Exciting Close to the Fuerteventura Grand Slam
The sixth and final day of the Fuerteventura Kiteboarding Grand Slam wrapped up today with the completion of the freestyle double elimination that saw Liam Whaley (ES) and Gisela Pulido (ES) sweeping the top podium spots in Spanish waters and in front of a home crowd. Earning his first top podium spot ever, Whaley held off the current point leader, Christophe Tack (BE), to retain his first place finish in the single elimination.
In a spectacular final for the women, Pulido managed to climb from her second place position in the singles to beat out Karolina Winkowska (PL) by less than a point, forcing a super-final, where Pulido would win once again in an exciting finale. “Winning in Spain is awesome because I feel the support of the people cheering for me on the beach. I just couldn’t believe that I won twice over Karolina - that just means a lot for me and my mind. After coming second so many times, you lose confidence, so it gives me a lot of motivation,” commented Pulido.
Freestyle highlights proved to be some very close heats, including the heat that pitted Aaron Hadlow against Tack, where Tack won by .09. Commenting on the heat, PKRA judge Ian Sleuyter remarked, “Christophe and Aaron share similar styles, both throw down very big tricks with high technical difficulty, sometime luck comes into play, the heat could have gone either way.”
Following the freestyle competition, two more rounds of slalom racing were run in 17- 25 knots of wind. In the women’s fleet, Annelous Lammerts (NL) earned a first and a sixth place finish, giving her the results needed to take over the first place spot from Bibiana Magaji (SK). Manuela Jungo (CH) managed to climb into the third position by stealing the win in the last race of the day, pushing local favorite Julia Castro (ES) into the fourth place.
The men’s fleet saw no movement in the top three with Julien Kerneur (FR) and Ozzie Smith (SA) holding on to first and second respectively, despite a win for Smith and poor results from Kerneur. Paul Serin (FR) held on to third as well, and strong finishes from Maxi Gomez (ES) advanced him to the forth place spot.
Overall, the Fuerteventura Kiteboarding Grand Slam proved to be a giant success with many close and amazing on-water battles throughout the week. In true Fuerteventura style, we saw a variety of conditions, which challenged the riders on all levels and allowed for copious amounts of exciting kiteboarding action for the fans and spectators, both on the beach and online. As the deserving champions were recognized for their achievements at the awards ceremony, the 13th running of the PKRA Fuerteventura Grand Slam came to a close with great triumph.