Day 1 - Gomez and Castro Win the Spanish Wildcards
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The first day of the Tarifa Pro Kite Tour 2014 got underway today, beginning with the Spanish trials for the two remaining wild cards. With nine men and two women competing, it was Maxi Gomez and Julia Castro winning in their respective divisions to put them straight into the main event.
The day started out looking as if it was going to be a typical thermal day of west wind. As the sun warmed the land, the wind began to increase and it seemed that by the afternoon, the competition would get underway. Following lunch, a surprise shift in the wind occurred and soon began to fill into the competition area from the easterly direction.
At 3:30 the red flag went up, and the first of five heats of the Spanish wildcard trials hit the water in 15-20 knots of wind. Showing an impressive level of riding from all the competitors, it was clear that the talent pool in Spain is clearly capable of producing even more future world champions.
The wildcards have now been decided and the trials for the remaining spots in the main event are next up for the freestyle discipline. Interestingly, this is the second event of the 2014 PKRA tour season where there will be trials run for the women’s discipline.
With only an hour of competition throughout the day, there was plenty of time for riders to chill out at the event village, go for a kite, or just hang out and enjoy the day at the beach. Many riders chose to soak in the sun or simply take in the spectacle of a windy afternoon on the beach in Tarifa.
Catching up with current world champion Gisela Pulido about having a tour stop in her back yard, she commented “I think it’s a good advantage because I train here every day. It doesn’t matter what conditions we will have, I will know them, but sometimes, since it’s your home spot, people are going to pay a lot of attention to you, so there’s going to be some pressure. I will try to handle it and use it to do well, but I’m just really happy to have the PKRA back in Tarifa”
Tomorrow’s riders meeting is scheduled for 3:30 pm to allow for riders and kite enthusiasts to participate in the Virgin Kitesurfing Armada Spain at 2:00 pm, which is intended to set the world record for the ‘largest parade of kitesurfers’ to increase awareness of the sport and raise money for charity.
With so much action to be had throughout the coming days, the Tarifa Pro Kite Tour 2014 is going to be one to watch. The forecast is expecting moderate east winds building throughout the day. Depending on the wind strength, race director Erik Troostheide will make the call whether to begin the main event trials, or the Big Air discipline.