10 days of action, summer and fun

World record! The Think Blue. Kitesurf World Cup ended on Sunday the 10th of August 2014 and overall 215.000 visitors came to the North Sea to see the best kitesurfers fight for prize money and important world ranking points. Rider, visitors and officials could enjoy 10 great days which ended with a high-class final.

Back to the beginning: On Friday (01.08.) a total of 122 riders from 26 different nations came to the coast of St. Peter-Ording to transform the place into a field of high-class sport action. The athletes competed in the categories freestyle and slalom and of course world stars like Christophe Tack, Marc Jacobs, Gisela Pulido, Katerina Winkowska and Aaron Hadlow joined the tournament. The riders were welcomed with a great party and the band Le Fly – St. Pauli Tanzmusik, supplied the appropriate entertainment. The gig of BEGINNER SOUNDSYSTEM on Saturday also filled the dance floor.

Think Blue Kitesurf World Cup

Welcome party

The world cup, with some windless days, which meant that there were no competitions in the first days. However the weather god arranged great sunshine and high temperatures, so riders and visitors had time to discover the huge event area, chill in the sun or test the countless side-events. Slackline, beach volleyball and soccer, pump track or stand up paddling. It was nearly impossible to get bored. The big testival, were people could try out the latest equipment was the perfect add on. The slalom riders were the first to compete in this year´s world cup and had a hard fight in close races. The US-American Bryan Lake could show why he became world champion in the last two years. After the first race, in which he crossed the finish line as second, he could complete three of the last four races as first. Julien Kerneur became second, ahead of Florien Gruber from Germany. The 17-years old Jannis Maus could surprise everybody, as he finished as fourth. In the ladies´ division, Katja Roose and Annelous Lammerts, both from the Netherlands, shared first and second place. After a crash in the first race, reigning world champion Christine Bönniger could kickback and after a great comeback she became third.

As the slalom riders could run riot on the North Sea, the freestylers had to wait for their chance. On Saturday, the time had come and the wind went wild. Altogether the kings of the air dueled for nine hours. After exiting heats against Christophe Tack and Marc Jacobs, record world champion Aaron Hadlow could win the single elimination, which was his first victory in 5 years. The women completed the competition in the same order as their placements in the overall rankings. Karolina Winkowska became first, ahead of Gisela Pulido and Bruna Kajiya. After the presentation ceremony of the single elimination, the night started with N-Joy the Party, with DJ Elvin Addo took over the control of the dance floor.

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Elvin Addo

The thrilling final of the Think Blue. Kitesurf World Cup freestyle competition happened on the last day of the event with a big surprise. After he finished 9th in the single elimination, the 17-years old Liam Whaley could win 7 heats in a row. On his way to the top, he kicked out some world stars like Reno Romeu, Christopher Tack and Marc Jacobs.in the final he finally lost against Aaron Hadlow after a hard fight. Nevertheless an impressive accomplishment, baring in mind that Whaley injured himself in his first heat of the day. At the end, Aaron Hadlow could defend his first place and could celebrate his first overall victory since 2009. Karolina Winkowska could defend her first place, too. Second became Gisela Pulido, Bruna Kajiya ended up third.

After the slalom riders completed their last heat four days before the end of the world cup. Bryan Lake became first, followed by Julien Kerneur and Florian Gruber. Katja Roose won the women’s competition. Annelous Lammerts became second, ahead of Christine Bönniger who finished third.

Form a German perspective the last day of the world cup started with some real bad news. Mario Rodwald got injured and was taken to hospital. In contrast Sabrina Lutz did a great job and became 6th.

After an emotional award ceremony, the 9th kitesurf world cup in St. Peter-Ording ended in the afternoon. Most of the world’s best riders promised to come back next year, and we obviously started our preparations already. See you next year!

Great start for the Germans

The Think Blue. Kitesurf World Cup started on August 1st and the German slalom riders had a very good start in the competition. So far, 5 eliminations have been completed and the current world champion Christine Bönninger as well as Florian Gruber achieved some great results, as expected. In the overall ranking both are currently on the third place, while Bönninger has equal points than second ranked Annelous Lammerts from the Netherlands. After her crash in the first race, which she obviously kept in her mind, she fought back in the following races. First in the women’s fleet is Katja Roose, who is also from the Netherlands and won two of the five races. Magaji Bibiana and Parma Eliska, who currently lead in the overall tour ranking, have not played any role in the races so far.

In the men’s fleet Bryan Lake from the US showed why he won the title in the past two years. After ‘only’ finishing second in the first race he could win three of the following four races and push the current world tour leader Julien Kerneur of France to the second spot. South African Oswald Smith, currently ranked second in the world tour ranking, was not performing as expected and is only in 6th position at the moment.

Besides Christine Bönniger and Florian Gruber another German attracted attention. The 17-year-old Jannis Maus surprised experts and spectators at the same time with his outstanding performance and currently ranks in 4th position. “I’m super stoked”, said the guy from Oldenburg. The weather forecast looks promising and we will see some more exiting competition coming soon.

In the freestyle competition the wind only allowed to run the trials. We were able to see St.Peter-Ording’s record winner Youri Zoon putting on a great performance and easily qualified for the main event.

Hallo, Hello, Hollá, Bonjour…

Those are just some of the languages being spoken of the 122 participants from 26 countries at the Think Blue. Kitesurf World Cup. 122 riders means 122 world class individual performance and everyone tries to top the other. 49 kitesurfer from Germany want to use their home ground advantage to present their excellent condition to the home crowd.

A few less competitors, but definitely not less motivated are the athletes from the Netherlands. With 10 riders competing in St. Peter-Ording it is the second strongest nation in terms of numbers of participants, followed by Spain (8) and Russia and France with 7 competitors each.

Marc Jacobs

Marc Jacobs

The first price, for having the longest travel to the event goes to Marc Jacobs from New Zealand, who traveled 19.000 km. Surely he will overcome the jetlag with the routine of a former world cup winner. Even though the wind was not showing his best side yet, but we are still optimistic and look forward to some great battles, knowing that the athletes only have one thing in mind – to go full power.

 

The people behind the World Cup

Many of you might be wondering how many people are involved in organizing the Kitesurf World Cup. Just giving you the exact number would not really show the actual amount of work and huge effort being spent to realize this major event and we would even be afraid to forget one of us. Therefore we will first give you a brief overview of the different areas we work in and give you some interesting insights.

Since you can’t make an omelet without eggs it is crystal clear that there are lots of people involved to set up the 20.000 square meter event area with all its stands, chill out areas, side events, offices, ambulance and many more. Craftsmen, electricians, technicians and dozens of motivated helper create the foundation for this 10-day event. The entire day and night our security is onsite and ensures everyones safety even after the parties are over. There is no time to kick back and relax once the infrastructure is set up, because as soon as the event starts, our job is even getting more intense. Confused riders that need some support, power breakdown or journalists asking all their questions, but to be honest, without those things the event would not be as exciting as it is.

Moving away from the general tasks we would like to go into more detail and present you one of the most important functions of the event – the “water coordinator”. Obviously the water plays a really important role during the event. The person in charge for all things happening on the water is Nik Alberding, our sports coordinator. Since three months his mind is wrapped around the planning and execution of the Think Blue. Kitesurf World Cup, and 11 hour shifts start to become normal. Obviously the contact with theProfessional Kiteboard Riders Association (PKRA) is ongoing throughout the entire year. Working as the connecting link between the PKRA and the organizer, ACT Agency, is only one of Nik’s tasks, but maybe his most important one.

Once the event starts Nik switches from his office in Hamburg to the beach of St.Peter-Ording. Sounds great, but the stress parameter also moves up immensely.

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Nik needs to keep an eye on lots of things: Registration of all riders, defining the heat orders, setting up the buoys early in the morning, delegation the other crew members etc. Of course he is always working closely with the PKRA officials, the tourism department of St.Peter-Ording and the lifesaving club, and at the end even tries to meet the rider’s wishes. On a day with only a little bit of wind, he needs to be extremely sensitive to satisfy the spectators, who would like to see action on the water and the riders, who would like to compete in the best conditions. We could look at every aspect of our sport coordinators role in St.Peter-Ording, but the story would definitely become too long. The most important thing in our operation is teamwork and this surely counts for all hard working 80-90 people involved in this operation.

So now you can see there is much going on behind the scenes and lots of hard work to ensure a fantastic event for all spectators and all riders. But we surely love what we do so: Give your best, have fun and enjoy the 10 days of the Think Blue. Kitesurf World Cup.

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