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Nini Liboni 9-13 Category

European Junior Kitesurf Freestyle Cup & Kite Boarder Cross Tour

Kiters were greeted with blue skies and wind in St Pierre La Mer for the start of the EJKC, (European Junior Kitesurf Freestyle Cup).

This was a welcome sight for the travellers from the UK, many of whom having been hit by the French air traffic controllers strike, were forced to make huge detours in their haste to make it to France on time for the start of the kitesurf competition. One poor kiter had spent 14 hours on the road in the UK alone in an effort to hook up with a lift; now that’s dedication for you!
Whilst pro kitesurfer Bas Koole, who was judging, was delayed, the European kiters from France, Spain, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium and Germany, seemed to have a much less traumatic start, arriving on mass at St Pierre on Thursday evening for registration. And it seemed that riders from Dominican Republic, Mexico, New Caledonia and Egypt managed to bypass the strikes too.

After waking to light winds on Friday morning, it wasn’t too long before the wind kicked in and the competition got underway. With little forecast for the rest of the weekend it was all systems go to get as many heats completed as possible.

Riders were briefed and warned to keep a close eye on the riders board as the transition period was cut short to squeeze the best out of the day. With European titles at stake, there was everything to play for and the action was fierce.

Champion kitesurfers Youri Zoon and Seb Garat took to the water too making it look all too easy as they pulled their moves whilst the crowds looked on.

Whilst the kiters got breaks between heats; the judges managed a mere 15 minute stop in the 11 hour long day.

Unfortunately the wind dropped early evening and the decision was made to call the competition for the day. A full set of images from the EJKC are in the ExPix image galleries

Saturday morning brought with it brilliant sunshine and flat glassy waters; perfect weather for wakeboarding but not so great for kitesurfing! Riders meetings were held throughout the day keeping everyone informed and whilst an attempt was made to run the KBCT, (Kite Boarder Cross), there just wasn’t enough wind.

Instead riders were invited to try their hand at an impromptu fun event of SUP Boarder Cross. Competitors joined up in pairs, one stand up paddling whilst the other lay on the same board sculling the water towards the floating inflatables. With no kite to pull them, riders used various methods to launch themselves over the obstacles with spectacular results; check out the images


Sunday and Monday were both glorious days but with no wind it wasn’t possible to finish the remaining semis and finals for the 14 – 15’s and the 16 – 19’s in the EJKC. As such the decision was made that the 1st place podium should be shared by all 4 semi-finalists.

The standard of riding in the EJKC always amazes, with year on year the levels rising. Youri Zoon summed it up perfectly when he said that at a similar age, he was merely dreaming about doing the moves that the junior riders were pulling out at the EKJC over the weekend. Without a doubt we were treated to a preview of future world champions.

Once again the Christophe and his team at St Pierre La Mer put on a fantastic event and went out of their way to make everyone feel welcome. The location couldn’t be better; a fantastic place to chill, great food, and two spots for kiting, a large lagoon in front of the SNK Watersports School base with the sea directly behind the lagoon. What more can you ask!

It would have been great to see the KBCT run but with no wind it just couldn’t happen. Plans are to rerun the KBCT event in France in October.

EJKC Results:

1 - Pauline Valesa
2 - Léa Ademi
3 - Vera Klabbers

9-13 Years
1 - Javier Jimenez
2 - Nino Liboni
3 - Maxime Chabloz

14-15 Years
Joint 1st:
- Roberto Rakka
- Lazare Gournay
- Romain Giuliano
- Audeuri Corniel

16-19 Years
Joint 1st:
- Arthur Guillebert
- Nicolas Delmas
- George Dufty
- Rens Van Der Schoot

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