Apr 19, 2012

Are Boots Better?

Are Boots Better? Morocco Recap
Airush International sat down with Alex Pastor (AP) and Bruna Kajiya (BK) to talk about riding in boots under the new PKRA judging format.  They share their tricks and tips for other riders looking into riding boots as well as the first stop of the PKRA World Tour.
What are the positives and negatives to the new judging?
AP – All I can see is positives. Don’t really see any negative things. I really like the fact that only our best tricks are the ones scored.  It does a lot more justice to each rider’s actual riding level.  I also really like that I can be more relaxed whilst competing and I can focus better on every single trick. You have a limited number of attempts, so you really have to make them count.
How did you feel after winning the single elimination?
AP – I felt really good.  I had a really good heat, had my best ever blind 315 and it gave me the highest score of the whole tournament!  I was also really stoked on most of my trick’s performance.  From that moment I felt that I have chances for this year’s title.
You were ahead by 5 points at the single elimination final, what was your routine during this?
AP – Not sure if I will remember all of them but I think I landed an Front Blind Mobe, Mobe 540, Nose grab S-mobe 540, Tail grab KGB, backside 315, Double S-bend 180, and I think I also landed a switch S-mobe 540 or a frontside 315.
There was several riders during the event using boots.  Do you feel that some were inspired to start riding them after seeing your win in New Caledonia in 2011?
AP – It’s hard to know if I inspired them. But after I won in New Cal a lot of people saw that it is possible to win an event in boots, so everyone that wanted to give it a try and were afraid that riding boots could go against them probably became more confident that they can help your riding even in competition.
There were comments that the wind dropped in the double elimination final.  Is this the draw back to riding in boots?
AP – Yes, for me that would be the only disadvantage of riding boots. You need a little bit more power than in straps, and in extremely light wind competitions, they can make you loose a bit of power.  I think the problem is in running heats when the wind is not suitable for the riders to perform with enough power.
A very tight score of .3 dropped you down to second place.  Looking back on it would there be anything you would do differently?
AP – Yes I have looked back indeed. Normally I start with a Nose grab S-mobe 540. On that heat I didn’t grab because I thought that I wouldn’t have time because of the lack of power.  That little detail would have given me the the win. But I think I shouldn’t think too much about the things I could have done and didn’t do and think on what I will need to do on the next comp. ;)
For other boot riders out there riding in light conditions, what do you suggest them using or working on to stay up wind and get the most power out of their riding?
AP – Probably use a bit longer lines and a board with not that much rocker, because that will make you loose a lot of power.  There are some wakestyle boards out there with even more rocker than wakeboards. That is definitely not necessary, it will make you ride a lot slower and it won’t work unless you are completely lit.
France is coming up, a lot windier than Morocco. What are your feelings and how are you preparing for this event?
AP – France is one of those events that anything can happen. Wind conditions can be extremely difficult and the temperatures are forecasted pretty low. I hope I can deal good with the conditions and try to win this one!
How does Morocco compare to the other event sites?  BK – Morroco is a unique location since it’s on the middle of the Sahara desert, it’s such a perfect spot for riding that almost looks like a mirage, sand, sun and flat water. It’s also really quiet and away from everything, that helps me concentrate and only focus on the competition itself.  Next year apart from the unique location this event promises to have an increase of 50% on prize money, which will make it one of a kind!
How was your heats through the singles and doubles?
BK – I’m really happy with my heats on this first event, on the singles I had a tough one against Karolina Winkowska on the semi-finals then competed with Asia Litwin (fellow Airush team rider) for the first place.  In that heat I landed some really good tricks which left me feeling good for the doubles. Because of light winds we only managed to start up the finals for the double elimination on the very last day of competition, twice my heat with Karolina was canceled due to light winds, it was quite a stressful day but in the end it all worked out and I kept my 1st position.  
What were your advantages when entering each heat? 
BK – I focused on doing big tricks, with grabs and power.  These get high scores leaving me in a good position in the heats.
We hear that boots are a bit difficult to ride in lighter winds, was this a problem for you?  If so how did you over come it? 
BK – It’s slightly hard, the boots being heavier then straps doesn’t help when doing tricks with light winds.   Luckily my 135 FS Team is super light, the lightest I’ve ever seen.  That made it possible for me to keep the boots and ride in light winds. 
The new format is proving to work well and riders seem to like it. What are your thought on it? 
BK – I think this is the way forward for the sport, it makes freestyle easier to understand for the audience, you can constantly know who is leading the heat, it’s a better format for the live feed which is something we investing on and most important benefit is the quality over quantity, by only scoring the very best 7 tricks you encourage the riders to focus on the big tricks instead of trying to do as many as possible but with bad execution.
What tricks do you plan out for your heats?  Will you be changing this up for next event? 
BK – My big tricks during a heat are the 315, grab Smobe, depending where the events take place I have to adjust the heats according to the conditions. For the next event in France I know I won’t be landing the same tricks as I was in Dakhla.  With 40knots wind and 8 degrees landing good tricks becomes quite a mission.