Born in the BVI Now Red bull Ragnarok Norway

I am 39 and was born and grew up in the BVI . Been kiting on water
since 2000 and moved to Norway with my Norwegian wife a few months
ago. I started snowkiting just before Christmas and just fell in love
with it and the Norwegian mountains.

I am an amateur rider and have never done any kite races although I
have done alot of sailboat racing. The Red Bull Ragnarok was one of
the most challenging and fun events I have ever done. The conditions
on race day were tough with crazy wind, a forest of kites and a really
long course winding through flats, mountains, rocks, ice, no wind
areas, etc. The ability to navigate and find the best route was just
as important as going fast. The event was also very refreshing in that
there were only 2 rules, you have to help any fellow kiters in trouble
and you have to go through all the gates but in any direction you
wanted. What wonderful freedom and simplicity compared to many other
sports with huge rulebooks!
The race started fast across a frozen lake and heading into some hills
where the wind promptly died. Kites were raining from the sky all
around me and then the hiking started to get to the wind over the next
ridgeline. The 2nd gate was total kaos with about a hundred kiters
trying to get through a gate only 20 feet wide on a steep uphill
slope. There was no room to loop your kite so I got through the gate
by going uphill first away from the maddness and then sliding down
through it carefully keeping the kite right above me. There was lots
of kite bumping but I got through without a tangle and was off on a 2
mile upwind leg. Some of the riders got through the gate by dousing
their kite and walking through it and then riding down the hill with
the kite under their arm. The upwind parts of the course were quite
enjoyable as you could get your legs into a comfortable stance and
focus on the angles as well as finding the best wind and snow for
going fast. On the 4th leg alot of the kiters ahead of me ended up in
a bowl with no wind and had to hike out so I headed west and climbed a
ridgeline to stay in the breeze. It was a longer distance to go but it
paid off as within a few minutes I was going really fast along the
ridge heading for the long downhill section of the race. At that point
I could not see any other kiters and was looking out over the vast
frozen Hardangervidda, what a beautiful place! On the fast downwind
and downhill sections leg burn was definately a factor as you are
going in one direction for long periods of time. The racing continued
much the same for the next few hours until the cutoff time at 6pm. At
that point I had done 2 laps and one gate and ended up 5th in the
snowboard class and 16th overall.

I’ll be back home at 1pm Norway time today and can send you the go pro
footage if you want it. let me know

Robby Hirst for

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