What better place to start off a new season than where it ended successfully in March, on this dreamlike Filipino island of Boracay. On one side of the island tourist heaven, a short walk to the other side you arrive in kitesurfers haven. Training grounds for many of the riders during winter season, Boracay is windy close to every day from mid-December to April. And so it kicked off with 3-star ratings on Windguru…
Topping last years event with 68 riders, yet again a record with 79 riders registering!
Now in it´s 3rd season KTA has really managed to build a positive reputation amongst riders. On Bulabog beach the KTA attitude and Filipino spirit come together for an event that has inclusion and friendliness written all over. Experiencing hands-on the positive vibes was probably what made Aqua Boracay announce that they want to be in it for the long run and sponsor this event for 5 years to come!
Strong winds on first day of competition did not stop riders from giving it all in freestyle, and single eliminations finished half an hour before sunset. In the judge tower were two skilled guys usually seen pleasing a crowd from the water; Turkish Sedat Celenk and French William Bourget. Together with two regulars on the judging team, Mars Gersbach and head judge Stephan Hertig, they had no breaks from first to last heat with 38 competitors going for their best moves. Being an ambassador of kb4girls I was especially thrilled to see 16 female freestylers signing up, and in the twintip raceclass there were 17! It seems girls inspire each other to enter the competitive scene -hopefully this will push the level and passion of kiting in girls even more in years to come.
Day two was a good mix of racing and double elimination. Moving on to racing, 62 riders (!) made a very colorful skyline -introducing the twintip race class KTA makes competition accessible for almost everyone. By encouraging riders of different levels to join for the fun of it, the organizers really hit one of the key points of events: promoting a love for the sport.
Third day had perfect conditions for finishing freestyle double eliminations, and this event has really shown some up and coming young riders. The European tour seems more dominated by younger riders compared to the Asian tour, but the podium spots did not reflect this: 2nd and 3rd places in mens freestyle were both riders below 20 years old, in 3rd place Slovenian Jaka Komocar at only 15 years old! Another rider to watch out for is one year younger local rider Stefano Ganugi who ended 6th, pulling of kiteloop slims rumor has it this talent is without proper sponsorship… Ben Bowd had to defend his 1st place after singles, but could not hold up against entertainer Ukrainian Andrej Salnik who won after 2 final heats. A true entertainer always with a smile on his face: last season on Boracay Andrey took out a pair of flipflops and kited on them in strong winds!
Weeks ago word on the island was Russian Champion Veronica Soloveykina would get to top of the podium in womens freestyle. Early on she impressed the crowd with a tantrum to blind and went through the competition winning all of her heats. Another powerful rider spending winter season on Boracay is Estonian Kristiin Oija; she landed a few air passes (blind judge, blind judge 3) and with higher consistency she will probably rise to the podium at later events. A very consistent rider at 2nd place was kiwi Susan Key who actually decided to stop competing back in 2007. Her skills are very much intact and hopefully this experience inspires her to come back and spread more of that positive energy! „Local” Australian Ali Dudfield of Freestyle Kite Academy Boracay landed an array of blind tricks securing 3rd place: this season she will for sure be in it for a spot on the overall podium.
In racing all of the classes were on the water together, and what a spectacular show on the first day. In the production board class most people expected Yo (Narapichit Pudla, Thailand) to excel after breathing down the neck of pro-rider Bruno Srouka last season. For the womens racing it came as no surprise German Kathrin Borgwardt won. This might be changing though as there were 6 women on raceboards here on Boracay, and with forces promoting it as an Olympic sport it will certainly become more attractive in the nearby future.
Twintip race class
No matter varying conditions, Polish Michalina Laskowska took a well deserved first place with 4 out of 6 races won, and 2nd runner up Norwegian Rebecka Maudal gave her credits coming of the water with this statement „She is so freaking fast!”. 3rd place went to Russian Dina Muldasheva. For the mens twintip class it was a lot of local riders battling it out on the water as 6 out of the 10 spots are held by Filipino riders – but on top of the podium was the speedy and always cheerful Kerem Balik from Turkey.
Greetings from Boracay,
To get to know more about Jannicke Stav visit her website.
For more photos, latest compatition updates and riders info visit Kiteboar Tour Aasia website.