John Heineken and Steph Bridge crowned 2011 Kite Racing World Champions
After 12 races and 3 discards in more than challenging conditions, with winds up to 25 knots and breaking seas of 3+ meters, John Heineken (USA, Ozone) and Steph Bridge (GBR, North) are the new world champions in kite course racing. Both riders did it in great fashion, resulting in a perfect score of 6.3 points each ! While Johnny Heineken dominated his competitors from the very first race, Steph Bridge had some problems in the beginning, when Katja Roose (NED, Airush) scored the first two bullets in 20 knots offshore wind and flat water. The other two races of the day saw Steph in front. Heineken kicked off the first event day with 3 bullets and a RDG for second place. 2010 world champion Adam Koch (USA, Ozone) came out of day one with one bullet, two seconds and one third place, leaving Bryan Lake (USA, Cabrinha), Sky Solbach (USA, North) and Julien Kernieur (FRA, Takoon) behind.
The first day ended in 6 of the top 10 places being occupied by the US team, and the remaining slots claimed by team France - and this battle was supposed to go on.
Day two the wind turned onshore and the sea became more choppy. Unfortunately after the first race of the day, the committee boat had an engine break down which resulted in the remaining schedule for the day being canceled with not much change in the rankings.
With increasing winds the waves became higher and higher, and day 3 saw already whitewater all over the competition area. Three more races were completed before sunset, and it was always more or less the same order: Heineken in front of Koch, and then either Brian Lake, Sky Solbach, Julien Kernieur or Damien Leroy (USA, Cabrinha). Same in the womens fleet, the usual order became Steph Bridge ahead of Katja Roose and Nayara Licariao (BRA).
Day 4 came, and it started to become survival training, not only for the competitors but especially for the boat crews of the race committee and the rescue jet ski drivers. Waves were rolling in at 3 meter high, breaking up to 200 meters from the beach, and it was more than once that the committee boat was completely airborn in the 20+ knots breeze. But at a world championship there is no way to stop racing, and so another 4 races were completed leaving not much room for changes. Rolf van der Vluigt (NED, Airush) and Bruno Sroka (FRA, Cabrinha) slowly found their way into the mens top 10, completed by Maxime Nocher (FRA, North) and Chip Wasson (USA, Ozone).
Caroline Adrien (FRA, Cabrinha) scored some 3rd places and was able to defeat Melissa Gil (USA) to fifth, but the results became solid with not much chance for a change.
Day 5 and 6 forced the race committee then to abandon any racing as it was impossible to get the boats out of the harbor and drive them up to the event side 15 km against wind and waves which in the meantime had built up to 25+ knots and 4-5m high at the south tip of the island. As there was no way that the results would change significantly on the podium the racers were not too diappointed to be allowed to stay on shore.
In the end, Johnny Heineken wins with all races won except two, and Steph Bridge with all races win except three. The kiteboarding world has found worthy champions.
The new production division was won by Sky Solbach (USA, North) and Steph Bridge (GBR, North)
RESULTS AFTER 12 RACES (3 DISCARDS)
1. John Heineken (USA) 6.3 points
2. Adam Koch (USA) 16.4 points
3. Bryan Lake (USA) 34 points
4. Sky Solbach (USA) 36 points
5. Julien Kerneur (FRA) 39 points
1. Steph Bridge (GBR) 6.3 points
2. Katja Roose (NED) 14.1 points
3. Nayara Licariao (BRA) 24 points
4. Caroline Adrien (FRA) 32 points
5. Melissa Gil (USA) 35 points
Full results can be found at http://results.extremience.com
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