PKRA 2008 – Mexico
The first event of the PKRA for 2008, which was held in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, was super early this year. I was lucky I was just back in the UK from training in time to head back across the Atlantic. Despite the early date there was a good turn out and the UK riders made a good presence. Aaron, Tom Court and Lewis Crathern held up the UK flag in the men’s freestyle, me and Steph Bridge in the ladies freestyle and course racing and Denzil Williams in the guy’s course racing.
Aaron headed out with Lewis a week early to train and I went out just before the event with Steph and Denzil. We stayed on the main 5th Avenue of Playa del Carmen which is an endless line of tourist Mexican craft shops and outside bars and restaurants. It is a short 5 minute walk to the beach past Starbucks (made my week, they kept running out of soy milk though!!!) where there is a great set up with chill out beds to watch the World Cup action.
The first day brought light wind so the freestylers had to wait and the race crew ran three course races. Yes, I can just about go up wind in 10 knots on a 10.5 Ion2, but just not very fast! It was fun though and a gentle introduction to course racing!
The next day brought much better conditions and everyone was nicely powered on their big kites. So the freestyle single eliminations ran straight off. I had an amazing day, everything went right AND I discovered we could get free sushi for lunch!! You can’t get better than that! I won my first heat and then lost the next to Gisela so I wasn’t too upset! Tom won his first heat then came up against Aaron (unlucky!) and Lewis went out in the same round. They both put up a good fight. Aaron finished second to Kevin Langeree in the singles giving him big motivation for the doubles final. There was then time for a quick two course races. Somehow I managed to win the first! I was so shocked I rode straight into the finishing buoy so crossed the line flying head first! It was so hilarious I am still laughing about it now! The win was so unexpected when Susi Mai came in third she asked me if I’d only been round once! Steph won the next race and Denzil was keeping a steady with fourth or fifth places. An excellent day and it was finished off with a caramel macchiato and steak, perfect!
Friday morning was straight into the doubles. The wind was stronger today and there were biggish rolling waves with nice flat sections between. People were putting up bigger kites than normal though as there was a really strong rip running through the competition area. Launching was a nightmare as there was little room on the beach with hundreds of spectators so you had to unwind your lines as you walk out into the waves but it was nearly impossible to stand up against the current! What’s more you had to dash out in the three minutes between each heat whilst trying to maintain a calm, composed attitude ready for your heat! The Brits all had a good day. Lewis advanced through his first two heats and got knocked out in the third against Marc Jacobs so finished a credible thirteenth. Tom Court also did the UK proud winning three heats before loosing to Alvaro. Alvaro definitely deserves a mention as he was on fire! He advanced through the rounds with the crowd loving his balls out attitude. He ripped his kite mid heat so was quickly given Aaron’s AH Pro kite which he proceeded to kick ass on even more! Awesome fun to watch!
Steph put on a good solo show in her first doubles heat as Jadie Delille did not show for her heat. She then put on an excellent fight against Julie Simsar but unfortunately it wasn’t quite enough for the judges. I went straight into the same round after winning the first heat in the singles but lost to Audrey Meyer from Cabarete who was ripping so Steph and I finished equal. Aaron put on an amazing show and won both consecutive final heats against Kevin as the wind dropped to almost unkitable conditions to win the event. Well done Aaron J! After a long day of freestyle the course racing was postponed for the next day so the freestylers got on a Friday night of celebration!
Saturday morning brought some bleary eyes and a super gusty offshore wind of 4 to 18 knots so racing was postponed. Spirits remained high as the past few days had been good so everyone made the most of a break and relaxed in the sun ready for a full day of course racing and freestyle demos to finish the event on Sunday. The morning brought gusty cross shore from the left conditions and ‘mui frio!’ (VERY cold!). Well for Mexico when you thought you didn’t need to take a wetsuit! Four course racers were planned and then a freestyle demonstration in the form of a couple of crowd-pleasing fun heats. Angela Peral was meant to be doing one but was cold and tired so I took her place and had great fun in a heat with Julie Simsar. Aaron and Kevin concluded the show with an amazing heat. Kevin went for some crowd pleasing old school moves and Aaron went massive with every trick huge and double!! Prize giving followed with champagne fights and big checks and the first PKRA of 2008 was over.
We have one day post event to check out the kiting and the sights in Tulum up the coast and then back to the sunny UK J
A big thanks to everyone that made it possible for us all to get out here to compete and to all who put on the event, it had a great vibe and I hope the rest off the year runs in a similar way, I can’t wait for the next stop in France! Personally I would also like to add a little thank you to Denzil for being so patient waiting for me as I love to have a super long shower and for waiting for Steph and me when we frequently got side tracked into a shop or two ;-)
Photos are courtesy of any of the UK clan who had the camera, namely me, Steph, Denzil and Tom.
Photo Credit: UK Clan