European Junior Kitesurf Cup (EJKC) at Saint-Pierre-sur-Mer, France
Liquid Force Kiteboarding international support rider George Dufty has been competing in France at the EJKC as the only Liquid Force rider at the event. Saint-Pierrre is about 40 miles up and along the French Mediterranean coast from Leucate where George had finished 25th and had been awarded best newcomer/rookie and had gained a world ranking of 35th in the 2nd PKRA stop of 2013.
The EJKC is open to riders under 19 who reside in Europe. This year, having turned 16 George was competing in the 16 to 19 years age group and was up against many riders three years his senior and with a lot more kiting experience behind them.
He had a tough start in the first round of the singles having drawn 4th seeded French rider, Julien Leleu. It was a tight heat but with decent winds he was out on his 11m HiFi-X in 25 knots exchanging trick for trick but when he got back to the judging tower was disappointed to see that he had lost.
As the forecast was that there would only be wind for two days of the 5 days of the competition, the doubles were started first thing the following day. George was drawn against French rider Leo Pollett who George had beaten in Leucate a week earlier. That heat went well and George was able to land all his tricks including a blind judge 3, shifty 3, slim and a back mobe and was through to round 2 against another French rider, Didier Botta. George’s run of solid tricks continued against Botta and he was able to progress to round 3 this time against Spanish rider Manel Arpa.
That heat went well and again George was able to land all his tricks and he was through to round 3 against another Spanish rider Gonzalo Alcazar who George had come up against and beaten in Leucate.
By this time the winds were dropping and George resorted to his biggest kite his 13m HiFi-X and Gonzalo was out on his 15m.
In the light winds neither rider was able get any power and with the wind being offshore and dropping right down to below 10 knots, this meant that both riders were out the back of the competition box after two tacks and struggling to keep upwind and to do any tricks.
The officials did not black flag the heat and George was disappointed eventually having to tack many times and take over 10 minutes to get back to the beach to find that he had lost. As it happened the next heat was black flagged almost immediately as French national champion Valentin Garat took to the water and the riders were on standby for nearly two hours before the wind was strong enough to restart.
As the doubles finished, Alcazar took 5th and Erdman was knocked back to 2nd after being beaten by local French rider Antoine Fermon in the finals.
George had finished 6th and overall was pleased with how the competition had gone and left the event looking forward to coming back to France at the end of May for the first Kitesurf Tour Europe (KTE) event in Toulon.
George rides the 2013 HiFi-X kites and the 2013, 139 Element board with Vantage bindings.
Words and pictures by George Dufty