Fuerteventura Fires Up For The Warm-Up GKA 2017 - Round 3: Sotavento
31st July 2017: Sotavento, Fuerteventura
Report: Matt Pearce / Photos: Ydwer van der Heide: @Ydwer
After a quick turnaround following the last event in Dakhla just one week ago, the riders and the GKA crew are back in action once again in Sotavento, Fuerteventura, where the third event on this year’s tour began today (Monday).
The competitors began arriving at the Reni Egli watersports centre at 11am to register for what’s sure to be a pivotal stop on the tour as the top riders (a number of whom are in clear contention to take the overall lead) vie for the win and first place on the tour. Mitu Monteiro's victory in Dakhla has lit a fire in Airton and he’ll no doubt be planning to pull out all the stops at this event in the strong, choppy conditions that favour his powerful riding style.
Here's a short promo video by the Tillmanns team hyping the prospect of big, windy action tomorrow!
Once the registration period had finished the riders took to the water for the official first warm-up session, giving them a chance to gauge the conditions they’ll be working with this week. The wind was blowing cross-off from the left and fluctuating between 20 and 25 knots, quite similar to what the riders experienced last month in Tarifa, and it looks as though the guys who are more specialised towards flat water tricks are relishing the opportunity to bring their pure strapless freestyle experience to bear at this event.
Airton was landing backside flat-3s, seemingly without even trying, while the young Frenchman Camille Delannoy nailed some of the best double frontrolls we’ve seen so far on this year’s tour. Matchu and Jan Marcos Riveras geed up the crowds throughout the 90 minute warm-up, throwing crowd pleasing tricks close to the beach, while current tour leader Mitu alternated between tearing up the small but hack-able shorebreak and dialling in some freestyle tricks of his own.
One thing that’s clear is that, even though the riders were holding back to some extent (perhaps due to race director Juan Antonio’s request that they don’t push themselves too hard before the main event), this discipline is fast evolving. New tricks are being landed and different styles being developed as some riders gravitate towards powered tricks with their kites low in the window, while others focus on bigger, floatier, more flowing manoeuvres.
However, it's when the main event begins on Tuesday that we’ll see the riders really going for it with maximum commitment and at full speed. The skipper’s meeting is at 10am with a first possible start at 10.30am. There's a solid forecast in the pipeline and thermal effects expected throughout the afternoon, so it’s sure to be an explosive first day of competition!