The 2017 TwinTip:Racing Asian Championships came to an end yesterday, with plenty of racing action in all divisions.
Run for the first time completely in the event format which will also be used in the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Argentina when kiteboarding will make its Olympic debut, the youth riders showed that they can beat most of the open men and women competitors.
The slalom/boardercross format requires equipment control and technical skills more than anything else to achieve top speeds and controlled jumps over the floating obstacles. This puts equipment choice into the background, making this event especially affordable for the emerging and developing nations,letting riders chose series production equipment "off the shelf" from a wide range of manufacturers.
After 5 days of intense racing, the leaders went into the final day with only marginal leads, any mistake could change the podium positions especially in the hard fought boys division where Philippines Christian Tio had a triple handicap by competing in the boys, open mens, and freestyle divisions of the event. The 15 year old surely had the most kilometers in his legs at the end of the week !
With winds blowing in our favour from mid-morning onwards, the final day of competition kicked off with energy and high expectations in equal parts. The racers were split into different fleets than the previous few days, going from fleets of 8 to fleets of 15 on average. It made for an interesting turn of racing stats, as suddenly different names from the top contenders were pitted against each other for the first time this week.
Although we have come quite accustomed to seeing the likes of Yo and Atte chasing each other up and down the race course, it’s been seldom we’ve seen Atte Kappel and Christian Tio battling it out at the front of the pack.
Similarly we saw fellow Thai, Praphan Thongnak up at the front of the fleet giving Asian Champion Yo Narapichit Pudla a run for his money on a number of occasions. Even in the final day of competition nobody’s fate was certain.
Nobody’s fate, that is, except for 16 year old Jingle Chen from China, who didn’t falter from her top position in a single heat this week. When she casually hopped off her board at the shore break after effortlessly leaving the rest of the women’s fleet trailing behind her, she smiled with ease and explained that in fact, it wasn’t as easy as it looked- foiling has been her main focus over the past few months and to ride a twin tip again feels very challenging- especially given the level of her competitors. Well, Jingle, your modesty matches your skills.
Once all the races came to a close, 30 or so kiters took to the water for the long awaited end of week expression session. A huge crowd drew around the edge of the bleachers and spilled out onto the sand, every set of eyes captivated by the pack of riders jumping, spinning, and pulling out every trick you can imagine- however unpolished it might have been it was a genuine show of expression, that’s for sure.
While kiteboarding moves gradually further and further down the Olympic path, we often find parallels drawn between our sports. For most of the parts kiteboard racing is closely aligned with the world of sailing, but here is where the difference lies- in the core of the sport, in the spirit of the riders in the last hours of a week-long competition, in the expression session, where everyone is coming together to share the water, the wind, the sun in a friendship way, put all competition aside.
With the expression complete the riders finally made their way from the beach to prepare themselves for the awards ceremony and final closing party. Again sponsored and prepared by our very hands on title sponsors Moose Cider. It’s been great working with these guys and to see new support from them coming into our sport.
It was a tired, but happy crew of riders, officials and event team that gathered for the awards at the atmospheric site of Wilburland for the final bash. The awards were led by TV presenter Grace Austin and MC Reo Mendoza who brought the summary of the week together and presented the winners to the assembled crowds of supporters.
IKA Technical Director Markus Schwendter then closed the formal proceedings with the motivating speech that confirmed that everyone had played their part in consolidating the Youth Olympic race format choice was a good one.
The week had played out perfectly on that score, some lessons learned and adjustments made for sure, but in the end we have our first Kite Olympic race been an overwhelming success, so it’s ‘onwards and upwards from here on in until 2018 with the next two major competitions in Italy (European Championships) and Korea (World Championships) giving the riders another important testing ground on their way to the Qualifier Events beginning of 2018.
The complete format, scoring, qualification criteria for the 2017 World Championships and the 2018 Youth Olympic Qualifier events will be published in the next days on the Class website.
Men (after Qualifying round and 6 eliminations):
1. Narapichit Pudla (THA, Ozone) - 7 pts
2. Atte Kappel (SWE, Flysurfer) - 9 pts
3. Christian Tio / U18 (PHI, North) - 9 pts
Women (after Qualfying round and 10 eliminations):
1. Jingle Chen / U18 (CHN, Ozone) - 8 pts
2. Aya Oshima (JPN, North) - 16 pts
3. Kathrin Borgwardt (GER, Cabrinha) - 23 pts
Boys (after Qualifying round and 10 eliminations)
1. Christian Tio (PHI, North) - 11 pts
2. Sarun Rupchom (THA, Ozone) - 12 pts
3. Sirawit Prangsri (THA, Flysurfer) - 27 pts
Girls (after Qualifying round and 10 eliminations)
1. Jingle Chen (CHN) - 8 pts
2. Ninachan Rodthong (THA) - 16 pts
For full results in all divisions please visitwww.twintipracing.com/results
Pictures can be downloaded from:
For daily highlight videos, please seehttps://www.youtube.com/user/IKAClass/videos
Winds began early this morning in Pranburi, and the crew made short time of pumping kites and getting the first rounds of racing underway, fearing that a strange forecasted weather front would move in early in the afternoon and kill the wind.
Riders took to the water to continue what was started in yesterday’s downwind slalom course, but today’s racing brought a new challenge: the introduction of Boardercross. 2 sets of Boardercross jumps were laid out within the slalom course, where riders were required to make successful jumps over the obstacles or face disqualification from the race. It certainly made for quite the show beachside, with plenty of thrills and spills, and a couple more tangles.
The battle for first place was hotly contested, with Yo Narapichit Pudla (Thailand) predictably at the front of the pack in a number of heats. Christian Tio (Philippines), sponsored rider of North and Red Bull proved himself as quite the racer, a nice addition to his already hefty collection of freestyle accolades.
For the women the battles continued afresh as we left them yesterday, with Jingle Chen (China) and long-time women’s Asian race champion Kathrin Borgwardt (Germany) taking the jumping addition in their stride. It was clear though that with the addition of jumps, there was much higher potential of position changes as the race unfolds. This is not just with the potential of not clearing the obstacle clearly as you might imagine, but also with the tactics needed to make the right approach and exit from the jump in the first place.
‘With just the plain slalom course yesterday the winner of each race was the person who made the first mark first’ Borgwardt mention, ‘but with the jumps you could easily lose speed if you got in wrong and be overtaken’
In our youth fleet the upfront action was all taking place between the Philippines, Thailand and Japan, as Christian Tio, Sarun Rupchom and Hiro Karamon also took eagerly to the Boardercross component. All though are equally at home in freestyle, so its perhaps not surprising that they felt at home and with this group in particular it was certainly showing the validity of the format for YOG.
Early in the afternoon racing turned over to Freestyle X, although for a short time the judges were questioning whether it should go ahead due to the questionable wind conditions. Thankfully the winds blew right back onto the beach just in time for us to begin what was to become a full afternoon of freestyle heaven.
Freestyle X is a competition format originally coined by the KTA. The rules are you will be marked 50% on new school tricks and 50% old school- the idea is that the best overall rider will win, not just the wake style expert or big air junky. From what we saw today, the format definitely pushed a lot of riders out of their comfort zones.
Three different divisions competed today- men’s, women’s and youth. The men’s were conducted in a very traditional timed heat format, 10 minutes per heat for 8 trick attempts, with 2 riders on the water at a time. Riders are marked on their best 4 tricks- 2 old school, 2 new school.
The women’s division was predictably small compared with the men’s, so instead of a timed heat with 2 riders each, the 4 competing girls were out on the water together with an unlimited time to complete their allocated 8 attempts each. As the wind continued to blow throughout the afternoon we were graced with conditions to compete through to the finals. In the end it was Aya Oshima of Japan who walked away with this year’s freestyle title, with Kathrin Borgwardt of Germany in second place, Young Eun Lee of Korea in third, and Fon Benyapa Jantawan in fourth.
The men’s division split at the semi-finals, with an A and B level of final heats. In the B level it was Eric Rienstra (USA), who nabbed the first spot over local Thai rider Praphan Thongnak, securing himself a spot on the podium. Eric is a regular on the Kite Park League tour, so has an impressive repertoire of tricks up his sleeve. In the A final, to nobody’s surprise, was Yo Narapichit Pudla and Christian Tio. Taking on 5 times Asian Champion is certainly not an easy task, but one that 15 year old Christian took into his stride nevertheless. Both riders fought hard, clearly pushing their abilities to the absolute limit. Yo, riding on a race kite, seemed to have the upper hand slightly in keeping upwind in relation to the competition box, whereas Christian on his North Vegas quickly lost distance, costing him valuable trick pulling time. The word from the judge’s tower is that in terms of their new school performances it was a tie, but when it came to their old school, well there’s just no beating the master Yo it seems, as he stole the show and nabbed his number one spot on the podium.
Men (after Qualifying round and 2 eliminations):
1. Narapichit Pudla (THA) - 5 pts
2. Atte Kappel (SWE) - 10 pts
3. Praphan Thongnak - 13 pts
Women (after Qualfying round and 4 eliminations):
1. Jingle Chen (CHN) - 4 pts
2. Kathrin Borgwardt (GER) - 9 pts
3. Aya Oshima (JPN) - 9 pts
Boys (after Qualifying round and 4 eliminations)
1. Chriistian Tio (PHI) - 5 pts
2. Sarun Rupchom (THA) - 8 pts
3. Hiro Karamon (JPN) - 14 pts
Girls (after Qualifying round and 4 eliminations)
1. Jingle Chen (CHN) - 4 pts
2. Ninachan Rodthong (THA) - 8 pts
For full details please visitwww.twintipracing.com/results
Today marked the first day we have seen the future Youth Olympic course in action, and it was indeed a sight to see. The downwind slalom course was raced in 8 man fleets, with rider’s zig zagging back and forth from the beach right in front of a crowd of impressed onlookers.
Sailing races of any kind, and that includes kiteboarding in this case, can at times be rather detached from the spectators on the beach- by nature many courses will be set far out to sea, or designed in such a way that the fleet often splits direction right at the start of the race making it near impossible to tell who is where if you should take your eyes off the race for more than a second.
However, a downwind slalom course like that of today brings the action right to the shore break, meaning spectators get treated to an up close look at riders taking hard corners, fighting for position, and sometimes getting into some gnarly tangles!
Indeed such a course is a smart choice for the IKA TTR format at the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina in 2018, where kiteboarding will makes its Olympic debut.
Back to today however, in the men’s fleet, Sweden’s Atte Kappel was unable to hang onto his race dominance from the qualifying series, as Asian Champion Yo Narapichit Pudla (Thailand) took control. Closely on his heels however was the young Filipino Christian Tio, who looks set to chase Yo down for the rest of the week. There will be some interesting battles ahead for certain.
On the women’s side of things China’s Jingle Chen pushed ahead of Germany’s Kathrin Borgwardt, in some very closely fought races. While Japan’s Aya Oshima and Thailand’s Fon Benyapa Jantawan battled it out for third and fourth positions respectively.
Bearing this in mind this event was a test for the Youth Olympics, it is important to draw attention to the rather impressive fleet of 13 youths competing today - with rider ages ranging from 12-16. All eyes are on these guys as everyone’s attention turns towards the Olympic arena for YOG in 2018.
But for now our eyes were firmly focused on the beach in Pranburi, as mid-afternoon racing came to a close and a full afternoon of KTA Freestyle X opened up, ensuring the excitement of the morning didn’t drop for a second. With a total of 15 heats completed today, the freestyle riders draw that little closer to their final podium goals.
For the women it’s a four way battle between Aya Oshima form Japan, Thailands Fon Benyapa Jantawan, Kathrin Borgwardt of Germany and Lee Young Eun from South Korea. Following a super session for the girls, it would be Oshima coming out on top, riding powerfully throughout the day, with Borgwardt this time settling for second place.
The men were also throwing it down and the assembled spectators cheered on their favourites as a powerful display of old and new school moves were blended together by these highly skilled athletes. And while everything is still there to be played for as the men’s heats still need to be fully completed, certain riders are moving ahead of the pack. Philippines Christian Tio is again a rider to be watched as is Kite Park Leagues Eric Rienstra from the USA. Both will be progressing onto the final stages of the competition later this week, along with Sylvanine Seynaeve and Alex Cargarin.
Men (after Qualifying round and 1 elimination):
1. Narapichit Pudla (THA) - 4 pts
2. Chriistian Tio (PHI) - 4 pts
3. Atte Kappel (SWE) - 8 pts
Women (after Qualfying round and 2 eliminations):
1. Jingle Chen (CHN) - 4 pts
2. Kathrin Borgwardt (GER) - 7 pts
3. Aya Oshima (JPN) - 10 pts
Boys (after Qualifying round and 2 eliminations)
1. Chriistian Tio (PHI) - 3 pts
2. Sirawit Prangsri (THA) - 8 pts
3. Hiro Karamon (JPN) - 13 pts
Girls (after Qualifying round and 2 eliminations)
1. Jingle Chen (CHN) - 3 pts
2. Ninachan Rodthong (THA) - 6 pts
For full details please visitwww.twintipracing.com/results
The long awaited opener to the 2017 TwinTip:Racing season in the lead up to next years Youth Olympic Games has arrived and with it brings a combination of many firsts.
The week-long event organized by KTA (Kiteboard Tour Asia) brings together both the Asian Continental Championships and Thai National Series. The event also for the first time sees the new Youth Olympic TT:R race format which all eyes are on and promises to provide some highly entertaining racing as the week progresses.
Proceedings kicked off over the weekend with the Moose Thailand Kiteboarding Championships running ahead of the Continentals. It would turn out to be a weekend of near perfect conditions, with clear blue skies and winds of between 16-18kts and the 70 strong local fleet had plenty to smile about by the end of play on Sunday evening.
Saturday would play host to the national TT:R fleet, which would be run over the more standard windward/leeward courses. Racing began early and race after race took us through to the end of the day.
Sunday brought another day of perfect stable winds and fierce competition as the Thai Nationals freestyle heats hit the water. The early morning blessings of the full-moon Tharn Boon Tak Bart ceremony seem to have secured the conditions and a high level of riding played out on the water for the rest of the day.
Following the beach award ceremony for the Moose Thailand Kiteboarding Championships, the whole event moved off to the local Thailand Kite Cable Park for an opening evening and party hosted by Moose and Red Bull, to welcome in the international riders and mark the start of the Moose Asian TT:R Championships and KTA Freestyle X.
With the beginning of the international competition, IKA Competition Director Markus Schwendtner took everyone through the new Youth Olympic race format. It’s certainly a very different package to what the riders are used to, but all the talk amongst them is positive and excited to try out the slalom and boardercross formats. This is especially true for the13 younger riders who are registered in for the Asian Championship, as they have the potential to be at the Youth Olympics in 2018.
The first full day of competition began somewhat slowly as the crew and competitors arrived to a beautiful, but as yet wind free morning.
However, nervous reviews of the day’s weather data revealed that the situation should improve and by the early afternoon we could once again be enjoying the conditions that prevail the previous weekend for the Thai Nationals. Thankfully, the weather gods and ‘Wind Guru’ were on the ball and as A.M. shifted to P.M. the air began to move and kites were soon began to be pumped and prepared.
TwinTip:Racin would lead proceedings for the day and following the skippers meeting, the riders headed for the water in anticipation of their first experience of the new slalom format.
Time trials would be the order of the day, with the full TTR fleet (combining men, women and youth) racing to provide the initial rider seeding’s needed to create the later slalom race groups. Slalom and Boardercross are the chosen formats for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games and everyone is eagerly waiting to see this in action. For the seeding races a figure of 8 course was in place, which being laid only metres off the beach, was certainly going to be bringing front row action for everyone.
And what a spectacular sight as the 45 strong fleet blasted towards the beach from the upwind start line, rounding the first mark beachside and then settling into the figure of 8 course. Sweden’s Atte Kapple lead the way, as he would indeed do so for the second time trial also and it all seemed plain sailing as he raced towards mark 2 and the start of the figure 8.
It is quite something to be watching kite racing right at the beach line, especially as they hit the centre point of the figure 8 course and need to cross through each other almost. It was testament to the skill levels of the riders on display, as many spectators voiced their expectations of certain crashes and tangles that that did not really occur at any great level.
Certainly from the beach the enjoyment level was fantastic, as were the happy expressions of the returning riders. Without a doubt it was challenging racing and something quite different, but a few misunderstandings aside it seems the format was well received and time trialing has a place in the championship race week process.
Tomorrow then will see the start of the Youth Olympic Slalom proper, which could also include Boardercross jumps, depending of course on the conditions of the day. For the racers though, the new opening format has wet their appetite and tomorrow’s changes are being well anticipated.
From this point on the event moved across the KTA Freestyle-X, the format that combines both new school and old school tricks. Riders are required to perform both hooked and unhooked moves in their heats, with the top two moves of each style being scored by the judges to give the final outcome and winner.
In the end the freestyle rider were though, not be as lucky as the racers as the third and what turned out to be the final heat of the day was cancelled due to the dropping evening wind. Not however before KPL’s Eric Rienstra and Alex Cagarin took wins in their heats to progress through to the next round. These first two heats did however show the range and versatility that riders would be needing to demonstrate over the week to make their way to the final podium. Which means we are all in for a freestyle visual treat as the KTA Freestyle-X unfolds.
Rankings TT:R after Time Trials
1. Atte Kappel (SWE) - 2 pts
2. Chriistian Tio (PHI) - 5 pts
3. Narapichit Pudla (THA) - 5 pts
1. Kathrin Borgwardt (GER - 3 pts
2. Jingle Chen (CHN) - 3 pts
3. Nichanan Rodthong (THA) - 10 pts
1. Chriistian Tio (PHI) - 2 pts
2. Sarun Rupchom (THA) - 4 pts
3. Sirawit Prangsri (THA) - 6 pts
1. Jingle Chen (CHN) - 4 pts
2. Nichanan Rodthong (THA) - 4 pts
For more information, visitwww.twintipracing.comand the event facebook page at https://web.facebook.com/events/381413425556785/402785420086252
World Sailing has published the equipment limitations to the kiteboarding events in the Youth Olympic Games 2018. The formats for all events (including kiteboarding, windsurfing and mixed multihull) will be published in a separate document, however for kiteboarding the format will be downwind slalom / boardercross, with obstacles added to the course depending on the wind strength.
The full text of the class rules can be found here:
These class rule changes follow the decisions made by the 2016 IKA Annual General Meeting two weeks ago.
The registration deadline for TT:R hulls and kites is 1 September 2017. The equipment registration scheme will be available within the next few days.
In the meantime, please do not hesitate to send us any questions on equipment as well as format that you may have, which we will collect and publish in the FAQ section on the IKA website.
A dedicated TwinTip:Racing website will go online shortly with all information about equipment, format, rules, qualification system and upcoming events.