Friday, July 13, 2007

This past month

Finally here is what I have been up to over the passed month. It started a few days after the Protest photoshoot where I headed to the Dominican Republic for the 4th round of the PKRA World Tour. I remember the Dominican Republic as a pretty good destination to train and so turned up a week early (like most other PKRA riders) to get some practise in for the event.

In fact things were a bit trickier then previous years to say the least. It wasn’t chop! It was more like chop on top of swell. Landing any tricks to blind was near enough impossible and believe me I tried!!! I spent a whole week on trying to land 100% of my tricks until the day of the competition where I realised a different technique was necessary. I had gone from landing backs to blind, down loops raileys to blind and raileys to blind to landing absolutely nothing to blind and trashing my kites in the process!!! I had to land my air handle passes plus big kite loops and down loops were vital! If only I could land some powered passes!!! Surface passing was near enough out of the question!

I started the week with a downwinder from Bozo beach to En Cuentro. I guess that’s about 7km’s or something. I took my surfboard as there were some small waves and I cruised or attempted to rip and slash what waves there were. I had a couple of nice size one’s for the day and I made a few gybes as well. Well just 3 out of about 100 but it’s a start, but after that it was freestyle, freestyle and freestyle!!!

Photo: Roberto Foresti - Canon

The competition was a mixture of good and bad heats , but generally it was a great event. There was great organisation and the conditions aside from being choppy were perfect. Powered 8m or 10m weather everyday! I had a couple of wicked heats including my best one against Gizella Pulido who is just 13 years old and leading the tour (pesky kids, don’t they have school?) I took out my 10m Naish Torch 3 thinking well if I can’t match her tricks I may as well try mine as big and powered as I can. She took her 5m and she isn’t that small anymore! I landed a huge handle pass and down loop s bend, F16, front roll surface handle pass and really nearly made my front mobe, so I was really pleased, but of course Gizella did make her front mobe and her blind judge and some other stuff, so I didn’t make it through, but that was fun and I did my best so no complaints!!! In the end with a mixture of riding well and riding bad I finished 7th – not as good as I was hoping, but with my final heat as it were I can’t complain.

On the whole Dominican Republic was a great trip. There was some great kiting, great companionship and great parties. In my mind that is 3 things that you cant ask anymore for from a trip. I look forward to going back there some day. Mind you I did forget to say… watch out for the spiders! Here is the aftermath from a bite I received out there. The spider didn’t actually have a mouth that size, but after the infection and everything this is what it looks like!!! No more kiting for me until that’s healed plus daily visits to the doctors for two weeks L Yummmmm!!!

Next up…

Straight out of Dominican Republic we had an event in Tarifa, Spain. It was a tiring transition because the event in the DR finished on the Sunday, we flew on the Monday, landed the Tuesday night/weds morning due to the bomb alerts in London and were competing on the Wednesday afternoon.

Everyone was exhausted and so was I. The spider bite on my back was throbbing and hadn’t yet arranged any accommodation.

From the beach the event looked amazing. Movistar had really gone to town with the organisation and there were hundreds and hundreds of spectators, but the best thing about the Wednesday afternoon was the conditions. The wind was around 18-20mph so was strong enough for my favourite kite (10m Naish Torch 3) and the water was pancake flat in comparison to the DR. I had Jalou Langeree, my team mate in the first heat and a tough competitior. After getting over the initial shock that we were competing on the day of arrival I took a step back and thought ‘yes’these are the conditions where I am most likely to beat Jalou. The forecast for the following days were to pick up to mega winds and in those conditions the standard levels out and Jalou loves the strong wind perhaps even more then I do. I had my head on and I landed my best heat to date with a back loop to blind surface pass, railey to blind surface pass, down loop railey to blind with a surface pass, front loop to toe surface pass, air handle pass plus a big F16 and some smaller filler moves. I was on it and knew that Jalou didn’t yet have the ability to beat that heat (but also I know she will do soon, so I’m not sitting on my laurels). However that was it for the good conditions and that heat was around 7pm in the evening!

Photo - Roberto Foresti - Canon

From there on the conditions went out of the window crazy!!! We had over-powered smallest kite weather for the rest of the freestyle. It began with what now seems like a calm 35-40knots, but by the end of that day it was gusting 55-60knots. By the end of the middle of the next day the wind meter was getting pinned passed its 60 knot maximum on a regular basis. Some girls were out on 3m bow kites getting hangtime. Some guys went out on 5m’s but for a while there when the competition was on postponement it was just the British girls Johara Sykes Davis and Helen Thompson gracing the waters of Tarifa riding a 3m bow.

Photo - Roberto Foresti - Canon

In my opinion I was totally stitched in this competition. As usual I had one of the tour leaders in my second heat of the singles, but this time Bruna and not gizella. We were both over powered. Bruna on her 5m and me 6m Naish Torch 3. Considering it was 50 knots we both rode ok landing unhooked raileys on both tacs, some unhooked rotations and getting some hangtime. However I then landed a back roll to toeside with a surface handle pass… in 50 KNOTS!!! In return Bruna landed a nice s bend! In contrast to all other competitions they put Bruna in first place over me because she had more power even though my heat was more technical… it hasn’t worked like this in the passed and I went out again in the second round. Anger is not the word and I quietly found a place to try to relax and think about the doubles. Over the next couple of days while they finished the singles my spider got worse and worse. I was thankful to not have to put my harness on as it is right on the bite, but by the time the doubles began it was agony. I went out over powered as usual on my 6m for my heat. I won it but crashed so hard on the bite that they took me to hospital. There they put me through the worst pain I have ever undergone, but I’ll spare you the details. They then patched me up, jabbed me in the ass with pain killers and got me back to the competition 10 minutes before my next heat. The wind had dropped. Luckily I had got my 8m ready early in the day and I hit the water full of adrenalin after that ordeal. I landed and average heat and took Angela Peral (North) out of the contest. Next heat was 20 minutes after that and I went back on the water after I found out that I had won to make my way up wind. I landed another fairly good heat and had a lot of power. I was sure I won the heat after seeing Victoria Boesko (North) crashing alot, but this time they put the other girl through as first - back to their original format of technique over power. By this time I really didn’t care. I was exhausted and barely able to think letalone kite. The adrenalin had worn off and I was ready for bed even though it was barely passed lunchtime. I made it back to the beach and just sat quietly watching the next heats and Aaron win his 4th event of the year.

Watching my back rot and visiting Spanish paramedics and doctors over the previous 5 days had taken its toll. They told me it was getting better, but it was looking worse and worse. It really was time to get home. That was the 6 longest days in a long while. I am now back at home and the bite is looking better, but I still have to visit the nurse daily for the next couple of weeks. I’m no longer worried because they speak my language and I can see the improvement, but its so good to be home!!! I’m not allowed to kite for the next couple of weeks for risk of it getting infected again, but to be fair that’s ok. I need a rest!

Next up I have a competition in Fuerteventura. I leave on the 25th of July, but it begins on the 31st. Of course I’ll keep you posted and try to be more on time this time. Thanks all x

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