Explosive start to the Burn Kitesurf World Cup, Turkey
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The first day of the Burn Kitesurf World Cup started with two ladders of slalom in the morning and finished with 23 heats of the kite masters. Oswald Smith and Christine Boenniger dominated both finals and no one as yet set himself apart in the kite masters. Smith, Corniel, Serin, Scholte, Kerneur and a few more are looking like possible winners of this kite masters. The winds were around twenty knots all day with nice little waves providing kickers for the freestyler and obstacles for the races. Both races were run through the waves which brought a new element that most riders had never encountered before while racing.
The morning finished off with a few last minute registrations and then the first race was started. The men’s fleet is stacked with 22 top riders like Lake, Grubber, Bridge, Smith and many more. The conditions were challenging for the racers that are accustomed to racing in light winds and flater water. Jibing around marks positioned inside the wave’s brought a new challenge to many riders. Kerneur, Bridge and a few other riders opted for a twin tips in the first race to adapt to the bumpy conditions.
The first final featured all the top riders apart from Castel who crashed and failed to advance and gave Gelenk a local rider the chance to make a final. The race to the first mark was intense with Bryan arriving first and making it safely around the mark followed by Smith and the rest of the pack. Smith made his move on the 3rd mark when Lake was slow accelerating and Smith passed him. Local favorite Cakir came in third holding off Kerneur and Grubber.
The second men’s final was held after lunch and a press conference introducing the top riders. All the riders went back on the water eager to win a race. Lake came out really fast but crashed on a wave and let Smith, Grubber and Kerneur by him. All three riders charged hard to make the podium but it was once again Smith who came out on Top followed by Grubber, Kerneur and lake in 4th.
The girls finals were dominated by Christine Boenniger who was extremely consistent around the course, not making any errors. The two local girls Ceylan and Ozturk were also very good but could not match the speed of Boenniger. Elena Kalinina was also fast but had a hard time controlling her race board in the waves. After two finals, Boenniger is the Girl to beat.
The kite masters is a competition format that combines technical tricks and big air. A score is given for big air and another for freestyle tricks and the trick total gives you a final score. This means that riders must be very good all-around riders to do well in this discipline. The format is run in a round robin, meaning that all the riders run multiple heats and at the end of the 30 heats with 12 riders the top 4 are selected to go into a final. This format gives the riders many opportunities to go on the water and showcase their skills against a variety of adversaries.
The competition started with the trials to allow 3 of the top Turkish riders to meet the top 9 international competitors. Aykurt and Ozen qualified in the round while Gelenk had to go another heat to make into the main event. Lake put a great show with his skim board and landed some very technical tricks but could not get the air he needed to advance.
The heats were five minutes with two minute transitions, this made the action none stop and feature some big moves. Ariel Corniel was one of the stands going big while landing some technical passes. Paul Serin put on a good airshow. Local rider Taner Aykurt impressed the judges with clean back mobes and 360 boardoffs. Smith also had some great powered moves showing how complete of a rider he is after winning two races the same days. Florian Grubber and Kerneur also went for some big air but were lacking the powered moves.
The competition will resume tomorrow and the two winners of the PKRA Burn Kite masters in Istanbul will be crowned. More slalom races will be run; will Lake or Grubber come back and regain the lead form Smith? Or will smith keep on winning?