Exmouth Kitesurfer wins Mens Grand Slam in Sardinia
2016 Has been a bit of a transitional year for me. It started in January still non weight bearing on my right leg following surgery on a fracture in my knee joint at the end of October 2015. By April the injury had heeled up to the extent that I was able to start training again and get back on the water. The first event of the season took place in Holland for the European Juniors title in midMay.
We went there with only about 3 or 4 training sessions under my belt. I managed to win the event but hadn’t really ridden as well as I know that I can. After that I decided to ease off the events and just concentrate on getting stronger and riding better for the future.
In September it became clear that there was an opportunity to go to Sardinia for the last Grand Slam event of the year. The school agreed to the time off and Dad and I headed off to Porto Pollo in the North of Sardinia to have a go in the main draw of my first Men’s international event.
As I had no seeding it was all down to the draw to see who I would be riding against in the first round. It turned out that I was competing against the number 2 seed for the event Ariel Corniel from the Dominican Republic, a pretty tough opener! After 2 days of no wind the event kicked off and soon enough I was on the water against Ariel. After a good heat, I was delighted to have won and advanced straight to the third round.
After Progressing again into the fourth round we had probably the most important heat with 3 riders and only the winner progressing to the semi-final. I was up against 2 Italian Riders and managed to squeeze past them and into the semi-final. Here I rode again against Ariel who had worked his way back through the ladder after our first-round heat. This time the heat was far closer with both of us riding at a much higher level than the first round. I was stoked to win and get into the final!!
Here I rode against Italian Champion Gianmaria Coccoluto. I had a bad start to the heat crashing my first 3 tricks! After that I rode better landing solid tricks including a back mobe 5, Slim 5 and front blind mobe. However he was also riding really well and I knew I needed a big trick at the end of the heat to give me a chance of the win. Fortunately, in the last minute I managed to land a double handle pass whilst he crashed the same trick. Coming off the water I was really happy that I had ridden a good heat and done all I could for the win it was now just down to the judges to add up the scoring and come up with the result.
As you can imagine hearing that I had won was pretty special and I still can’t really believe it! Its left me really inspired to continue training over the winter to make a concerted effort on the world tour next year. It was all possible thanks to my sponsors North Kiteboarding, Volvo Cars, Edge Watersports, Ion, Cat Rugged Phones and CTI Braces. And also to the organisation Of the International Kiteboarding association and the event organisers and sponsors in Sardinia.