Day one of the 2014 Dakhla Kiteboarding World Cup saw the official opening ceremony for the event here in Morocco and offered up fresh and steady winds, allowing the Moroccan and international trials to finish up after a solid day of competition.
The first morning was full of anticipation for both freestyle and wave riders, who were eager to hear the plan for the day from race director Olaf Van Tol. With the days forecast calling for no swell, the wave riders and top-seated freestylers were released, as the first thing on tap for the day was the local wildcard and men’s freestyle trials.
Prior to the day’s competition, all 120 riders lined up for the official opening ceremony, while a motorcade of local and government officials arrived and greeted each and every competitor one by one. This official inauguration kicked off the start of this fifth consecutive PKRA event here in Dakhla, Morocco.
As the wind increased through the morning to 15-20 knots, the wildcard trials got underway. The trials showcased the best of the local Moroccan riders, with Mustapha Habachi and Youssef Kheribech earning the wildcard spots and moving straight into the main event.
19 heats in the regular men’s freestyle trials determined the 10 international riders to move into the main event. Notable performances came from Robinson Hilario, who rode with exceptional power after his second place finish in Panama. Youri Zoon rode strong for his first event back after his injury last summer, proving he is still a force to be reckoned with. Also noteworthy, Carlos Mario advanced into the main event after not passing trials in Panama, but having won first place at the last event of the 2013 season in Argentina.
No major upsets were seen as most of the top-level riders advanced; however, there were some potentially different outcomes as more than a few riders were not beginning their tricks inside the competition area – resulting in lesser score tallies.
The ladder draw for the men’s single elimination shows some difficult heats early on, ensuring that some intense battles are to be expected. With such high level riders going head-to-head in the singles, the stage is set for an adrenaline-packed and exciting week of action.
Tomorrow’s forecast for the wave spot of Oum Lamboir looks like it has potential as well. As such, wave competitors are on hold until approximately 2 pm, at which time, and if conditions are not favorable, the freestyle single eliminations will commence.