Press Release: KTA
Images: Alexandru Baranescu
The weekend in Pranburi was fortunately a windy one, much to the joy of the 70 riders who took part in the Moose Thailand Kiteboarding Championships. An impressive fleet took to the water for course racing on Saturday, followed by the freestyle competition on Sunday.
Those who spend their time on a kiteboarding beach to be immersed in the easy, upbeat environment were certainly not disappointed over the weekend, and although competition was fierce between a number of competitors you could still see the overriding spirit of comradery showing through. A noteworthy number of youth riders also took part in the racing on Saturday- certainly interesting to see this side of kiteboarding developing in that age group as interest rises in lieu of the Youth Olympic Games fast approaching in Buenos Aires.
We were blessed with stable winds of 15-20 knots over the duration of the whole weekend, which closed with an impressive freestyle final between Yo Narapichit Pudla and Alex Cagarin for the men’s and Kathrin Borgwardt and Young Eun Lee in the women’s. In the end it was Kathrin who walked away with the women’s title and Yo with the men’s. A relaxed awards ceremony on the beach saw winners awarded with Moose trophies, and closed what was for sure a successful event for the Thai Nationals.
As the weekend’s proceedings were coming to a close, the second leg of the event was just getting started- registration for the Moose Asian Championships and KTA FreestyleX opened up on Sunday afternoon and ran through till Monday morning, with people signing up right until the last minute.
Everyone made their way to the Kite Cable Thailand on Sunday night for the opening bash, courtesy of the title sponsors Moose Cider who put on nothing short of a kicking party to start the week of competition. Unfortunately for us all, the wind on Monday was a no show, which seemed unthinkable after such a great weather weekend. Still it did nothing to bring down the mood of the riders who took a chill day to unwind after the first leg of the competition and reflect before going into round 2.
This event marks the start of what seems to be a new era of kiteboarding, as our sport moves ever closer to the Olympic arena. The racing formats that will be used throughout the week are the same as the courses that will be used in Buenos Aires, during kiteboarding’s Olympic debut. So although there are many familiar faces, and experienced riders who’ll be participating this week in Pranburi, the new employment of IKA TT:R course designs will definitely be putting a new edge on the existing challenge.
The first of the races kicked off yesterday afternoon as the wind reading began to climb up once again, and as expected, the new ‘figure 8’ course design created quite a challenge for the riders, who needed to round the upwind buoy on the beach and continue riding at a sharp upwind angle while crossing paths with a stream of riders coming from the opposite direction- chaos! Riders were also getting used to the time trial version of course racing, a new concept for many.
Monday afternoon gave the perfect conditions to kick off the first two freestyle heats, which undoubtedly set the bar for the rest of the week- high levels of skill on show from start to finish.