POWERFUL PONIENTE PRIMES VALDEVAQUEROS FOR THE FINALS - DAY TWO TARIFA STRAPLESS PRO
28th June 2017: Valdevaqueros, Tarifa, Spain
Report: Matt Pearce / Photos: Ydwer van der Heide
Race director Juan Antonio Aragon laid out the schedule for the second day of competition here at the Tarifa Strapless Pro just after noon. The stronger Poniente winds were blowing more onshore and it was clear nobody would be struggling for power in today's heats!
As the wind continued to increase in strength, pushing up towards 30 knots, round two would consist of eight two-rider heats in which the competitors would be battle to stay in the competition.
Great viewing at Valdevaqueros today / Photo: Ydwer van der Heide
The Tarifa contingent rode well, cheering each other on in between heats alongside the Tarifenian crowds who rooted for their local heroes. Cape Verdean Luis Brito upset the party when he seized the advantage over David Marin, but his big crowd pleasing tricks close-in to the beach soon had them won over, such as crazy horse back loop kiteloops, one footers and sizeable kiteloops. Marin was landing tricks on both tacks but couldn't match Luis for height or power.
In heat 10 Carla Herrera Oria went head-to-head with Nicola Abadjiev and both riders seemingly struggled at first in the stronger winds. The local support was strong for Carla as the only girl now in the contest and she threw front rolls and board-offs in both directions while Abadjiev took a more conservative approach and managed to secure the win.
Keahi de Aboitiz, ever stylish / Photo: Ydwer van der Heide
Heat 11 saw Simon Jossten face off against Keahi de Aboitiz who was powered and committed from the off with smooth front rolls and well-executed tricks in both directions. The conditions suited Keahi's riding style but Jossten kept answering back with stylish skate-inspired tricks like pop shuvits and finger flips. Keahi was however able to work the conditions more to his advantage to take the win with more height, power and variety in his riding.
Local hero Juli Rebollo / Photo: Ydwer van der Heide
Towards the end of round two the wind had increased further with some riders dropping down to seven metre kites and Juli Rebollo was able to beat fellow local Jhon Palacios, coming very close to a double front roll towards the end of heat 15.
Gustavo Arrojo / Photo: Ydwer van der Heide
The crowd went wild for the final heat of round two which was between Gustavo Arrojo and Elvis Nunes. Nunes had been competing with six stitches in his foot and wasn't able to match Arrojo's big air displays close into shore, but threw down a massive crazy horse and sustained some heavy crashes, limping back to his board time after time. What a warrior!
ROUND THREE - THE ROUND ONE WINNERS GET BACK IN ACTION
Luis Brito / Photo: Ydwer van der Heide
Round three would see eight more heats in quick succession and the action stepping up a notch. In heat 17 Ralph Boelen took on the rangey Cape Verdean Luis Brito and his low angle technical tricks were an interesting contrast to Brito's big rotations and powered riding style. It was a tough heat to call and Ralph's relief was clear to see when he was announced as the winner.
Ralph admitted: “I was worried when I saw Luis' back loop kiteloop as I knew it was going to be a big scoring trick so I was happy to still win.”
Jan Marcos Riveras / Photo: Ydwer van der Heide
Jan Marcos Riveras followed up with a conclusive win over Nicola Abadjiev before a hotly anticipated showdown between Keahi and Mitu Monteiro in heat 20. Keahi landed a front shuvit three and a big powered kiteloop but it wasn't quite enough to best yet another surgical display from Mitu. Keahi said that he felt it had been very close and, after his heat, sought clarification on the outcome from the judges. This underlined how closely contested the heat had been and two of the five judges had indeed scored him higher than Mitu.
Mitu Monteiro / Photo: Ydwer van der Heide
Another huge heat followed suit in which Airton took to the water against Tony Ciliberto. The conditions suited his powerful style and he attacked the heat with the biggest back loops any of the judges have ever seen as well as a supremely technical 313 handlepass - a trick nobody else in strapless has yet mastered! Airton made good use of the small kickers that were starting to appear in the shore break and the crowd's response mirrored the judges. His win was no surprise!
Airton Cozzolino / Photo: Ydwer van der Heide
In heat 21 Sandro Pisu adopted the 'shock and awe' approach, going for big airs and waving to the crowd in the middle of a huge crazy horse while Jose Maria Neto rode a more conservative heat which wasn't enough to overcome the wow factor of Pisu's display.
Sandro Pisu / Photo: Ydwer van der Heide
After that, Paulino Perreira charged off the beach with his flat-out riding style, going trick for trick with Kiko Roig Torres, one of the youngest riders in the competition. Kiko wasn't to be deterred by his more experienced rival and launched sizeable airs and a stylish board-off transition but the sheer amount of power behind Paulino's riding and his big tricks close into shore were enough to take the heat.
Paulino Pereira, practicing after the final heat / Photo: Ydwer van der Heide
From there we were into the last two heats of the day and, in heat 23, Camille Delannoy cemented his growing reputation as a rider to watch in this discipline with a near faultless heat in which he stuck a double front roll before coming close to a triple. Local rider Juli Rebollo left nothing on the water and made multiple full-tilt attempts at double front rolls and front roll shuvits but it wasn't enough to unseat Delannoy.
Camille Delannoy / Photo: Ydwer van der Heide
The final heat of the day, heat 24, saw the crowd on their feet once again for local rider Gustavo Arrojo and current world champion Matchu Lopes. Gustavo went in all guns blazing with huge airs, rotations close into shore and an attempted double front roll which was very close. He couldn't match Lopes' substantial technical ability though and Matchu secured his place in tomorrow's semi finals with a polished display that included a clean air 360, some stylish grabbed rotations, a front roll to blind and the near miss of a double front roll shuvit.
Matchu Lopes / Photo: Ydwer van der Heide
Great ending to a super day: Gustavo Arrojo and Matchu Lopes / Photo: Ydwer van der Heide
Heat 24 marked the end of play for day two and saw some of the top riders heading back out to practice. Many of these guys train alone in the off-season, keeping their latest tricks secret, but when they're at events they're forced to practise alongside their fellow competitors so it was exciting to see them going for new variations on tricks they'd stuck earlier that day. Perhaps a taste of things to come tomorrow in the semis?!
There are steady Poniente winds forecasted tomorrow with a riders' briefing taking place at 1pm and a first possible start at 1.30pm.
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