North team riders flew the Orbit to unprecedented heights at this year’s Red Bull King of the Air, taking out three first-place wins in front of a 10,000-strong crowd at Kite Beach in Cape Town.

27-year-old Jesse Richman soared past former champions Nick Jacobsen and Aaron Hadlow to be crowned Red Bull King of the Air.

The ‘Mystic Move of the Day’ for a kite-loop board-off that scored a 9.02 out of a possible 10 went to Nick Jacobsen of Denmark.

And the ‘Woo Highest Jump of the Day’ was awarded to New Zealand’s Marc Jacobs after soaring 22m into the air.

Hawaiian Jesse Richman was elated with his win, achieved after seven hours of intense competition and 34 heats, on the event’s biggest single-day of competition yet.

“Oh man, today was magical,” said Jesse.  “In the last few years all these events have been held over multiple days, but today was like the year that I won in 2013… just one epic day. Aaron and Nick are friends that I’ve had for a very long time and I couldn’t respect them more. They shred so hard, and it was anybody’s game, so being able to share that final with them and just give it everything we’ve got was a dream come true. My strategy has changed over the years and I’d say this is the most confident I’ve ever felt. It’s pretty awesome to play it through and have it all work.”

North Brand Director Mike Raper was incredibly proud of what has been accomplished by the winning riders, product designers and engineers:  “What a team. At the one-year anniversary of the Orbit, Jesse Richman, Nick Jacobsen and Marc Jacobs all killed it.

“Out of the 24 riders chosen, only three North riders made the cut. All three progressed to the semi-finals, to achieve 1st, 2nd and 4th equal. That says something. 50% of the kites in the Semi-finals were the Orbit, proving the kite’s now iconic status as the most predictable in the unpredictable.”

“Working with Jesse has been a privilege and an honour for everyone at North. As a new father, he is an exceptional role model for the next generation, and his dedication to pushing the limits clearly shines through. He is the King. It was gut-wrenching to see Jesse have to knock out fellow team member Marc Jacobs to progress to the final. Both Marc and Nick had outstanding performances. They were the ultimate showmen, and they sent it bigger than we’ve ever seen before. Thank you to everyone involved, at all levels. I can’t thank you all enough. This is only the beginning,” said Mike.

Congratulations also to the other 21 riders who used the monster waves and wind to produce stunning tricks for judges and fans, and put their best on the line today to give us an unforgettable event.

Sportive Director Sergio Cantagalli was pleased with the result: “We managed to score the perfect day. It was arguably the best day we were going to get during the weather window. It is very unusual that we could start so early on in the day and have consistent conditions throughout.”

The event featured a new format with Rounds 1 and 2 (video entry winners, wildcards and the four ‘Fly to Red Bull King of the Air’ winners) completed before lunch. The top six from 2019 then joined the fray as seeded competitors in Round 3.

Watch the replay on Red Bull TV, right here.

Fri 7th Feb, 2020 @ 8:15 am

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Jesse Richman

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