First Slalom races of the Beetle Kitesurf World Cup
After 2 days of freestyle it was time to give way to the slalom racers at the Beetle kitesurf World Cup, Saint Peter Ording Germany. At 11 AM the skippers meeting was held, explaining the rules of slalom and answering questions the racers might have. This is the first PKRA slalom event in Europe and first event for many riders. By 2 o’clock the wind had filled in and the first race was started. Bryan Lake and Christine Bnunniger were the winners of the first slalom ladder, taking the points lead for the event.
The slalom ladder for the men is set up with 5 heats of eight-man with the top 3 advancing to the next round. The women have 2 heats of 6 with the top 3 advancing into the final. The winds were fairly light throughout the whole day, fluctuating between 8 to 10 knots, so racers that only had twin tips were at serious disadvantage. The 1st round was dominated by the season veterans with all the top seeds advancing. On the women side Winkowska, Lange and Van Westerop were the surprise of the event, with Karolina winning her first race.
The two men’s semifinals were really exciting, in the 1st semifinal, Kerneur took the win with Withington in 2nd and Gruber in 3rd. The 2nd semifinal Brian Lake won the race but Castel gave him a good run on the 1st reach. Gunnar Biniash eventually caught up to the pack and finished second. The men’s final was set with all the top seeds advancing.
"Slalom Racing is very fun, full speed, it is technical to keep the kite going during the jibes in the light winds" - Romain Castel
The women’s final was 1st on the water with Christine Bnunniger dominating the fleet and taking the win. Sysoeva finished second, Boese and Winkowska had a close battle for third but Boese took the lead on the last mark and the last podium spot. The 1st men’s final was called back after Julien Kerneur crossed the line early. The race was reset and Castel had a great start and was 1st at the mark. However, Lake’s experience and great jibing got himself back in 1st until the end of the race. Adam Withington started in 5th place and fought is way all the way back up to 3rd and Florian Gruber finished 2nd after passing Castel. Castel finished 4th and Biniash 5th.
The wind was fairly light and only one round of racing was run, the forecast is looking better for the next few days so many more races should happen. All the lead changes in the final and semifinals were really exciting and the battle should keep heating up as the days go on and the competitors get more comfortable with the German conditions. If you miss any of today action you can watch the live replay
Pictures of the day HERE