winds and mind-blowing battles. While this wish was granted only partially, it proved to be an exciting yet brief day of competition, which was marked by several canceled heats and lighter winds throughout.
Blowing side onshore from the left in the early morning, a direction that the event has not yet experienced, the first possible start was delayed due to lack of sufficient wind. With an anticipated strong afternoon blow, it became a waiting game into the afternoon, and riders as well as spectators remained ready to wait it out for the ultimate reward. The weekend crowd kept everyone’s spirits up, and competitors braced mentally for possible action.
Lunch then came and went with still very little wind present, yet just before the race director was about to call the day, the wind began to increase as an onslaught of clouds approached. In 12-14 knots of wind, the doubles kicked off around 3pm; however, this heat was abandoned half way through due to light winds.
Early on, top riders such as Mario Rodwald (GER) and Reno Romeu (BRA) advanced, while Ewan Jaspan (AUS) and Johnno Scholte (NED) took part in a very close heat, with Scholte throwing a nice Front Mobe and Back Mobe and Jaspan completing an impressive Back Mobe and KGB – which won the heat.
Rodwald also went on to battle against Ariel Corniel (DR) in one of the closest heats of the day. It was this heat that ended with a win by Corniel in a 34.85 to 33.81 spread. This was a controversial heat, as it was claimed that the downwind mark was not marked clearly enough; however, the official notice board and PA announcement reaffirmed the judge’s call to mark Rodwald’s Sbend to Blind ‘outside the box’.
Michael Schitzhoffer (AUT) and Christophe Tack (BEL) also rode very well considering the lighter conditions, as did Stefan Speissberger (AUT) in his heat against Jaspan.
Undoubtedly the most impressive heat turned out to be the battle between Marc Jacobs (NZE) and Corniel. In this highest scoring heat of the day, Jacobs came straight out of the gate on fire. With amazingly aggressive power and his kite low, he stomped a Slim Chance, KGB, and a high scoring Late Back Mobe. Corniel, meanwhile, completed a well-received Front Blind Mobe among other big tricks, riding fast and showing his high level of skill.
Jacobs earned the win in this heat, and commented later saying, “I got lucky to beat Reno in my first heat because the wind was really light and he’s a really good light wind rider. In my heat against Corniel luckily it was cancelled at first and when it was rerun, the wind picked up a bit and I was able to show a bit more power.”
The day ended with heat #42, which featured Speissberger and Tack. Both of these riders have had an amazing year and demonstrated incredible progression. In this particular heat, Tack won out with a nice Back Mobe 5 and Front Blind Mobe, while Speissberger followed close behind with a Back Mobe and Slim Chance, among others. The sheer number of tricks completed by Tack earned him the victory, closing out the day with much excitement and enthusiasm. Notably, the only women’s heat took place between Helena Brochocka (POL) and Clementine Bonzom (FRA), wherein Brochocka advanced.
For tomorrow, the forecast is not incredibly favorable; however, time and again such forecasts here in Hainan Island have been proved wrong – therefore, the competitors will prepare for this final day with high hopes in completing the double eliminations.