Light winds and rain tentalize competitors on day 1 of the Youth Olympic Qualifiers for "The Americas" in Cabarete
27 young Olympic hopefuls waited for the classic Cabarete thermals to kick in today, but with the day’s uncharacteristic cloud cover, there were just a few short bursts of wind not quite strong enough for even these young racers.
Tomorrow we expect the amazing kiteboarding conditions that Cabarete is known for to return. Until then, we wait in classic kiteboarding fashion! Like surfing, kiteboarding is a sport for athletes with a zen like acceptance of weather changes and an appreciation that spending the day napping on the beach instead of riding is still better than almost anything else one could be doing.
The alternative would be constant frustration, a state that is contrary to the serious but relaxed culture of these water sportsmen and women.
On this first official day of competition, riders were oriented to the local conditions, official rules, and the week’s course layout. By the time they compete, all this will need to be second nature to these young athletes because their exceptional speed means these heats are not expected to exceed three minutes each.
These are some of the fastest young riders in the world, riding in one of the premier kiteboarding locations on the planet, so these trials promise to be a once in a lifetime experience for all contenders regardless of the outcome.
All eyes are on the North American team with Cameron Maramenides and Tiger Tyson who have consistently taken top spots in previous slalom competitions. For the girls heat the favorite is the Dominican Republic team and specifically Lou Marin, with her years of kiting experience and dedication to the sport has shown that she is the favorite amongst the female competitors.
However many newcomers to this league show great potential to shake things up. With this being both the first youth Olympic qualifiers and also the first IKA slalom competition on this side of the world, it should be an excellent next 4 days to keep your eye on.
YOG qualification events:
North and South America: Cabarette, DOM, 15-20 January 2018
Europe and Africa: Dakhla, MAR, 20-25 February 2018
Asia and Oceania: Pranburi, THA, 13-18 March 2018
2018 TT:R Youth Slalom World Championships: Boao, CHN, 03-08 MAy 2018 (TBC)
Full rankings and live elimination ladders with scoring: www.twintipracing.com