The anticipation is building for the long-awaited 2021 Red Bull King of the Air! It’s only a few short days until the window period opens, with the event scheduled to run on one day between November 18th and December 3rd. Riders, event organisers, and big air fans worldwide are refreshing the forecast in the hopes that the wind and waves will align to create the ultimate conditions to achieve extreme big air glory!

If this is your first year tuning into Red Bull King of the Air, you may be wondering what this event is all about! Red Bull explains: “This big-air kiteboarding event is the marquee date in athletes’ calendars. When the weather window opens and conditions – fuelled by the powerful Cape winds and heavy seas – are just right, the world’s best put their skills to the test in this hardcore competition. This event will be fully livestreamed on Red Bull TV and the event call will be made 48 hours out.”

There are whispers of a solid wind forecast for this coming weekend, with the WindGuru report looking promising on Friday, November 19th and Saturday, November 20th. However, the wind itself isn’t enough. Big waves are the other piece of the puzzle, allowing riders to use the swell as ramps to take off and reach the maximum height. With a swell forecast reaching 2.5 metres on Saturday, these might be the ideal conditions we’re all waiting for!

With 18 riders set to compete and 7 of those riders participating for the very first time, it is sure to be a battle on the beaches of Bloubergstrand. Will one of the previous Kings of the Air take the prize? Or will we be seeing a new face on the top of the podium this year? Find out more about the rider lineup at: https://www.redbull.com/za-en/events/red-bull-king-of-the-air/kota-2021-riders

The outcome of the event all comes down to how the judges determine the athlete’s performance. Sportive Director Sergio Cantagalli says, “We want to see the riders going as high and extreme as possible, while being in control and stylish throughout the trick. In addition, we are looking at variation in the different tricks that they perform. This should result in the most complete extreme big air rider on top of the podium.”

The winner of the event will be the one who achieves the right combination of height and extremity. The scores will be calculated with 70% on height and 30% on extremity. Judges want to see high tricks, extreme moves, and control from the athletes. While there is no limitation to the maximum tricks attempted, only the three best (separate) tricks will count towards the score.

A fourth score will be applied for the overall impression, determined at the end of the heat and considering technical difficulty, style, variety, execution, risk, show, and innovation. In previous events, the overall impression score has tipped the scales, so this is an important number to look out for at the end of the heats. The average of the four scores (three best tricks + overall impression) will make up the final score. Read more about the judging criteria here: https://www.redbull.com/za-en/events/red-bull-king-of-the-air/red-bull-king-of-the-air-judging

Stay tuned! We’ll be watching the forecast closely and keeping you informed on what’s happening at the 2021 Red Bull King of the Air!

Mon 15th Nov, 2021 @ 12:00 pm

By Crystal Veness
Editor at IKSURFMAG, Crystal Veness hails from Canada but is based in South Africa. When she isn't busy kitesurfing or reporting on the latest industry news for the mag, she is kicking back somewhere at a windy kite beach or working on creative media projects.

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