The 2017 TwinTip:Racing Asian Championships finished with a full day of action in every category. The event, held in Pranburi, Thailand included both race and freestyle events for men, women, and juniors. Organizers were excited about the success of the debut of the competition format that will be used in the 2018 Young Olympic Games. For a full description of the action and the final results, continue reading the news below, provided by the International Kiteboarding Association.
The 2017 TT:R 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.
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 become 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 on 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 sport and others. For the most part, 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 came together to share the water, the wind and the sun in a friendly way, putting all competition aside.
With the expression session complete, the riders finally made their way away from the beach to prepare for the awards ceremony and final closing party that was sponsored and prepared by the very hands-on title sponsor, Moose Cider. It’s been great working with these guys and seeing new support 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 a motivating speech that confirmed that everyone had played their part in consolidating the Youth Olympic race format and that the format was a good one.
The week had played out perfectly on that score, some lessons were learned and adjustments can be made for sure, but in the end the first Olympic kite race was an overwhelming success, so it’s ‘onwards and upwards’ from here 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 at the beginning of 2018.
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 Qualifying 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 visit twintipracing.com/results