is with great pleasure to announce that Powerkiteshop Sponsored
Team Rider Lewis Wilby has won the title of European Champion
at Berck Sur Mer, France on 25.03.06!
Hosted by Opale Glisse this premier event
was put on for French and Foreign Kitelandboarders. It proved
to be well organised well natured and inspirational event.
The news before we got to Berck Sur Mer
was it would be light winds and occasional rain showers.
We packed up as many big sized kites as we could and just
for good measure took the 17m Strike 2 just in case. Little
did we know how important it was going to be!
On the beach that first morning it was blowing
in at a cool cross-shore of 13-18 knots. We set up the Flexifoil
Strike 2 17m and Flexifoil Blade III 4.9m to allow Lewis
and Aston to get to grips with the conditions.
Soon enough Lewis and Aston were pulling
off some fantastic variation grabs as well as their trademark
pop-shovit's. But then it was clear that the level of riding
in Europe is much higher and that both were going to have
to ride to their fullest in order to get through the heats.
Into the first heat of the "Foreigner
Championships" - riders from Belguim, Holland, Ireland
and the UK were all out to take the very first championship
back with them. Aston Wilby took to the stage with his barrel-roll's
and foot-out back passes which proved to be a winning combination
to get him through to his next heat.
The 3rd heat also saw Diarmuid Higgins from
Ireland taking on some smooth but aggressive kiteloops and
unhooked raileys to see him through to the semi's as well
as MBS UK rider Mark Berry.
Into the Semi-finals and Lewis and Aston
took the riding up another level pulling off various transitional
manoeuvres. Aston keeping it safe going for more simpler
manoeuvres but landing them solid and smooth whereas Lewis
taking the option to do almost every move unhooked including
his kiteloops and 720 rotations landing to blind, and despite
a failed attempt earlier in the heat he managed to land
a successful aerial handle pass rarely seen in freeriding
sessions let alone competition.
UK's Mark Berry, Adam Davidge and Woody
Goodrick together with Ireland's Diarmuid also went through
making it a final that was going to put everyone through
With the weather deteriorating - riders
were having to change kite sizes not just because of the
wind conditions but simply because they were so wet they
were not flying correctly. Aston opting for a dry Blade
III 6.6m depsite the increasing wind conditions.
The final seemed to be all about power moves
throughout. Every rider at some point throwing in kiteloops
together with transitions and surface handlepasses. Lewis
managing to pull off a super-high unhooked 1080 rotation
together with kiteloop backrolls. Diarmuid's unhooked kiteloops
were becoming super powerful - looping low and landing them
with speed. Overall it was down to the judges but we were
pretty certain Lewis had it. But the rest of the positions
were all a close call.
Official Results - Foreign Men's Competition:
Lewis Wilby (1st)
Diarmuid Higgins (2nd)
Mark Berry (3rd)
Aston Wilby (4th)
Adam Davidge (5th)
Woody Goodrick (6th)
Natz Reeve from the UK also managed to pull
off a fantastic European Championship win in the Women's
finals with her super fast rotations and low level foot-outs.
Natz also having to opt for a loan of another UK rider Tom
Beaton's Water Relaunchable kite for use in the ever worsening
Official Results - European Womens Competition
Natz Reeve (1st)
Fanny Delmas (2nd)
Aude Chapelier (3rd)
The big event however was still to come
for Powerkiteshop Team Riders Lewis and Aston as they battled
through the European Championship heats with the French
riders now hot on their heels. This was by far the most
spectacular show of kitelandboarding any of us have seen
and everyone was deserved to be taking home a medal or honour
of some sort.
Unfortunately for Aston - he had to pull
out in the semi-finals due to sheer physical exhaustion
of the competitions from the previous Foreigner Men's competition
but it still landed him an amazing sixth place position
for the European Championships.
The final proved a fantastic performance
of both sheer skill and physical fitness. All competitors
were looking tired and everyone was concerned about the
overall weather conditions which had now become an all-out
rainstorm making the beach into a mudbath.
Olivier Garet who had won the French Championship
earlier that day and Lewis were both looking exhausted and
unable to keep hold of any board-off manoeuvre. Cheers and
encouragement from rider supporters was the only thing keeping
the riders focused towards the end of the lengthy final.
The low-level technical manoeuvres of Lewis
were coming into play whereas Olivier kept them high and
acrobatic. With the last minute of time remaining in the
competition - Lewis began pulling off tricks that neither
us or even his brother Aston had seen him either land or
attempt before - huge kiteloop / backloops, F-16's and a
massive 1440 degree unhooked rotation that got the crowd's
Official Results - European Championship
Lewis Wilby - (1st)
Olivier Garet - (2nd)
Julien Kermeur - (3rd)
Charles Borderon - (4th)
Gautier Cazier - (5th)
Aston Wilby - (6th)
Lewis deserved this win and all of us at
Powerkiteshop would like to say congratulations to him and
all the competitors on a truly inspiring performance.
It was just a shame he couldn't hold his
beer as much the morning after - it was a stop and start
journey all the way home!
Words: Dan Eaton (Powerkiteshop)
Photography by John and Dan Eaton
Back to Current