Words: Red Bull
Italian teenager Andrea Principi overcame fellow countryman Lorenzo Casati and Spaniard Jeremy Burlando to Red Bull King of the Air on Tuesday, 5 December. The three young riders are good friends and training partners, and the 6000-stong crowd on the beach and the thousands glued to the Red Bull TV worldwide were treated to a fitting finale which saw all three throw some of the biggest scores of the entire event.
“I just don’t have any words,” 19-year-old Principi said after the 15-minute final. “This has been my dream for so long, and many years from now, I will look back on today and remember that I made my dream come true.”
With the performance, Principi, who is a two-time Big Air World Champion and won Red Bull Megaloop in the Netherlands earlier this year – solidified his status as the current leader of the pack in the Big Air kiteboarding discipline. The man who scored three 9s in the final, a first-ever in Red Bull King of the Air, is also a huge crowd favourite, with his motivation, passion and boundless energy making him a ‘big’ personality both on and off the water.
Throughout the years, innovation has always been at the forefront of Red Bull King of the Air and over the past two years, that’s been synonymous with the emergence of fresh talent. The 11th event in South Africa was a testament to how far the discipline has come over the past decade.”
“The sport is in a very healthy place right now,” commented Sportive Director Sergio Cantagalli. “There were some incredible performances by the young riders, but what was even more incredible was how they adapted themselves to the conditions – that showed a lot of maturity.”
The event features a 16-day weather window, with competition only being called on when conditions are ideal (a galeforce southeasterly and good swell). Rounds 1 and 2 were run on Wednesday, 29 November, providing the perfect launch pad for 18 of the world’s best Big Riders to show off their aerial prowess.
“The El Niño system is significantly impacting the typical Cape Town wind season, complicating our task of interpreting weather charts that frequently deviate from their predictions, but we were fortunate to get two perfect days to run the competition,” Cantagalli said.
Riders were judged on the amplitude, variety, execution and difficulty grade of their three best tricks and given an ‘overall impression’ score by the panel of independent and highly experienced judges, forming the fourth score.
“The judging criteria and system are unique to Red Bull King of The Air and don’t conform any to any other kitesurfing or kiteboarding leagues or organisations,” Cantagalli concluded, outlining how the system and criteria have been specially crafted over the years to align with the sport’s evolution.
The Mystic Move Of The Day went to the defending champion and eventual second-place finisher Lorenzo Casati, who performed a double kite loop and double-board off.
1st Andrea Principi
2nd Lorenzo Casati
3rd Jeremy Burlando
Relive the action here.
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