KTA Thailand Christmas Race Special – Day 2
20 December, 2013
Tight racing on day two of the Asian race series in Phuket cements overall leaders’ positions, though not without upsets.
Thai rider Narapichit “Yo” Pudla put in an almost faultless day’s work at the Kite Tour Asia (KTA) Christmas Race Special, blowing away the opposition in the raceboard class by convincingly winning all five races.
But in the twin tip racing division, which has just achieved International Sailing Federation (ISAF) class recognition earning competitors the chance for International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) world ranking points, it was not such plain sailing for Pudla.
The 23-year-old had to share the honours with Doque Delos Santos (PHI), the reigning KTA Asian twin tip racing champion, splitting two bullets and two second places in each of the four races run on the track in Chalong Bay in fresh winds that topped 16kts early on before dropping to around 11kts.
Kathrin Borgwardt (GER) was equally dominant on her raceboard in the three-day event, winning all five of the women’s races, which were staged with the men in a fleet totalling up to 16 riders.
For Borgwardt, based in Boracay, Philippines, the story her day on the twin tip all but mirrored that of Pudla. The German scored one bullet by virtue of a starting sequence infringement by Lisa Nikitina (UKR), who crossed the finish line first, only to find she had been disqualified.
Borgwardt took three other second places in the total of four races, giving up bullets to Nikitina, 23, and Benyapa “Fon” Jantawan (THA) in the breezy tropical conditions that moderated as the tide dropped and water grew shallow.
Jantawan, 29, had less luck in the raceboard class where she was disqualified in three of her five races, again for starting sequence infringements. She took two second places to the experienced German, but could not match her pace.
Like many of the 33 registered riders from 12 nations taking part, Jantawan chose to compete in both the twin tip and raceboard classes, in contests run alternately back-to-back. After nine consecutive races she was feeling the strain.
By contrast, Bitna Kim (KOR), who took four third-places on her raceboard at the event organized by KTA, presented by main sponsor Tamarind Villas and hosted by Kitezone, regards every race as a chance to learn.
The 20-year-old, from Gangtung on South Korea’s east coast, suffers from lack of competition at home to hone her skills. But one of the other leading riders at the event, Atte Kappel (SWE), is her coach and drives her to perfect her manoeuvres and sharpen her appreciation of racing tactics.
“I’m really enjoying this event a lot,” she said. “But the water can get a little shallow. I hit a rock and broke the fin on my board on the first day. Still, I just want to learn all I can.”
Student Adrian Geislinger (AUT) has been learning a different lesson. He has been giving Pudla and Chanon “Jack” Phrakew (THA) a run for their money in the men’s formula raceboard class but hopes the final day of competition will bring further stronger conditions that he believes favour him over the lighter Thai riders.
But Geislinger, a 21-year-old from Vienna who has been in Thailand testing next season’s race kites for Gaastra, could still be satisfied with his haul of three second places, a third and a fourth over the day.
“I hope we definitely have some more strong winds for the last day,” he said. “I think that would help me keep my overall second place. The fact of the matter is that ‘Yo’ and ‘Jack’ are better in lighter winds.”
KTA Christmas Race Special results and standings – http://www.kiteboardtour.asia/result-and-ranking/kta-2013-thailand-phuket-xmas-race-rb.
For more information, visit www.kiteboardtour.asia.