Waking up to overcast skies and a slight breeze, the competitors here in Hainan Island prepared for the final day of competition, hoping to complete the double elimination heats and possibly even get some slalom in.
Each competitor retained high expectations for this closing day in such an enchanting place; however, the wind gods turned out to have different plans. Hanging around the event site checking emails, playing games, and socializing, the riders paid close attention to the official notice board and any sign of a greater breeze.
Lunch came and went with still no wind, and each time the wind was checked, it proved to be far below required levels. The cutoff time for the day drew closer, and PKRA competitors eventually came to terms with the fact that there would be no action on this final day. As such, discussions shifted to the next and last event of the 2013 season, and how the results of this stop will affect the standing going into New Caledonia.
And while the lack of wind was disappointing, it did nothing to take away from what a stellar event this China stop has been. In speaking of the day, Race Director Erik Troostheide explained, “The wind in the morning showed promise but unfortunately contestable conditions never materialized so we had riders and staff on standby all day. With the falling tide we had real hopes of being able to run the remaining heats. There is just so much on the line regarding overall rankings at this point and now it really comes down to the last event.”
Considering the double eliminations did not come to completion, each round that finished did count, therefore the top four results from the singles will hold. Now, the battles for top podium placements remain anyone’s game, and the point spread has possibly never been so close for both the men and the women. Youri Zoon (NED), Alex Pastor (ESP), Alberto Rondina (ITA), Kevin Langeree (NED), Bruna Kajiya (BRA), Gisela Pulido (ESP), and Karolina Winkowska (POL) represent just a few of the many riders who will now head straight to the next stop with podium visions in the forefront of their competitive minds. The crowning of the 2012 World Champion is now just days away.
At the close of this event, one thing is certain – Hainan Island has proven to be an excellent location for such a larges scale event, and the place and people only contributed to the wonderful time that was had here by the top riders in the world and the entire PKRA organization. For the first time, PKRA slalom shined and surprised many – standing out as a challenging and fun discipline that will only grow with time. Many riders now look forward to returning to this place with great anticipation for both their freestyle and racing adventures.