KTA China final report 2013 Tour Finals

After the whirlwind start to the season that gave us rounds one to three in just six weeks everyone had the chance to kick back for a month, repair and recover before psyching themselves up for the finals in Pingtan China.

KTA China final report 2013 Tour Finals

KTA China final report 2013 Tour Finals

Running from the 8 -12 May the KTA finals marked the second visit to Pingtan Island for the tour in what is regarded as China’s windiest location. Regular wind speeds of over 30kts are recorded over the winter monsoon season here and it’s so windy in fact that all of the island’s old traditional style stone houses need to have rocks placed on top of their tiled roofs to keep them in place when it blows.

The island is being trust forward as one of China’s economic development zones, which in the case of Pingtan due to its location gives it a focus on being the gateway into China for Taiwan. Which means for this formally somewhat forgotten part of the country it is now at full speed in its rebirth, with construction taking place at every corner that will turn Pingtan into a slick hi-tech business and commerce location over the next five years, something which even in the space of one year we could all see is moving at quite a pace.

Our hosts and sponsors for the event were the Management Committee of Pingtan Comprehensive Experimental Zone (the local provincial government) who provided not only the richest cash prize package of the season for the KTA China round itself at USD30,000 but also free accommodation and food for all the riders. This combined with our regular tour support and sponsorship from Cabrinha that adds an equipment prize table of USD15,000 worth of kit made this the richest KTA event ever. So as you might imagine this combination with the finals attracted a healthy slice of attention from riders far and wide. For the first time the KTA hit its max registration limit with 120 riders from 30 countries signing up well before the deadline date.

The event began with a formal but spectacular opening ceremony with all the riders lined up behind their country flags Olympic style, which with 30 this year formed an impressive sight. Speeches then followed to the thousands of people crowded onto the beach from a stage filled with the provinces top government officials, surreal but an amazing experience for us all once again and all topped off by a blast of fireworks to signal the event was underway. Well sort of as unfortunately day one was not to see any wind as it turned out.

Luckily though it did not stay this way for the whole week, although it’s fair to say that the wind did not live up to expectations for the location and unfortunately made things touch frustrating for the riders and hard work for the competition team.

Day two though greeted us with warm sunshine and a steady cross-offshore wind of around 16kts. So a tricky day for the freestylers who stayed firmly on the beach, but a high speed flat water heaven for the racers, who headed out to show the gathering crowds how we race kite style. With riders from New Zealand, Australia, the USA, Canada and Europe joining the Asia crew it was the largest men and women’s combined raceboard (RB) fleet we have seen that led off proceedings with the first of the week’s back-to-back races.

All eyes were on the KTA tours top RB riders Yo Narapichit Pudla (THA) and Ken Nacor (PHL) in the men’s fleet and Kathrin Borgwardt and Fon Benyapa Jantawan (THA) on the women’s side, to see how they would compare to the big names joining this event – Katja Roose (HOL), Nura Goma (SPN), Torrin Bright (NZL) and Climent Hermandez Alejando (SPN) to name a few. Certainly for the women’s fleet Roose was showing her world class level and dominated those first races, as she was to continue to do over the rest of the competition also. Both Borgwardt and Jantawan pushed again and again, but could not find the extra edge to get them passed Roose.

For the guys though a different but familiar story as Yo (Narapichit Pudla, THA) blasted away from start line in most races leaving the rest of the fleet well and truly in his wake. Yo has dominated the Asian RB class all season and even with the rest of the world in town, he still showed that he too was now a world level player. He did not however quite achieve a straight line of ‘bullets’ as Roose did, with Nacor and Alejandro both taking races off him, but overall from the shape of the racing as it unfolded there was never going to be any doubt of who be standing on top of the podium at the end of the week.

With 66 men and 9 women TT racers registered the KTA race team had elected for a staggered start with the women’s fleet leading off to add some control to the start line dash, for KTA’s most popular discipline. Chinese interest was high for the TT racing with two very local Pingtan and Xiamen riders in the mix. Both 13yrs old Jing Yue Chen and Xiao Cheng Deng had made quite an impact on their first appearance into the KTA during the 2nd round of the season as they both took podium positions, which they then repeated in the 3rd round. Chen was also the poster girl for the KTA China round so it was clear that all eyes in Pingtan were on her as she took to the water.

Although only racing one lap in comparison to the RB two lap races, TT is just as hard fought at every level. At the front of the fleet you will see riders dedicated to TT racing and every bit as competitive as the RB fleet, while a little further back you can witness the private battles of the new comers and the not so serious that make TT class racing the open door class for every kiter to be part of the KTA experience. At the top though for men the season’s battle royal continued with the Philippine, Norway, China mix as Jay Ortiz (PHL), Atte Kapel (NOR), Doque Delos Santos (PHL) and Xiao Cheng Deng (CHN) again locked horns. Unfortunately, for the TT class the wind that began its fade on their first day of racing was to in the end keep them off the water for the remainder of the event, leaving them to complete only for races – in those though Delos Santos was to take three wins and Kappel one, giving them the lead on the pack for this round.

For the women things faired a little better and being lighter they manage to pull out 7 races in total for the week. Chen on home water came ‘into her own’ and began to control the girls TT racing. Her season’s rivals though were not to let her have it all her own way as Anny Barlow (USA) and Rebecka Maudal (NOR) both took wins from Chen. Also guesting in the TT mix for China was a familiar RB face Kathrin Borgwardt, who showed she was equally at home on the small board and also took a top slot during the week. In the end though despite her young years Chen kept a cool head and brought home the gold for Pingtan and China – certainly a rider then to be looking out for in the future.

Following an overnight storm the KTA woke to a complete wind shift for day three and freezing conditions. It did however mean with the wind was back blowing onshore and getting up to around 20kts, meaning the freestylers could finally break loose. The men’s freestyle in particular was eagerly awaited with the likes of Victor Borsuk (POL), Nicolas Gambier (FRA), Michaeal Khromykh (UKR) ready to face off with the top Asian’s Ken Nacor, Yo Narapichit Pulda, Japan’s Hironobu Nakano and Vietnam’s Long Nguyen Duc.

For the women the medal hunt was on between the season leader so far Kristin Oja (EST), the UK’s Polly Crathorne, Aya Oshima (JPN) and Rachel Baglin (AUS). It was the women who took first heats out onto water and things looked good with the girls landing their passes and nailing the switches, but it was soon to become evident that the forecast was going to be right as wind speed begun to slowly fade. Not before however Oja again demonstrated she is the force to be reckoned with this season as she powered her way through to the finals that should have seen her up against Oshima. Oshima who has been improving round by round as the tour as unfolded was looking for that first win of the season, but it was a final battle we were robbed of in the end as the wind fell below 10kts in the early afternoon.

For the men the story was the same wind wise of course. The riders though began with so much promise and the battles we all had hoped for started to emerge. In the early morning strong winds Khromykh and Borsuk were displaying great skill and power in their mobes and passes as they headed smoothly through towards the final rounds. The top Asian’s were also on fire with Nakano as consistent as ever, seeming landing every move with minimal effort and Yo as always pulling out an insane combination or 5 just when it was needed. Only Long seemed to be struggling a little with the cold conditions, missing passes he sticks a thousand times over as numb fingers refused to catch the bar. In end however the wind was the left the master of the games and left the guys high a dry before they could complete their final rounds.

So a little disappointing for all concern that we did not even make it through a full single eliminator for the freestylers, the first time this has ever happened on the Asian Tour. On the positive side of things a valid result had still been achieved as enough rounds in total had been completed, although it did leave the rather bizarre outcome of four guys in 1st place, with two of the girls on 1st and two in equal 3rd.

The KTA competition team was determined as always to squeeze the most it could out the day and once again in lighting time set a new race course and managed to deliver another RB class race before the wind finally did disappeared completely. This meant once again the skills of the KTA rescue crews were back in action, something they had fine-tuned only the day earlier with a 40 TT rider rescue when the wind stopped completely in the space of 10 minutes during the final race of that day. The Pingtan finals where certainly proving to be a challenge to riders and race team alike, but everyone was meeting it fair and square and enjoying it to the max.

The last day for the KTA 12/13 Asian Tour, thankfully appeared with much warmer weather in tow, sadly though the wind was not choosing to come along with it. However, it did at least hold enough strength to allow a further blast of racing and thankfully with a Sunday beach crowd of thousands and a wind direction that allowed the race officer to set a ‘close to shore’ course, a great morning’s competition unfolded.

Both the RB and the women’s TT saw action, giving some riders the opportunity to consolidate their earlier positions, while others changed their fortunes and pulled themselves back up the rankings. For the RB men though it was still Pudla, Alejandro and Nacor who controlled the pack, while in the women’s fleet Roose remained dominant over Borgwardt and Jantawan. For TT though it was Chen all the way as she put in some crushing wins to seal the deal on a much loved local home win for China.

Still in the end this was Pingtan and what do you do in Pingtan when the sun is out and the wind has gone – the KTA is in town and thousands of people are crowded onto the waterfront to see the action? Well its easy you teach them how to dance!

Yes once again the KTA dance and this time crowd singing phenomena erupted and the atmosphere for day and for the whole event was left on a fantastic high with riders and locals joining together to enjoy an afternoon in the sun.

What an event then from bikini’s to snowboard jackets and back again. A challenging event to end an amazing KTA season, one with many new friends made who we all hope to see again next season for the KTA 13/14 Asia Tour – see you then ……….

Special thanks to all our sponsors and partners listed below who help make the KTA events happen, not a chance it would be this cool without you all.

KTA China Event Results

http://www.kiteboardtour.asia/result-and-ranking/kta-2013-china-rb/
http://www.kiteboardtour.asia/result-and-ranking/kta-2013-china-tt/
http://www.kiteboardtour.asia/result-and-ranking/kta-2013-china-freestyle/

Asian Freestyle Championship

http://www.kiteboardtour.asia/result-and-ranking/kta-2013-overall-asian-champion/

KTA Asian Kiteboard Championship Tour Results

http://www.kiteboardtour.asia/result-and-ranking/kta-2013-overall-rb/
http://www.kiteboardtour.asia/result-and-ranking/kta-2013-overall-tt/
http://www.kiteboardtour.asia/result-and-ranking/kta-2013-overall-freestyle/

KTA Philippines 2013 Final Report

When the original 2013 KTA schedule was released Boracay in the Philippines was to be the first tour stop in January, a month of guaranteed wind in this kiting paradise. January is also the best month for kite tourism and local kite businesses and by there being a KTA stop in the middle of this month it would limit the opportunities for the local kiters. KTA’s mission is to grow kiteboarding in Asia and thanks to the support of our understanding and forward thinking local sponsors Aqua Boracay by Yoo (www.aquaboracay.com) the alternate date of 26 to 30 March was set and what a week it turned out to be.

This Easter break also known as ‘Holy week’ in the Philippines is one of their biggest holiday weeks and Boracay was teeming with people. The start of April is also considered the kiteboarding season end on Bulabog beach, with the winds turning 180 degrees and the kiting venue moving across to the famous White Beach. The KTA however seem to have wind wherever they go and it was once again true with not a windless day for the 4th KTA Boracay event in as many years.

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This the 3rd tour stop of the season brought people from all over Asia and the world to participate once again, with 68 competitors from 21 countries competing in one or more disciplines. Heading into the event there were off course many close fought tour battles to be watched, such as between the top ladies in the Race Board (RB) class Fon Benyapa Jantawan (THA) and Kathrin Borgwardt (GER) and the top men in the freestyle class Yo Narapichit Pudla (THA) and Long Nguyen Duc (VIE). Local eyes were however on Philippine favourites Louie (Bong) Fernando in RB, Ken Nacor in RB and freestyle, Christian Tio the youngest competitor in the freestyle and Doque de los Santos, Jay Ortiz and Reynard (Along) Gajisan in the Men’s TT racing. In total there were 24 riders from the Philippines registered showing that this country must have the conditions to produce these top class athletes.

The conditions were indeed spot on during the run in to the event for the day before and on registration day the winds were there in the morning, smoothing off and becoming lighter later in the day, which was ideal for the Kite Kids Tour, which once again had an incredible turnout and interest from the local kids and support from some of the competitors who were prepared to lend a hand to get them confident and take them for a body drag or help them master the kite flying techniques.

On registration day, after all the competitors had picked up their competition packs they headed over to White Beach for the opening party. Kasbah Moroccan restaurant provided a great beach venue for sunset drinks, snacks and superb entertainment in the form of belly dancers, pole dancers and break dancers.

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The second day of the event and first day of competition dawned with a stormy grey sky and ominous looking clouds with puffy wind. The locals were positive that the wind would come and seemingly on cue it arrived as the riders collected in front of Aqua Boracay by Yoo for the 9am skipper’s meeting. With the wind averaging over 14 knots the girls were sent out for the first round of the women’s single elimination freestyle the wind was looking promising, but started to drop as the men headed out for their first round. Young local favourite Christian Tio(PHI) was knocked out by top international rider Nicolas Gambier(FRA) in the first men’s heat of the day, before the freestyle was called off in the third heat.

The RB racers were sent out next with an amazing start from top women racer Fon Jantawan(THA) who kept up with the men in the first race, but unfortunately could not repeat the performance in the next two races of the day where Kathrin Borgwardt(GER) took top spot and Aya Oshima(JAP) challenged Jantawan to get one second in on the first day, showing that the women’s racing here was going to be exciting. In the men’s there were no surprises as Narapichit(Yo) Pudla(THA) lead out and Ken Nacor(PHI) was hot on his heels, leaving the rest of the fleet to fight for third spot.

The TT racing was to see more challengers as some of the top RB racers decided to join in this division. Jay Ortiz(PHI) ended on top of the men’s but the fleet mixed it up well with Dennis Wong(HKG), William Bourget(FRA) and Louie Fernando(PHI) each winning a race. For the ladies Rebecka Maudal(NOR) who had struggled in Thailand started off well, but young Yue Chen(CHN) was hot on her heels. Traditionally and RB racer Borgwardt must have found her TT rhythm after the first two races to win the last three of the day confidently, ending on top at the end of the day.

After a full day of competing the KTA crew headed out to celebrate the coming of the full moon at Moonzone. Legend has it that there is always wind on the full moon if it is celebrated well.

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Day three arrived sooner than many freestyle riders hoped for with good wind and an early start to continue the single elimination bracket. The first upset came in the first ladies heat of the day when Dina Muldasheva(RUS) beat the reigning Asian champ Aya Oshima(JAP). In the men’s heats Victor Borsuk(POL) came out firing with several superb combos which saw him easily working his way up the ladder. Meanwhile on the other side of the ladder we saw some superb action in strengthening winds as longtime rivals Yo Narapicit Pudla(THA) and Ken Nacor(PHI) came up against each other before the semi-finals, with Nacor going through in front of his home crowd. As is common in Boracay this time of the year the wind started backing off late in the morning, so it was decided to move onto racing and wait for more wind for the completion of the freestyle.

After lunch in steady 12 knot breeze it was time for the TT racers to get out for 3 back to back races. Xiao Cheng Deng(CHN) came through first for the men in the first race, but it was not enough to see him move up onto the podium by the end of the day. For Fernando the withdrawal of Ortiz and de los Santos, as well as several good finishes and a first on the day saw him on top of the fleet with a delighted Kappel and Wong right behind him. In the women’s Borgwardt maintained an easy lead ahead of Chen and Maudal.

The three RB races of the day saw no change in the top spots for the men, but third spot was hotly contended between Fernando and Turkish champ Taner Aykurt(TUR). The women’s RB had all the supporters on the edges of their seats at this stage with Jantawan and Borgwardt swopping top spot from race to race and ending with the exact same points at the end of the day. Anything could still happen though with two possible days of racing left and so it was time to take a night off and re-energize for the rest of the week.

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Friday and day four of the competition was also the first day of the Weekend Warrior and the first ever KTA Kids Races. Eight children all from the Philippines and under the age of 14 took part. As expected Christian Tio was out front, but he did have some stiff competition and now that Remel Rentillo and Mark Maa know how, he will have to watch out. The three ladies and two men in the Weekend Warriors also had their first taste of racing and hopefully this will mean that next time KTA is in town they will step it up to the TT class. Both these race classes are seen as feeder classes for the larger race fleets as it can be intimidating for first time racers, young and old to be out there competing against dozens of other riders.

The freestylers were released early for the day that was filled with TT and RB racing. In the TT standings not much changed even though both Chinese riders were more on form again and young Yue Chen(CHN) winning both races in the ladies division. The maximum number of RB races were run in the steady light breezes with and in the men’s division Atte Kappel(NOR) stepped up to challenge for third position. In the ladies Jantawan managed to win one more race than Borgwardt and ended the day one point in the lead with Oshima settling into third with not much hope of moving up the ranks by the end of the regatta.

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Fon Benyapa Jantawan & Kathrin Bogwardt in a Photo finish at KTA Philippines

With all the available discipline options being exhausted the day was called to an end and an evening of friends and merriment was planned with the hope of more wind for the final day of competition and the completion of the freestyle.

The weatherman was right and the final morning of competition arrived along with 20 knots plus of wind and an 8 am start for the freestylers. First up was the men’s fight for third before the finals in both the women’s and men’s which saw Kristiin Oja(EST) beat Estefania Rosa(BRA) in a similar match to the finals in Thailand and Victor Borsuk(POL) win out against local favorite Nacor. The wind was still picking up and after a short ceremony to announce the results of the single elimination on the beach it was straight into the double elimination in perfect sunshine, flat water and 25knot conditions.

The ladies were now on their 7 and 8m kites and the men on their 9’s going big, throwing in combinations and impressing the crowds. In the ladies Oshima was the stand out of the day as she clawed up the ladder winning five heats only to be stopped once she had her feet firmly on the podium by a fresh Rosa. The windy conditions still saw these girls looping, air passing and landing wrapped and blind with power. Unfortunately the wind did start to drop in the final between Estonia’s Oja and Rosa, not allowing them to showcase the level of the ladies ability as they would have liked, but both were happy with their heats and Oja’s power is what won her top spot over Rosa once again.

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estefania rosa from brazil at KTA Philippines 2013

In the men’s double elimination Philippine rider Reynard (Along) Gajisan also tried to stage a comeback from an unfortunate placing in the singles where he was beaten early on by the winner Borsuk. Gajisan won four heats in a row only to be stopped by Long Nguyen Duc(VIE) in a repeat of a battle that has played out at both the first two stops of this tour. Nguyen Duc then moved up to meet Nacor in a rematch from the single eliminations, which this time went in the Vietnamese rider’s favour and gave him the opportunity to challenge for top spot against Borsuk. Borsuk’s powerful combo moves both regular and switch however still kept him at the top of the freestyle results for the 2013 KTA Boracay.

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There was still wind and day left and a keen group of racers who wanted to improve their results, so two more races were run in all the divisions. Deng continued to race more consistently after a bad start to the competition and finally made his way back onto the podium in the men’s TT class, with only Kappel and Fernando ahead of him. There were no changes in the ladies TT division, but a very exciting finish to the RB division racing. Due to a miscount on the number of laps there were two new winners of the first RB race of the day with Taner Aykurt(TUR) securing his third position for the event. The miscount also gave Joanna Santos(PHI) her first ever win in RB class and hopefully motivated her to continue in this division. Top ladies spot in the RB class ended closer than ever before with a tie in the final net points and only the win given to Borgwardt as she won the final race of the event in a close finish.

After a full week of kiting with results in all competition categories and 14 RB, 12 TT, 4 Kids TT and 4 Weekend Warrior races completed it was time to get dressed up for the final evening prize giving at Tides and then time to party down at Area 51.

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ladies enjpoying the closing party at Tides

Thanks again to local sponsor Aqua Boracay by Yoo who provided the superb location and support. Also to the support of The Department of Tourism Philippines, Boracay weather station, Kasbah, Boracay Kitchen, Boracay Kite Resort, Surfer’s Home, Tides Hotel, Moonzone and all the lovely people of Boracay.

On top of that again a final big shout-out to Cabrinha for all those lovely prizes and the support throughout the tour also to Maelstorm and Ozone for backing the KTA Kite Kids, plus our ongoing tour sponsorship support from the Blue Orange Ville and Kite Zone Thailand.

Top Three Places – KTA Philippines

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Freestyle Men – 1. Victor Borsuk (POL) 2. Long Nguyen Duc (VIN) 3. Ken Nacor (PHL)

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Freestyle Women – 1. Kristiin Oja (EST) 2. Estefania Rosa (BRA) 3. Aya Oshima (JPN)

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RB Class Men – 1. Yo Narapichit Pudla (THA) 2. Ken Nacor (PHL) 3. Taner Aykurt (TUR)

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RB Class Women – 1. Kathrin Borgwardt (GER) 2. Fon Benyapa Jantawan (THA) 3. Aya Oshima (JPN)

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TTR Class Men – 1. Louie Fernando (PHL) 2. Atte Kapple (SWE) 3. Xiao Cheng Deng (CHN)

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TTR Class Women – 1. Kathrin Borgwardt (GER) 2. Yue Chen Jing (CHN)Rebecka Maudal (NOR)

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Kite Kids TTR – 1. Christian Tio (PHL) 2. Remel Rentilo (PHL) 3. John Steven (PHL)

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Weekend Warriors TTR Men – 1. Hendrik Vande Perre (HOL) 2. Alaistair Hopper (CAN)

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Weekend Warriors TTR Women – 1. Viola Kaukomen (FIN) 2. Maryjane Gajisan (PHL) 3. Rina Violeta (PHL)

See you next month in China…