KTA Round One Xiamen, China – The Half Way Story
Only half way through the allotted four days of the KTA event and so far each of the first two days has given us some great competition and opening results. The fear of course is in any kiteboarding event is to have no wind and doubly so when it the first ever event of a new tour, in a region of the world that has never hosted this sort of sports series before.
China and Xiamen has done the KTA proud, not only in the location, conditions and wind, but also in the support and effort given to the KTA by our headline local sponsor FNCN. So as well as the KTA staff team, the safety crew and judge team, there has also been amazing back up from 45 volunteer helpers from the Xiamen University doing everything from putting up tents and banners, to helping riders carry the equipment, running registrations and supporting the film crews, which has all added to the first KTA running smoothly.
We are also pleased to report that in our first even that the KTA has attracted riders from some twelve different countries, beyond even the Asian countries that we had been anticipating.
On the water where it really counts we have been able to enjoy two good days of competition, both from the local China pre-qualifier events and the international as the KTA team worked the discipline around the changing wind patterns.
So day one, which was primarily the registration and warm up day saw also course racing taking place, with a closely fought race in the local China competition, that saw the lead changing dramatically off the last turning mark and local Xiamen rider Li Peng (Popeye) coming home to win in front of Zhang Huabao and Ye Hui Ling in third position, in a race with twenty six starters.
Day two, today tried to focus in the first instance on the freestyle competition as it had been forecast as one of the better wind days on the tour stop. All began well wind wise as the first heat took to the water with Ken Nacor from the Philippines and Deivis Maciulis from Estonia. Unfortunately it seemed with the raising of the green flag, that that was the signal for the wind to drop resulting in an abandoning of the heat. After further tries head judge Stephan Hertig elected to postpone the freestyle and run the international riders course race event. For this the wind held and a well supported beach was able to enjoy some great racing from some of the region’s top riders which resulted in a win for Narpichit Pudla (Yo) from Thailand.
Further attempts where again made at the freestyle event before an all-riders Expression Session was called which produced some of the day’s best moves and general ‘thrills and spills’ as the wind came back up to full strength during the event. It was great to see riders from Japan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Australia, Hong Kong, China, Turkey, Thailand and Estonia really going for it to pull out the wildest moves, certainly a crowd and media pleaser that saw Laihong Phi from Vietnam take the session in his first event outside his home country.
Finally then as the day drew to an end the freestyle was able to take to centre
stage properly, given a cracking end to the day as riders pushed out their best moves in closely fought rounds, introducing the Chinese crowds who are fairly new to kiteboarding to the likes of KGB’s, Flat threes, Kite loops and Blind Judges!
Although not fully completed as the freestyle is being run on a double eliminator basis, the winner group has been all the way, leaving us at this point on the close of day two with the Philippines Ken Nacor at the top of the table, with Sadat Zelenk of Turkey in second, followed by Karem Kaerem Balik , Turkey and Yo, Thailand in joint third. Given good wind over the final two days of the KTA, the double eliminator will complete and if not, these results will stand as the freestyle winners for the tour stop.
So still lots more to come from this event that also include the women’s freestyle event and the local China freestyle, so watch this space for all the outcomes.
First event photo’s on KTA website www.kiteboardtour.asia and KTA Face Book.