C2sky Freestyle & Old Skool Raid – Wrap-Up Report
23 February, 2012
All photos courtesy of KiteboardTour.asia.
The thing about working with environmental forces as your prime power source is that you are always on the edge about whether it will show up or not and at the right level you need. Vietnam and Mui Ne are on paper one of the places to be this time of year if you favor your kiteboarding served up with hardcore wind and water conditions, but for the KTA date choice it was not so lucky as the wind tucked itself out of sight for most of the week, but when it did pitch in and do its thing what a hell of a competition unfolded!
Following registration that saw 41 riders signing up for the three disciplines on offer – Freestyle, Old Skool and Big Air, the first day unfolded into one of catching up with old friends, tuning equipment and getting a feel for the Mui Ne conditions out on the water. Even though there were less riders for this tour stop than in many others it was a solid turn out freestyle wise that included 14 women riders in its numbers, which reflects how the girls have become more involved with the competitive side of the sport, a very far cry from the KTA’s first ever event back in China in 2009 when only 3 girls took to the water.
The registration also show a further change in the make-up of KTA competitors in our third season as without offering racing the number is half of that of the last KTA round. It shows us that riders have become more specialised into specific discipline areas, whereas in season one most competed in everything, now though you need to focus more to reach the top. That of course is not the only factor because for sure racing is many riders fun way into being a real active player at the events rather than just a sideline observer, which the TT class numbers always attest too.
The C2Sky Freestyle Raid and Asian Old Skool Champions though kicked off in true KTA style with the Cabrinha Opening Party presented by Unique Resort. Following on from that mega Cabrinha closing party in Boracay it was going to be interesting to see how this time would compare and wow what different package was on offer to kick start this event. Fire dancers, belly dancers and manic magicians created a carnival atmosphere as the riders, event followers and local party crowd tucked into the Cabrinha beers and hog roast all beautifully cater for by Unique, truly then a ‘unique opening to a KTA event.
The focus though needs to go to the middle of the event week which was the day that unfolded all the on water action and showed what this place is truly like when it wants to play ball. With winds starting out in the low 20kt range in the morning and building steadily through to a kite pounding 30kts plus by the time the Big Air riders went out in the late afternoon, it was a day not many will forget. Certainly following the full-on non-stop programme of over seven hours of competition a lot of happy buy slightly battered riders were to leave the beach in search a quite sit down by the end of proceedings.
Competition Director Stephan Hertig set out with a mission to complete all disciplines and have results for each done and dusted by the end of the day, just in case these conditions did not hold and with a bad forecast looming for the rest of the event, this as it turned out was spot on decision.
So as one and all settled in for a feast of freestyle, Old Skool and Big Air action we all knew no one was going to leave disappointed.
The Freestyle ran just a singles eliminator which started with a few upsets in the men’s heats. Current Asian Champion Yo Narapichit Pudla was ousted at an early stage in his heat, although way more powered the Thai Asian champion couldn’t land any tricks and bowed out to his opponent.
Polands Marek Rowinski (Flexifoil) was showing awesome skills throughout all his heats with doubles left right and centre. Rowinski was pulling really powered moves throughout as he moved steadily through the heats, but then just as he looked set to take the top slot he was piped at the post by the Canadian Pro rider from Best, Sam Medysky who found solace riding in full boots and binding’s boots in the rough conditions. Marek lost his board a few times in the finals allowing Sam to secure more tricks across the heat and with some killer high mobes and slims off the wave kickers under his belt; Sam Medysky sailed to a clear and deserved win.
Taking up the third position was KTA regular and Philippine number one Ken Nacor. Now in his third season with the KTA Cabrinha rider Nacor showed he is still got a lot to unleash in freestyle even though he has started this season to show form also in the course racing RB class. Could this in fact be Ken’s year to take that Asian title, well only time will tell, but for now he is in there with a shout.
For the ladies the big upset came when favourite for the competition New Zealand number one Su Kay also riding for Cabrinha torn her knee landing a railey to toe side move. This would allow Norwegian Jannicke Stav(Nobile) to sail to the finals against Nanette van doer Snoek (North) who had ousted Australian Ali Dudfield (Slingshot) in the previous round landing stylish back to blinds and powerful sbend blind. The Dutch rider was on a roll in the finals holding onto the consistency she had built up in previous rounds to take the first place from Stav who pushed hard but could not knock Nenette off course this time out.
This round of the Asian Freestyle Tour Championship then moved aside for the first ever Asian Old Skool Championship. A championship event that has grown out of the KTA’s Old Skool Project of last season, which though as move of a side show grabbed everyone attention whenever it hit the water. So it seemed only right to give this discipline although as yet un-sanctioned by the powers that be its own platform and the full recognition it deserves.
With the winds now blowing as the Old Skoolers hit the water no one was to be disappointed and yet again an amazing show of airstyling unfolded. Local rider Kin Nguyen Duc (Kinn) showed some real progressive and imaginative talent and stylish board offs to whip up the local support but unfortunately on his last trick Kin landed badly and unfortunately cracked a rib which forced him to retire. Germany’s Toby Brauer perhaps one of the world’s best Old Skool riders however stole the show with tricks and moves fresh out of the bag – a varity of 450tricks, board kick flips, mega rotations, overhead board spins, leg passes and even a deadman board flip. Really that is one of the attractions of this style of competition anyone can create something completely new at any point in time and blow everyone away.
Vietnam’s Lai Hoang Phi was very close for second, another local rider showing how strong Old Skool is in Mui Ne, but even he could not hold back Brauer in full flow. In the end though freestyle winner Sam Medysky was to show he was equally at home in this discipline also and pulled out some impressive last minute trick action to nudge him just above Phi to take the second place, with Bauer the clear winner and first ever Men’ Old Skool Asian Champion.
On the women’s side of this competition Swiss rider Astrid Berz wowed us all with one of the best ladies Old Skool shows we have seen – one foot board-offs, two foot board-offs and some real prim an proper air ballerina style rolls. Old Skool is all about the show and Berz had the airstyle to carry here all the way in both the judges and the crowd’s eyes. Not that the other girls let her have it on a plate and again it was to be the freestyle winner pushing the Old Skool leader all the way as Nanette van doer Snoek showed she was as happy pushing out the moves hooked in as unhooked. Vietnam power was also right there again in the women’s group with local favorite Julia Diep Anh Thu flying the Old Skool flag and busting moves to take her into third position. Congratulations though once again to the women’s first ever Asian Old Skool Champion Astrid Berz.
Big Air was the bonus event and everyone wanted in. It was an amazing spectacle with 40 riders lining up in two’s to get 3 chances of getting the hugest air and longest hang time!
It’s a straight forward competition event that for many riders goes right back to the core of what got them hooked on this amazing sport in the first place and that’s that feeling like no other when you blast a big old high flying jump. The crowds love it too as there is nothing quite like seeing a rider way up there, plenty of wow factor and a bunch of clapping.
For the Big Air then the winning air time was stonking 6.2 seconds for the men’s by Russia’s Pavel Christiankov. For the women once again appearing in the medals was Vietnam’s Julia Diep Anh Thu who showed no fear of the conditions and hit the water on an 11mtr kite while only weighing in at around 45kgs. Her hangtime was only 0.8 of a second less than Pavel with 5.4 seconds and actually that air time was only beaten by two other guys. Overall this was a strong event for Vietnam, no doubt all that local knowledge coming into play as Phu Lai Hoang and Phi Lai Hong came in second and third places respectivelyin the men’s side of things, with Russia’s Regina Khvatkina and Poland’s Katarzyna Lange doing likewise for in the women’s competition.
So in a nutshell that was it competition wise for the KTA Vietnam, short and hectic but results, outcomes and happy riders by the end and that’s what counts. Guess that’s why we hold events over several days rather than just for the weekend and certainly when you see the wind is going to kick back in just after you leave, then you can fully appreciate those KSP Kitesurf world tour 10 day hold over competition periods – luxury indeed.
Still regardless of that KTA events are always big on enjoying the location and the social factor and Mui Ne did not miss out on that factor. The Maelstorm Mid-Party Night presented by the Kinn Team was however a little dented by the fact that it suffered a power cut for most of the night, taking out the planned KTA and Kinn video showings. But the traditional Vietnamese food went down very well with tired riders as did the free Maelstorm beers in tubs of ice everywhere, turning yet again another impromptu Maelstorm backed affair in to a big one!
Further social and rider happenings including a full blown poker night also quite spirits high at Oceans Republic another very cool Mui Ne venue and local supporter and sponsor of the KTA.
And the winners are…
Asian Old Skool Championship
1. Toby Braeuer
2. Sam Medysky
3. Phi Hai Long
1. Astrid Berz
2. Nanette van der Snoek
3. Julia Deip Anh Thu
1. Sam Medysky
2. Merek Rowinski
3. Ken Nacor
1. Nanette van der Snoek
2. Jannicke Stav
3. Ali Dudfield
1. Pavel Christiankov
2. Phu Lai Hoang
3. Phi Lai Hong
1. Julia Deip Anh Snoek
2. Regina Khvatkina
3. Katarzyna Lange