The first two days of competition at Kite Clash Squamish have been full of excitement, with competitors in every category putting on a show. Day one was the Canadian Freestyle Championship and slalom racing. Day two was big air. The competition will conclude on Sunday with Open Freestyle. Rebecca Aldous has a report on all the action, below.
Day one of Kite Clash kicked off with the Canadian Freestyle Championship’s junior riders. There was some fierce competition between the young guns. Local boy Jack Rieder, 16, had a run for his money against the Karam twin brothers, Liam and Sean. What placed him ahead of the pack was his consistency, Kite Clash judge Geoffrey Waterson said.
“He did well because he didn’t crash and he landed a lot of technical, high-level tricks,” he added.
Rieder’s smooth riding placed him in first. There was only one point difference between Liam and Sean. Simran Kahlon came in fourth and Jordan Tulk fifth in his first competition.
Next up were the women. Airush rider Kenzie Carlstrom was coming off a win in the amateur women’s division at the Hood River’s Bridge of the Gods last month. In February she took home the Western Australian Championship. Born in Nelson, B.C., Carlstrom said she was excited to be competing in her home country. She came out on fire in Kite Clash, pulling ahead of the pack with tricks that landed her a five point lead.
“I am really stoked on this one,” Carlstrom said after winning the Canadian Freestyle championship. “It was my first competition in Canada and I was super happy to win it.”
“Kenzie was a standout rider,” Waterson said, noting with Corrie Coons points last year, he knew this was going to be a tough heat.
Coons grabbed silver and local gal Kalena Nielson placed third. Squamish crowd-favourite Josee Fontaine was not far behind her.
The men’s Canadian Championship took a blow when reigning Canadian champion Sam Medysky crashed while attempting a KGB. Medysky looked to have been knocked out for a moment, with rescuers quickly coming to his side. Medysky was able to walk when he was safely ashore but was taken to the hospital. Later reports said he suffered a concussion, but was sitting up and asking for a beer.
Once the coast was clear, the competition resumed. Prince Edward Island’s Lucas Arsenault was in the running for the top spot, along with Rieder and another pair of brothers – this time the Koenig brothers. The final was closely matched. Arsenault squeaked out a win ahead of Rieder. Once the scoring was calculated, Arsenault sat 2.5 points in the lead. The Koenig brother had an even tighter battle; Daniel captured the last podium spot. Stefan finished only two points behind to capture fourth place.
While it was disappointing to win the title without competing against the reigning champion, Arsenault said earning the trophy was on his to-do-list. Last year, his performance at Kite Clash mimicked that of Medysky’s ride, when Arsenault caught an edge and knocked himself out.
“On a personal level (the Canadian Freestyle Championship title) was something I set my goal to try at some time.”
The kite slalom was new to this year’s Kite Clash. It turned out to be a crowd pleaser. Racing was tight with a surprise jump in the middle of the course made for some exciting action.
The slalom finals saw five kiters around the course at a time. The final women’s heat saw Coons back on the course. She was up against Lia Feriancek, Alex Waterson and Jennifer Wormald. Coons pulled ahead at the first mark, with Wormald on her tail, while Feriancek and Waterson battled it out. Across the finish line it was Coons in first, Wormald second, Feriancek third and Waterson fourth.
The men final was made up of Andrei Mortila, Rieder, Arsenault and Daniel Koenig. Around the first mark, the racers were close. Mortila broke away. He was tightly followed by Rieder, with Arsenault coming in third.
“The action was fast and furious,” Kite Clash organizer Steve Tulk said. “I can’t wait for tomorrow.”
Strong wind led to high-flying action; Corrie Coons claims the biggest air of the day at Kite Clash Day Two
With gusts reaching up to 34 knots, Kite Clash organizer Steve Tulk switched the Freestyle Open event with the Big Air competition. The decision lead to some high-flying action as a storm rolled in. The competitors were scored on height, style and the technicality of the jumps.
“What a big air competition that was,” Tulk said. “Amazing winds today.”
The women’s final was made up of Corrie Coons, Marie-Eve Mayrand, Kenzi Carlstrom and Justi Vonada. The women went head to head while the crowd cheered them on. Carlstrom and Vonada then pulled in the points with some technical jumps and fancy style, while Mayrand gained some nice height.
But Coons with her trademark kiss was a crowd pleaser and in the end, took home the top spot with the most points. Coons ended up with the highest jump of the day, soaring a whopping 13 metres above the ocean. She out-jumped everyone in the men’s and women’s categories. It was the second year running that Coons claimed that crown.
“Maybe next year the guys can step it up a bit,” Coons said. Coons said she caught an updraft and felt like she just kept going up.
“I was thinking of doing a loop, but I was close to a ship,” she said. Coons’s massive jump gained her a big lead. She ended ahead of know reigning Canadian Freestyle Champion Carlstrom. Carlstrom’s fancy tricks and air-time put her in front of Vonada on the podium.
The men’s division saw some fierce competition. While the wind was pumping throughout the majority of the heats, the wind went lighter and gusty for the finals. But, four-time champion Lewis Crathern, Peter Martel, Phillip Schronger and Daniel Koenig put on a show. The final scores were the closest the Kite Clash had seen throughout its competitions. Seattle’s Schronger came out on top. He said he is used to getting big air, but wasn’t sure how he would fair on the technical side.
“Going big is my speciality, but I am not into the technical stuff so much,” Schronger said. Martel was able to land in the second spot, and Crathern came in third.
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