Day 3 – Corniel and Pulido Win the Big Air
Day three of the Tarifa Pro Kite Tour 2014 went large on all fronts with Ariel Corniel (DO) and current world champion Gisela Pulido (ES) taking home the top spots of the Big Air discipline with non-stop kiteboarding action running throughout the day.
Getting off to an early start, the men’s and women’s freestyle trials took advantage of the 20-25 knots Levante wind for the early part of the morning. Twenty-six men and twelve women competed for the coveted spots in the freestyle main event. For those riders that participated in all three parts of the day’s competition, it was a demanding day, beginning with the freestyle qualifiers, the spectacular final rounds of the Big Air division, and finally the freestyle single elimination.
The Big Air discipline highlighted the day as strong winds were gusting up to 35 knots. The timing of the jumps played out to be very important, as there were some large holes on the inside of the competition area. Although luck did play a part at times, the riders that consistently went the biggest, moved on to the next round. Massive jumps were had by all of the top finishers who combined variations on spins, kite-loops and board-offs for both the men’s and women’s divisions. Each high jump sent the crowds lining the beach into a roar, clearly pumping the competitors up with confidence to go even bigger on their next pass.
Local favorites Liam Whaley (ES) and Gisela Pulido made their home crew proud on their home turf with a solid second for Whaley and Pulido’s win. However, in the men’s division, it was Corniel taking first in the final with consistent big jumps, combined with inverted spins, and a risky double handle pass.
This is a big win for Corniel who rose to prominence in 2007 by winning the freestyle discipline in his home spot of Cabarete, Dominican Republic, a result that he has been working to repeat since. “I feel really happy and content about my performance today competing against so many great riders and to win in the challenging conditions that we had in the finals” commented Corniel. “For me, the big air discipline is one of the most explosive aspects of the sport. Since it was the original discipline from which the sport developed, it is great to have it coming back now, especially here in Tarifa with such good conditions and strong winds” he added.
By 5:30 pm, the wind was still strong enough for powered freestyle conditions and the single elimination of the men’s freestyle main event got underway. In the end, only six heats were completed as the wind continued to drop, with riders struggling at times on their 12-13m kites. Soon after, the competition was called for a day with hopes that the Lavante winds would hold for another early start for the next morning.
With six days left of the event period, the freestyle discipline now shifts to center stage and will be the priority in the coming days. If strong wind conditions return after completing the freestyle double elimination, another round of the Big Air competition will be run.
Riders will meet at 9:30 am with a first possible start at 10 am.