World Kiteboarding Leauge freestyle action is underway at the El Gouna RRD Center in Egypt. Saturday, November 4th was registration day and Sunday, November 5th marked the start of the Qualifier League contest. Competitors were greeted to steady wind from the start and the first rounds of the Qualifier League ladder have been completed. Find out how it all went down by reading the report below, provided by the World Kiteboarding League. Photos by Svetlana Romantsova.
Day one in the idyllic freestyle spot of El Gouna started with a bang, with the renowned Egyptian winds blowing from the start. The skipper’s meeting was held at 7.30 am, and the heats commenced directly after. Heats 1 to 10 of the Men’s Qualifier were completed, and Heats 1 to 6 for the women.
Men’s Round 1
Heat 1 of the Men’s Qualifier League saw Dominican rider Luis Alberto Cruz dominate from the start. He successfully landed all of his tricks, which included a 317 and KGB. He was followed through to Round 3 by young up-and-coming rider Chistian Tio from the Philippines.
Heat 2 saw the young Brazilian ripper Manoel Soares show some outstanding talent on the water, landing a massive 319 that scored him 8.17 points. His performance was exemplary, showing that the level of some of the Qualifier League riders is up to the level of the top Elite. Louka Pitot from Mauritius stomped a nice Front Blind Mobe and placed himself in second position, opening the door directly to Round 3.
Heat 3 was a win for Italian North rider Gianmaria Coccoluto who rode consistently and landed an impressive Front Blind Mobe. German favourite Linus Erdmann rode a good heat and joined him in Round 3.
Young Mexican rider Anthar Racca was in fine form in Heat 4, and managed to pull off a near-perfect Slim7, as well as an impressive Double Heart Attack. It was French rider Val Garat who came in 2nd position also ensuring his spot in Round 3.
One of the youngest riders of the Qualifier League, Jeremy Burlando, came up against some of the top riders in Heat 5. He managed to hold his ground throughout the heat, finishing in 4th position and passing to Round 2, a great accomplishment for the 11-year-old. French rider Lucas Ferreira suffered an unfortunate accident, injuring his knee and forcing him to withdraw from the heat. Fellow frenchman Paul Serin sealed the deal for 1st place, with Arthur Guillebert close behind him.
The contest heated up during Heat 6 as Tom Bridge landed a clean Backside 317 and Slim 7, with style and power, clinching the win just ahead of Nicolas Delmas. Both riders progress directly to Round 3.
Women’s Round 1
After a short break, the Women’s Round 1 was next in sequence. The El Gouna winds continued to blow and increased slightly as the competition entered the afternoon. The youngest female rider from the WKL, Mikaili Sol was on fire as she landed solid tricks that included a Slimchance and Blind Judge. Elite rider Rita Arnaus from Spain also joined her advancing to Round 3.
Local rider Anna Hashem performed well in Heat 2 and advanced to the next round. Vera Klabbers from the Netherlands gained a spot directly in Round 3.
It was a tight run between Pauline Valesa and Francesca Bagnoli in Heat 3, but finally, it was Italian Bagnoli who maintained her focus and gained the desired spot in Round 3, Valesa passing through to Round 2.
The young 17-year-old Claudia Leon from Spain impressed the judges and spectators with a great performance in Heat 4, beating her more experienced competitors and passing to Round 3. Maureen Castelle came in 2nd place after landing a nice S-bend to Blind.
Men’s Round 2
The optimal wind conditions allowed us to continue with Men’s Round 2, where Maxime Chabloz from Switzerland improved on his earlier performance and landed a well-executed Backside 317. He won the heat, followed by Simon Lamusse from Mauritius.
Sergei Borisov had his eye on the win for Heat 8, and rode a stylish and powerful heat, giving him the 1st position. Rens van der Schoot was also determined to remain in the competition, and his focus and determination put him in second place.
Robinson Hilario from the Dominican Republic was keen to gain a place in Round 3 during Heat 9, and his impressive 317 and Double Hinterberger Mobe 5 was enough to put him there. French rider Julien Krikken followed a few points behind him.
Women’s Round 2
Women’s Round 2 was next in sequence, and it was local rider Natalia Lambrecht who showed great promise in her first WKL competition. She managed to beat her more experienced opponents, gaining her a well-deserved spot in the semi-finals. Therese Taabbel from Denmark also passed to the semi-finals. From Heat 6, both French riders Pauline Valesa and Maureen Castelle will be passing through, after both ladies showed their competing experience above their fellow opponents.
Christian Tio from the Philippines produced his best performance of the day in Heat 10, landing all of his tricks and finishing it off with an outstanding Slim 7 scoring 9.1 points, the highest score of the day. Definitely one to watch during this competition, he has now secured himself a position in the Qualifier League Final. Joining him will be young Brazilian hot shot Manoel Soares, who rode incredibly well all day and is firmly in contention for a podium spot for this Qualifier League event.
The final heat of the day, Heat 11, was stopped after the third trick attempt, as the sun was setting and the visibility was no longer suitable. It will resume tomorrow morning with the first possible start at 9.30am.
We remind you that the live stream will be running as from the 8th of November, but meanwhile, you can view all ladders and the live scoring here.
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