Last Saturday (14 July) saw 28 kitesurfers take on the wind and waves in Worthing, battling it out in The Big Air Open Kitesurfing Classic which was held for the first time in the town.
The Big Air Open, based on a ‘how high can you jump format’, was organised by Worthing based kitesurfer Lewis Crathern and Breathe Unity, and supported by Worthing Borough Council.
The day started with riders’ registration and briefings followed by set up on the beach, with a 15mph Westerly breeze accompanied by small to mid size kickers on the water. The inaugural Big Air Open kicked off with the start of the first heat at 9.30 am, which straight away attracted spectators and supporters keen to watch the spectacle on the water.
Sunshine and wind arrived even though the forecast was looking bleak!
In the men’s ladder local brothers Dan and Ollie Sweeney (RRD/Hadlow) impressed and stormed through to the quarter finals as did other local Kev Maguire (Best Kiteboarding / 5X British Tour Senior Champion). Experienced British Tour Pro rider Martyn Hogg (Flexifoil) also made it through and was joined by an array of local and not so local kitesurfers who fought there way up the scoreboard ladder.
The female riders coped with the changing conditions very well changing down kites as the wind strengthened. By lunchtime the Worthing Effect had fully established itself at the event site. Spectators were basking in the sunshine whilst riders took on the 22mph South Westerly winds. The ladies side of the ladder was extremely exciting and did conclude with a full set of results.
It's a tough job, someone has to do it! Judges Jim Gaunt (l), Ali Barrett (m), Luke Denny (r)
The running order for the men was halted nearing the quarter final stage after 17 heats. A large back front had tracked through which became a concern for the riders and effectively ended heats for the day. The event was however hailed a success by everyone involved, and the day concluded with the ladies’ podium and prizes for ‘Mens Best Wipe Out Avoidance’ and ‘Most Stylish’ awarded.
As there was no official one winner of The Big Air Open the prize money, sponsored by Kingsley Eco Solutions, was put behind the bar by a unanimous decision supported by the sponsor at the celebratory after party.
1st Place: Natasha Stipp / Andrina Kelly (Best Kiteboarding)
2nd Place: Henrietta Durbin
3rd Place: Karolina Kurek
Mens Best Wipe Out Avoidance: James Inkpen (Best)
Kitesurfkings Style Prize: Martyn Hogg (Flexifoil)
The organisers expressed a huge thank to the judges Ali Barrett, Luke Denny and Jim Gaunt as well as to all the marshals, volunteers and everyone who showed support for the event.
The main sponsors of The Big Air Open 2012 were Worthing Borough Council, Kingsley Eco Solutions, Breathe Unity and Windmachine with Kiteworld, The Kite Show, Splash FM, Essentially Worthing and Brighton Active being the media partners.
Further supporters of The Big Air Open 2012 included Garmin, Slingshot, Dakine, Xcel, BEST, ION, RRD, K66, Clif Bar, Lagoon Watersports, Kitesurfkings, KB4Girls, Tangerine Bar, The Burlington Hotel, Toast by the Coast, 74 Fish & Chips, Kaffe GoGo, Smiths, Huets, Klick Chick Photography, Hybred Events, United Magic Film Studios and Visit Worthing.
Go to www.thebigairopen.com for further details about The Big Air Open and like the Facebook page to get all the latest updates and further details about the riders. www.facebook.com/thebigairopenkitesurfing