We’re back for another day of action! With three days in a row of solid, building wind, the crew is stoked on the conditions. Coming off an action-packed day yesterday, the judges and crowd are looking for another day of big tricks, interesting combinations, and one of the most powerful displays of strength and execution in kiteboarding!
Besides the action, one of the most incredible parts of the competition is the energy on the beach. The locals are stoked to see kiteboarding in Salinas del Rey. In fact, in just one year since the GKA first launched in Colombia, this spot has seen a huge boost in popularity, with new hotels, and restaurants popping up and tourism exploding here on the Northern Coast of South America.
Men’s Round Four
We started the day with men’s Round Four. The top two riders advanced while the bottom two were eliminated, meaning that it started to get serious here in Colombia! Athletes started out on 10-meter kites as the wind filled in over the countryside.
Juan Rodriquez (COL), who came in third here last year is one of those riders who always has a smile on his face. You can see the emotion and his love for his country shine on and off the water. Unfortunately Juan lost out in the quarter finals in an absolutely stacked heat (more on that below).
The highest heat scores of Round Four were landed by Valentin Garat (FRA) who scored a 8.87 for his super solid 317 and Valentin Rodiquez (COL) who executed a gigantic 319 scoring 8.5 points! Despite these high scores, it was still early on in the competition and the riders were working on maintaining their energy for the finals. The energy in these rounds was one of a reserved confidence and determination. We quickly progressed through Round Four as riders got eliminated and moved into the Quarter Final Heats.
Every quarter-final heat was absolutely stacked with phenomenal athletes!
Moving through into the semi-finals is one of our youngest competitors, Finn Flugel (GER), who at just 13 years old has dreamt of making it into the top eight. That was his dream and after learning about the new format in Qatar, spent two weeks training on his toeside tricks so that he could perform with this new criteria. The emotion was writ large on his face and he could not find words to express his absolute stoke and disbelief at reaching his goal.
Luis Alberto Cruz (DOM) did not fail to disappoint today and his Slim Chance 9 was absolutely insane! He scored an outstanding 9.4 taking over the top spot for the highest score of the day! Maxime Chabloz (CHE) landed a stylish Backmobe 5 with both a nose grab and a seatbelt to secure his spot in the semi-finals.
In the final heat of the day, pure energy and power were on display with Carlos Mario (BRA) facing off against Giamaria Cococoluto (ITA), newcomer Jack Rieder (CAN) and local favorite Juan Rodriquez (COL).
Mario delivered insane combos with a tootsie roll into a double Hinterberger 5. As well as a beautiful Crowmobe 5. Juan Rodriquez opened up with a huge Backmobe 5. Carlos Mario lands a huge double heart attack right out of the gate. What sets the top athletes apart from the other competitors is how little they crash. They’re able to law down their hardest tricks in changing conditions.
They’ll be joined by Swiss phenom Maxime Chabloz who added a lot of grabs into his tricks scoring super high with a backmobe 5 with both a nose grab and a seatbelt and Arthur Guillebert (FRA) who shows consistency with a lot of power. He got super rewarded because his moves were really inverted. As well as the legend Luis Alberto Cruz and stylish Louka Pitot (FRA) and finally super consistent Manoel Saores and our youngster Finn Flugel.
Coccoluto laid down some combos of his own, pairing a Crowmobe 5 with a backside 3. As the heats advance, we’ve been seeing more and more combos. Juan answered back with the exact same combo, getting just a slightly lower score than Coccoluto. In the end, it was Coccoluto and Mario that managed to secure their spot in the semi-finals.
Tomorrow is the big day as we plan to progress through the semi-final and final heats! A winner will be declared.
MEN’S SEMI-FINAL HEATS:
Arthur Guillebert (FRA)
Carlos Mario (BRA)
Manoel Soares (BRA)
Luis Alberto Cruz (DOM)
Finn Flugel (GER)
Louka Pitot (FRA)
Maxime Chabloz (CHE)
Gianmaria Coccoluto (ITA)
WOMEN’S SEMI-FINAL HEATS:
Therese Taabbel (DEN)
Alexandra Torres (ESP)
Claudia Leon (ESP)
Bruna Kajiya (BRA)
Estefania Rosa (BRA)
Matilda Roux (FRA)
Nathalie Lambrecht (SWE)
Mikaili Sol (USA)
The first possible start is at 10:00 local time.