The first day of competition at the MINI Kiteboard World Cup was slow building, but by four in the afternoon the thermal winds had turned on and the slalom was set to start on the Riviera Nayarit. Bryan Lake and Warenka Smunty both won their first finals in spectacular fashion. The heats were close in the beginning but by the end of the day both finals were decided on the last leg of the race. All the riders were happy about the new format and are looking forward to more racing tomorrow in front of the Hard Rock Hotel.
The 22 men ladder was set up so that the top 4 men of the first 4 heats would advance out of the first round, then the top two would advance through the quarters and semis to make a 4 men final. In the first heat of the day the favorites, 2012 world slalom champion Julien Kerneur and Sean Farley both advanced. The next heat Adam Kock and Kevin Langeree also advanced. Kevin was on a twin tip and was perfect on the start but Adam just had more board speed and easily advanced to the next round. Heat 3 Adam Withington and Gunnar Biniasch battled for the lead and Alex Pastor came in third. In Heat 4, the last heat of the round Bryan lake dominated the field and advanced.
The quarter finals had no major upset except for Farley who was disqualified for taking out Basave in the second heat, all the other favorites advanced to the semis where the competition started heating up. The first semifinal Kerneur and Kock easily qualified for the final and had to wait for the very competitive 2nd semifinal to finish. Ramirez and Biniasch gave Lake and Whithington a good run but could not finish in the top two to advance to the final.
The Lake, Kock, Kerneur and Withington final was close right from the start. All four men had perfect starts just a couple of meters apart. Adam Kock took the lead from the start and had to hold off Lake for much of the race, with Bryan trying to cut inside at the marks to try to get a lead. Their kites made contacts a few times but unless you are reckless you can push the limits in Slalom racing. Kerneur had some troubles at the first mark and Whithington capitalized on it to secure a 3rd place finish. Lakes aggressive kiting paid off when he was finally able to take the inside line at the last mark and accelerate to the finish line, Adam held the lead most of the race, but Bryan’s strategy paid off with a win.
The 7 girls had a winner take all race. The girls were a little slow at the start but once the race was underway it was very exciting. Erika was just a couple of meters early and had to be disqualified. Then it was a close battle between Warenka and Arroyo all the way to the last leg when Warenka was able to grab the lead and win the first women heat and final of the day.
Tomorrow the ladders will be a little different with two six men semifinals and one six men final. Make sure you follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and info.