Praia de Alvor (28 June 2009) – Partly cloudy skies and light winds prevailed during much of the day at the event site where a significantly larger crowd gathered to watch their favorite kiteboarders in action. The day was noticeably warmer compared to yesterday. The lighter wind conditions only made course racing possible as freestyle requires a lot more wind to power the kites and propel the riders in the air to do their maneuvers.
The riders meeting was held at 12:00 pm as previously scheduled. However, the 1:00 pm first possible start was reset because the wind faded which made it quite impossible to launch the kites. At 2:15 pm, race director Olaf Van Tol signaled the start of the first race which quickly went underway followed by another one as soon as the 1st race was finished. There was a slight variation of the race course which was straight up, straight down with additional buoys on the water so the riders were much closer to the shore to the delight of the spectators at the beach.
A fifteen-minute break followed the two quick races followed by another longer break as the racers waited for the wind to pick up speed. After nearly 40 minutes, Van Tol signaled the start of the third race at 4:40, after which a final race was planned for the day but after several restarts, the final race was cancelled because the wind was quickly dying out and was too light to continue the event. By the end of the day, the wind was only blowing at around 4 – 6 knots. The day concluded around 6:00 pm.
Bruno Sroka (Cabrinha, FRA) is still the current leader in the men’s races, winning race #1 and #3. With a hefty lead from current second placer Charles Deleau (North, FRA), Sroka can almost smell the 2009 Championship title ahead. Meanwhile, another French rider Renaud Madier have been steadily climbing up the ladder with his Eclipse kite, winning today’s race #2. This put him to third place overall after 11 races and a mere 2.7 points away from Deleau. Weather permitting, if tomorrow’s races push through, the battle for second place position between these two countrymen will be an event to watch out for.
No change in the women’s standings as Steph Bridge (North, GBR) dominated all of today’s races and increasing her chance of bagging the first place podium position. Fabienne D’Ortoli (Naish, FRA) trails in second followed by Nayara Licariao (Brazil) with a mere 2 points separating the two.
The day was concluded around 6:00 pm while tomorrow’s riders’ meeting is set at 12:00 pm and a first possible start of 12:40 pm local time. After the conclusion of tomorrow’s races or freestyle, there will be an awarding ceremony at the beach.
Tonight’s party is at the Sports Bar where it is almost sure that most of the athletes will be out tonight to celebrate given the wind forecast for tomorrow which does not look promising – only about two hours of 13 – 14 knots wind speed with 60% cloudy conditions.
An interesting note today is that there were a lot of discussions about the performance and possibilities of kiting in light wind conditions. Most of the athletes had added extra kite line to the standard stock line length (average 25-27 meters). The longest lines used today was 43 meters because longer lines make the kites feel bigger thus giving more power to kite in lighter winds.