The Cayman Islands played host to a huge weekend of competition. The Rock International Open 2016 welcomed pro riders, who joined local riders for a busy weekend of freestyle, racing, and big air. Continue reading the full report from the event organizers, below.

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The wind gods answered the Cayman Islands’ prayers as The Rock International Open (TRIO) returned last weekend, welcoming back international pros to compete in freestyle and big air while local riders challenged themselves in an amateur competition and twin tip race.

Group photo from TRIO 2016

Group photo from TRIO 2016

With winds coming in from the chilly north west, organisers knew they needed to strike while the iron was hot and met riders at the beach at 8am with the first race starting just an hour later. Heats then ran throughout the day with military-style precision – 8-minute heats with 2-minute transitions were managed seamlessly by competition directors Matthew Dors & Richard Lewis, while Alex Fox, Neil Hutchinson and Ben Meyer took charge of the scoring from the judges tower. Ben commented, “I’ve never seen anything like it – to cram that much competition into one day, getting all the competitors organized and having consistent wind from dawn until dusk – I’ve never seen an event as well organized as this.”

Brandon Bowe took the men's freestyle crown.

Brandon Bowe scored a spot on the men’s freestyle podium.

The riders were impressed too. Sam Chilvers, who made the short trip from Cabarete said, “I had such a fantastic time at TRIO – it was by far the best event I have ever attended! So well organized, professional and the first competition I’ve ever seen to put up equal prize money for men and women. And above all – I had so much fun!”

The races got off to an exciting start in the morning with local instructor Mattias Cordovez taking an early points lead, only to be overtaken by fellow local legend Sinclair Palevecino in the afternoon while Jessica Winkler led the women’s fleet ahead of Cora Schwendke & Kamilla Wolar.

The twin tip racers

The twin tip racers made the most of a long day of solid wind.

Making the most of the strong wind, the hotly contested Big Air, in association with WOO, was up next starting with the ladies and Samantha Chilvers stealing the crown from Amy Strazlko, leaving Dioneia Vieira in third place. Then it was over to the guys who put on a spectacular show for the huge crowds assembled on the beach. After an injury for defending champion Chris Bobryk, Reno Reomeu and Jerome Cloetens progressed to the final with Reno eventually taking the title ahead of his younger teammate. It was an exciting surprising to see Sinclair Palavacino, a local rider, join them on the podium ahead of some of the more experienced pros.

Finally, the event everyone had been waiting for – freestyle. With perfect conditions, no one held anything back, delighting spectators with world class kiteboarding in the Junior, Amateur, Female and Male categories.

Jake Kelsick floats across a picturesque Cayman backdrop.

Jake Kelsick floats across a picturesque Cayman backdrop.

The female category saw an upset from Maya Lewis taking out Sam Chilvers in the small final with some big unhooked kiteloops, before Amy Strzalko went head to head with Dioneia Viera, pushing both girls to throw all of their biggest tricks in the final show down which saw flawless Dioneia come out on top.

In the men’s competition, Brandon Bowe was a late entry and brought the performance of his life to knock out Reno Romeu in the heats and take on Jerome Cloetens who narrowly piped him to the gold medal in the final.

After a full and exhausting day, organisers gave all the riders a bit of a lie in on Sunday before running some additional twin tip races and some “expression session” freestyle heats with cash prizes up for grabs. The focus was on fun with the girls riding in fancy dress and a special trophy for the biggest “crowd pleaser”.

For more information and photos from TRIO search for TRIO – Cayman Islands on Facebook.

Men's freestyle podium.

Cloetens, Bowe, and Romeu on the  Men’s freestyle podium.

Women's freestyle podium.

Vieira, Strzalko, and Lewis on the Women’s freestyle podium.

Full results:

Evolving Island Twin Tip – Female
1st Jessica Winkler
2nd Cora Schwendke
3rd Kamilla Wolar

Evolving Island Twin Tip – Male
1st Sinclair Palavecino
2nd Matias Cordovez
3rd Chris Lazinski

Evolving Island in association with WOO Big Air – Female
1st Samantha Chilvers
2nd Amy Strzalko
3rd Dioneia Vieira

Evolving Island in association with WOO Big Air – Male
1st Reno Romeu
2nd Jerome Cloetens
3rd Sinclair Palavecino

DART Freestyle – Juniors
1st Mark Cafero
2nd Sean Myers

DART Freestyle – Amateur
1st Sinclair Palavecino
2nd Luca Pollini
3rd Steve Lee

DART Freestyle – Female
1st Dioneia Vieira
2nd Amy Strzalko
3rd Maya Lewis

DART Freestyle – Male
1st Jerome Cloetens
2nd Brandon Bowe
3rd Reno Romeu

Sun 31st Jan, 2016 @ 12:00 pm


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