The KTA Thailand from the Ably Rondina Freestyle Jam to the closing Old Skool session ticked every box in every way. With a full quota of wind on tap each day and beautiful conditions Thailand and Pranburi underlined its growing status as one of Asia’s have to kite locations.
With total registration of 54 riders from 20 nationalities the event was able to deliver 10 course races with 7 TT Class races also, a full freestyle double eliminator and a showcase Old Skool Expression session over the four days. We are also pleased to say that even though there was not quite so much budget available for the Riders Grants this time, the KTA was still able to support 5 riders to enter the event.
The wind generally started to move around mid to late morning as the thermals that drive things at this time of year starts to settle in, which meant a gentle start to the day for riders and race crew alike, but then with the wind topping 20kts at times the afternoons were a completely different affair.
Each day was to begin with a course race session of two to three races, which combined all the fleets together – male and female, race board and TT. But with the courses set to challenge the riders on the bigger race boards it was soon decided that with the harsh upwind leg that it was time to split the TT and race boards into a one lap and two lap races respectively. This proved to be a great decision by head judge Stephan Hertig with all racers then finishing within the same time frame for each race, allowing for a very efficient flow to the competition.
The key battles throughout the event would take place between Karthin Borgwardt (GER) and Ramona Serea (ROM)in the women’s race board section with Aya Oshima (JAP), Sotenn Sparat (THA) and Alice C hild (AUS) pushing each other all the way in the TT class. For the men’s side new comer to the KTA Blazej Ozog (POL) was making current Asian champion Yo Pudla work hard, in TT Ken Nacor (PHI) was again showing his new found like for racing was going to continue, even though Max Rice (CAN) and fellow countryman Dilbert Bayog did their best to spoil this.
After the four days the final results stood like this –
Women’s Race Women’s TT Class
1. Kathryn Borgwardt 1. Aya Oshima
2. Romona Serea 2. Alice Child
3. 3. Sotenn Sparat
Men’s Race Men’s TT Class
1. Blazej Ozog 1. Ken Nacor
2. Narapichit pudla (YO) 2. Max Rice
3. Heikki Gross 3. Dilbert Bayong
For the Freestyle riders the competition ran through the first three days, with the judges timing things to put the riders out on the water during the strongest wind sections of the day. This gave the daily crowds that gathered on Pak Nam Pran beach a whole feast of top riding. With strong entries in both the men’s and women’s competitions some great shows and surprises took place. For the women Christina Alstad (NO) battled her way from 9th to 4th in the double eliminator to potentially unsettle things, but exhausted after so much work, Kathrin Borgwardt (GR) was to beat her for 3rd. Aya Oshima (JP) and Kathrin then met in a familiar heat, with Aya holding onto her 2nd position from the single eliminator round and going head-to-head once again with Sarah Demdoum (FR). Unfortunately just over half way into the 10 minute heat, Aya lost her kite doing a raley-to-blind. Not only was she disappointed, but the whole crowd was too as they were anticipating seeing these two aggressive Cabrinha riders compete. Sarah showed excellent sportsmanship checking on Aya’s safety before continuing to seal her first place win at the KTA Thailand.
On the men’s side with current tour leader Hiro Nakano (JP) absent from this competition, the KTA regulars suspected that the next three Asian favorites would be Ken Nacor (PH), Yo Pudla (TH), and Kin Nguyen Ngoc (VN)- not necessarily in that order, but we could not have been more wrong. Long Nguyen Duc (VN) one of the new KInn team riders from Vietnam on his first trip out of his country was to surprise everyone as he worked his way through the ranks. It was to be a great run for Long as he even claim a win over the Asian Champ on his home ground. The crowd all cheered on as this underdog then took on PKRA rider Marek Jr. Rowinski. They along with his teammates were thrilled watching him land everything cleanly with a large variety of tricks, making it all look so easy, awarded this heat to him in the end once again. Long though met his match for the day against Taner Aykurt the Turkish Champion who showed who was boss and took the final. Things stayed this way once again through the double eliminations with the final this time being one of the best in the KTA season so far between Aykurt and Rowinski, a total nail bitter as they hit move for move giving the judges a tough job to decide the final outcome. In the end though Aykurt was to just hold onto his first round place and take his first overall KTA tour stop win.
Freestyle Results –
Women’s Freestyle Men’s Freestyle
1. Sarah Demdoum 1. Taner Aykurt
2. Aya Oshima 2. Marek Rowinski
3. Kathrin Borgwardt 3. Long Nguyen Duc
With the freestyle finished and the finals days racing done the scene opened for the KTA Old Skool Project. Toby Braeuer (GER) the Godfather of Old School was there to show off his latest tricks while building an interest to what he believes is a base line for the sport of kiteboarding. For this competition there were no exact heats run with the feeling that this style of competition needs to be more open, free, and about the entertainment value. Therefore riders could ride whenever they wanted during a two hour expression, with other sessions also taking place in the early days of the event that ran parallel to the Freestyle. A very different approach and one that we are happy to say was a complete success, giving us a way to always include Old Skool from hear on in.
Since it was to be a show, judges included spectators, media, riders, and the actual judges. Mr. Braeuer won this for the men and Thai local star, Nung Sonchai, took second. The freestyle champ, Taner Aykurt took third with his many board offs and infamous Jesus walk. For the women it was Kathrin Borgwardt who won first, Jannicke Stav (NOR) who took 2nd and yet another new face, Aina Renolen (NOR), who took third.
A completely great way to bow out of four days hard core competition, leaving everyone on a high for the evenings award ceremony and closing party, which was cater for in true Thai style right there on the beach with an amazing BBQ dinner and thumping Full Moon party to follow. The prize presentaions were made for by the local Mayor Mr Sawyree Moo Noi and Chris Kimpton from local tilte sponsors GAC.
We would like to thank the support from the local government Orbitor and Tessaban offices as well as the location hosts Kite Zone and the Beachhouse, along with all the other local input that made the KTA Thailand the awesome event it was. A continuing thanks also our key tour sponsors Cabrinha, Maelstorm, N-verted, and Ozone who ensured a nice looking prize table for the riders who took a share in the US$15,000 of equipment prizes on offer.
So that’s the 4th round over and done, next stop the 7Stones KTA Philippines – see you there…