Mikes PKRA Journal: China

3.The winners interview

Youri Zoon giving us a unique interview from China.

Mike: After the win in Pingtan?

Youri: It felt very good to win in Pingtan. After the last win in Italy 2013 and some tough times due to injuries I could present myself the way I wanted in my best shape and the way I rode is the way I want to see kiteboarding. With my win it feels like the judges approved this as well.

Mike: You had some injuries as well this season?

Youri: After a long break due to a shoulder injury it was a long way to get back to where I am now. I left the tour as number one and when I entered again after my recovery I started at the bottom and had to work my way back up again which resulted in not being seeded and participating in the qualifiers. With some smaller injuries during this season I had to skip some tour stops which made coming back not really any easier. The level on the tour is incredible high in the moment and so the way up was a tough one but therefore to be back at the top feels even more satisfying.

Mike: What about Haikou?

Youri: I won the first competition we had in Haikou in 2012 so I guess I can perform well here. The spot is completely different to what we had in Pingtan. Here we have light winds and the water conditions are very choppy. After the win in Pingtan the motivation is high to proof my self once again and to score important points for the overall result of this season and also for next years seeding which will be important to as I want to fight for the title. Tomorrow its already time to leave Pingtan heading direction Haikou for the next and last Pkra competition of the 2014 season.

Photographer: Toby Bromwich

2. The Event Highlights

Text and Images by Mike Schitzhofer / Toby Bromwich

Today the event here in Pingtan came to an end. Still it is far from over. As some might have already heard, the winner of the girl's freestyle event is not yet decided. There was a controversial judge decision, an injury and definitely a lot of mental tension as Gisela and Karolina are in the last stages of fighting for the world title. Nevertheless, first things first!

Congratulations to Youri for winning the tour stop!

In the mens division we had quite some excitement going on. Two riders still had a fighting chance for this years world title – Christophe Tack and Liam Whaley. They both had to go up against each other in a heat that was all or nothing. The winner had to face Youri who put up an outstanding show throughout the event and was seated in the final. Both Liam and Christophe showed a spectacular heat and till the end you couldn’t tell who’s leading. When the announcement was made it was Christophe who started crying but it were tears of happiness and relief. So after securing his first world title Tack had to go against Youri to find out who's the best here in Pingtan.

Youri looked very relaxed and self confident throughout the whole day and he also showed that on the water. Starting into the heat with a huge Blind-Judge 7 he continued with a flat 7 over a kicker - this left no doubt about who is going to dominate this heat. The judges saw it exactly the same way and so team Best could celebrate a great victory of Youri Zoon here in Pingtan. He truly made his comeback!

Back to the girls!
In the finals it was all about Gisela against Karolina. Gisela needs to win both of the last tour stops in order to defend her world title and add the 10th to her bio. So the tension was incredibly high when they went out into the water. Karolina won the first heat which meant a show down in a Superfinal. After an even better heat, Gisela was announced as winner! They had the podium shot, Gisela did the winners interview with the media and everything was good until suddenly everything got hectic here in China. The officials found out that the missed a trick from Karolina Winkowska and to keep things fair the decision was to rerun the ladies final again on the next day.

Then Gisela got injured!
While packing up her kites she cut open her foot on a sharp piece of metal and had to go to hospital. The judges then decided to postpone the rerun of the Superfinal till the next event which will take place in Haikou this Saturday.

The Best team will celebrate Youri's victory now and then make sure to cheer for Gisela when she comes up against Karolina this weekend!


1. Arrival

Text and Images by Mike Schitzhofer / Toby Bromwich

After a long journey from the west to the far east, the Best PKRA crew (Gisela, Youri, Alex, Helena and myself) arrived in Pingtan, China. The jetlag is mixing up everybody in the moment so there are some PKRA zombies running around in the mornings. Good that we are going to start freestyle only from Monday on so we can get used to the time change.

Gisela is probably the only one who doesn't look affected by the jetlag

Also everybody is overwhelmed by the culture differences that we are exploring. The different food, the language barrier and the way people are living their lives here is very interesting and worth to explore. We also experience amazing kiteboarding conditions here with sideshore wind from the left and some decent kicker waves rolling into the bay in which the event spot is located. This and the forecast are promising amazing action on the water with the different conditions due to the kickers we gonna see tricks that haven’t been shown on the tour this year so far.
Enjoy the first impressions of our trip!

Beach time!

Youri casually going big

Lewis Crathern organised a Best demo before the heats kicked off. Monday he will comment the livestream once again!

Alex and Youri nailing the Blue Steel.

Gisela - Queen of the air

Today we will watch the heat of Gisela and support her and cheer for her to push herself to a win.