It was a big day of racing and freestyle in Pranburi, Thailand at the International Kiteboarding Association Moose Asian TT:R Championships. The Youth Olympic Games format brought action right in front of the crowd. After a morning of head-to-head racing, the afternoon belonged to the Kiteboard Tour Asia‘s Freestyle X event. To find out who came out on top, continue reading the news from the IKA, below.
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 nearly impossible to tell who is where if you 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 make 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 certainly be some interesting battles ahead.
On the women’s side of things, China’s Jingle Chen pushed ahead of Germany’s Kathrin Borgwardt, in some very closely fought races. 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 toward the Olympic arena for the 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 closer to their final, podium goals.
For the women, it’s a four-way battle between Aya Oshima from Japan, Thailand’s 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 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 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 League’s 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 qualifying 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 results, please visit the TTR: Results page.