A new discipline is born as the GKA Riders take flight in the first Strapless Tow-Up Big-Air comp!
The crowd await the wow-factor to kick off! / Photo: Joern Pollex
The wind was light on Friday but with beautiful sunshine beating down on Fehmarn there was an autograph signing for the fans and then – always eager to entertain – the riders put on a show for a crowded beach full of onlookers with the world’s first ever ‘Strapless Tow-Up Big-Air contest’!
Sharing stoke in the sunshine / Photo: Joern Pollex
Paulino Pereira manned the jet-ski, gunned the engine and towed the riders who held their edge for as long as possible before sending their kites and boosting while the jet-ski pulled them skywards.
When they could go no higher the riders ejected themselves from the tow-line and looped their kites as though their lives depended on it as they descended.
Keahi de Aboitiz nailed the biggest jump of the day with what must have been at the very least a 35 metre jump and he somehow rode away clean! AIRton Cozzolino was riding a 14 metre kite and went big but he couldn’t come close to Keahi’s jump and Ralph Boelen landed a massive one on his final attempt to take third place behind Airton. Some serious handling skills were required by the riders to keep power in their kites and not overshoot them on their way down and speaking afterwards Keahi said,
“I knew my jump was a big one because when I got up there and looked to the shore and I could see right over the event site to the lagoon behind it”. Big indeed!
Airton airs / Photo: Joern Pollex
Keahi de Aboitiz is the first ‘Strapless Tow-Up Big Air’ comp champion, flanked by Airton Cozzolino and Ralph Boelen / Photo: Joern Pollex
(These riders are professionals and have vast kite flying experience. Flying down from height in weak winds takes immense skill and these stunts shouldn’t be attempted by anyone other than trained professionals).
The Tow-Up wasn’t the only feat of kiting-insanity yesterday either and Florian Gruber, still in Fehmarn after the recent HydroFoil Pro Tour event, beat Levitaz’ Adrian Geislinger in a race around the island setting a new record in the process of 1 hour 43 minutes for the full 75 kilometre route. That’s more than an hour ahead of the previous record of 2 hours 48 minutes! Foils are certainly fast!!
Florian on the charge / Photo: Joern Pollex
There are just two days left in the event window now and the wind’s looking light for Saturday but stronger for Sunday, so there’s still plenty of hope for a Best Trick competition before the closing ceremony on Sunday afternoon.