Arriving to wonderfully windy conditions on day one of the Burn Kiteboard World Tour in Istanbul, Turkey, competitors readied themselves for a full morning and afternoon of kiteboarding action.
The day began with an official press conference featuring the major players that have contributed to the production of this event. Current World Champion, John Heineken (USA) as well as the currently fourth ranked, Kevin Langeree (NED) joined the conference also, providing their appreciation for event sponsor involvement and the city of Istanbul for hosting this special PKRA tour stop.
Major sponsors including Burn, Quicksilver, Oakley, NTV Spor, and Virgin Radio, among others, demonstrated their support for the official course racing and kite master’s event, and acknowledged the growing importance of the sport in light of its recent entrance as an Olympic discipline.
Throughout the day, wind ranged from 13-20 knots, holding steady in the high teens for the majority of the day in a side-onshore direction. Racing kicked off the competition in the early afternoon, as 23 competitors entered the water and battled it out for lead positioning. In each race, the top-ranked riders, including John Heineken (USA), Bryan Lake (USA), Adam Koch (USA), Riccardo Leccese (COL), and Olivier Dansin (FRA) went head to head at the front of the pack.
Lake and Heineken most often took varied approaches, while several of them also missed a few marks throughout the duration, which kept the battles interesting and varied. Random wind shifts also forced riders to readjust their lay lines and strategize more carefully with each passing minute.
The second race turned out to be especially eventful, with Koch and Heineken just inches away from each other at the finish line – Heineken pulling forward in the last seconds. Steph Bridge (GBR) also impressed by consistently finishing in the top 8, beating out the majority of men who competed alongside her. Race three proved to be the last of the day, resulting in the overall afternoon’s rankings so far.
Olivier Dansin (FRA) commented on the day of racing, saying, “I really like it here. The conditions are good and it is a great place to race. The wind was strong and the gusts made it more challenging, but fun.” Dansin said he is especially excited to kite in the Istanbul Strait on Friday as well.
The Kite master’s portion also offered much entertainment and spectacle, as top competitors showed off their best mix of old and new school tricks. Kevin Langeree revealed, “The conditions were getting really light, and it’s pretty difficult to pull off a ton of tricks in only five minutes, but I managed some good old school board offs and one-handed tricks.” Langeree also executed more difficult new school maneuvers, as did Ariel Corniel (DR), who completed a powered Front Mobe and Slim Chance, among others.
Tomorrow, forecasts call for steady yet lighter winds, which will likely provide perfect conditions for racing and suitable winds for the continuation of the kite masters portion of the event.