It’s fast, exciting, competitive, and could soon be an Olympic sport. Kite course racing has gained in popularity since the 2005 introduction of the Cabrinha Race Series at the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco. Internationally, in 2008 the Pro Kite Rider Association (PKRA) Tour expanded to a five-stop racing tour.
Competition is fierce and two riders have been dominating the Tour: France’s Charles Deleau and Mexico’s Sean Farley. They ended the 2008 season ranked first and second respectively. Photographer Axel Reese caught up with the pair to find out how they did it.
Charles, congratulations to you! You are the new PKRA World Champion in racing.
And also to you both, Charles and Sean: You have both dominated the world tour for the last two years. What are your secrets?
Charles: Thanks for your congratulations. It’s a young discipline but I’m not young in racing experience. And this is maybe my secret!
Sean: I don’t think I even have any secrets. I’m just going for this fully focused, thinking and preparing myself in all aspects which I believe are necessary, but kind of casual at the same time. Everything is pretty much coming along naturally and working out quite well.
Sean, what is your background? I saw that you are ranked in a PKRA freestyle competition back in 2006. Is freestyle something you still like? Have you been windsurfing and racing before?
Sean: I owe my background in regattas to my dad, who’s been a professional sailor his whole life. Although, growing up in Mexico I never got to do much sailing or windsurfing myself until I got into kiting. I’ve raced mountain bikes, motocross, triathlon sports and everything I can since I was a kid, so heading for the finish line is a common activity for me.
As for kiting, I love all disciplines and enjoy competing in all of them, though my favourite is racing. Now that I’m so far into racing, freestyle has taken the back seat. I still compete in the Mexican nationals and train every once in a while, though I’d rather be wave riding when I’m freeriding.
I believe that at world events in which I’ll be racing and finishing in top positions, it makes no sense to try and spend my energy on other disciplines.
Read the full interview on sbckiteboard website