Thursday, 28 March 2019 12:03
Friday, 25 January 2019 20:06
Steven Akkersdijk Turning and Burning!
The Red Bull King Of The Air 2019
last years 2018 Red Bull King Of The Air both live on the beach from the Red Bull
VIP stand and then again the rerun on the live stream, I think this year we
need to pay a little more attention.
When I say pay attention I mean in the many aspects of what the competition is really all about.
In the beginning when Robbie Naish won and then Floridian Flash Austin, UK’s Mark Shinn and Susie Mai now one of the judges back when there was a ladies division , we knew without a doubt that they were literally the best in the world at what they did.
Jesse at his first KOA at 13
I remember watching the news when the last item had helicopter footage of Robbie winning it and thinking that looks ridiculously cool but I don’t think I will ever be that extreme. Only a few months later I found myself on the beach strapped to a kite getting flung around and taking beatings.
2018/19 Venue Kite Beach
With a day to go to the start of the 2019 King of The Air, the buzz will be incredible with the warm and windy conditions Cape Town offers.
This time of year always sees the best of the best training but after 6 years of competing in the worlds biggest stage in kiteboarding the draw for kiting fans has become magnetic.
With Thursday 24th Jan two days before the window opened the wind, known as “The Cape Doctor” gave the newcomers to the playground a glimpse of what could possibly happen on the days of competition. 40knots of earth moving wind coming from the left and launch ramps approaching squarely with the left foot forward. Perfect Ramps but unlike the previous venue in Big Bay, not always perfect water to land in.
But this is my point.
Kiteboarding manufacturers like Cabrinha, Slingshot, Core, North and Naish have even been focusing on making kites that are more maneuverable when your 30 meter’s in the air and now decide to pull really hard on the one side of the bar.
The jury is out weather bindings or foot straps are they way to go but one thing is standard and that going to be the serious kiteboarding wetsuit for the cold Atlantic water.
Last year saw Kiteboarding Freestyle world Champ Liam Whaley landing literally the wrong way round and still managing to recover for full scoring jumps. In his first ever attempt at the crown he managed to almost touch it with a second place.
Lewis Crathern, hospitalized for weeks after getting it wrong alongside Tom Herbert (broken ribs) and previous King Jesse Richmond (broken leg) with quite a long list actually, paint a picture of going over the limit for these20 minute sessions and doing things not attempted anytime anywhere in any winds YET!
The waiting period starts tomorrow the 26th Jan and goes through to the last day on the Sunday the 10th Feb. The worlds best have gathered alongside a hoard of onlookers wanting to see the Best Show On Earth!
The guys never used to train for the Red Bull King of the Air. Even 5x World Freestyle Champion Aaron Hadlow said he wouldn’t compete initially in case an injury puts pay to his freestyle tour hopes. Then after the first two events he decided there was something in this competition that he liked and that was innovation.
Even after beating the best of the best for so many years on tour, his first attempt came up empty and he had to settle for 5th place.
Then on attempt number two just before the event, he’d said to me that he had been trying a few things in his free sessions in lieu of the event.
He won! And then went on to do something up to now no one had ever done. He won the next year again!
The first two time winner and that back to back surely puts him up with the Rossi, Woods and Slater category squarely as a super freak. His dad has referred to him as one since he was little so no wonder he finds it easy to behave like one.
So simply rocking up on Kite Beach Cape Town and never having trained for this competition is not an option anymore. Liam Whaley was quoted as saying that he wasn’t sure how and what he was doing and to be 100% honest was a bit scared before the final round last year which saw Kevin Langeree take his second crown.
So this puts a bit of perspective on what we can expect in the 2019 Red Bull king of The Air.
Nick and Kev signing in 2016 KOA
Long time campaigner with a podium back in 2014 Steven Akkersdijk is out recovering after surgery and will be sorely missed. Over the years he has thrilled us with super duper low kite loops barely making it back under the kite on the landing and really pushing every time.
2017 King Nick Jacobsen is back! After missing out on 2018 KOA with a broken ankle. Knowing his free spirit outlook on doing things that will kill you, he is one to watch getting back in the event and lesson learnt “don’t smash it in training”.
Returning Magaloop innovator Ruben Lenten, who won the crown against non other than Robbie Naish in 2005 at Hookipa, has yet to join fellow mate/cousin Aaron and Kevin for the double. After facing ,fighting and winning his cancer battle and also entertaining the crowds world wide with his “ the edge is where you walk up to and the keep on walking” attitude, he is still fighting for the crown on African soil.
Ruben when he won in Hawaai before the Africa eara. Can he do it again?
Ruben when he won in Hawaai before the Africa eara. Can he do it again?
Previously the local contingent has had the best representation from Andries Fourie claiming the second highest jump in the 2014 event and this year the South African representation rests squarely on Ross Dillon Player and Joshua Emanuel shoulders. Competing against the best in the world there one and only advantage is the fact that they live eat and sleep in the competition area for more time than anyone else during the year. This will give them the local knowledge and we could see a huge upset if a local wildcard entry hits the top in 2019.
The top 8 riders from last year are seeded while 10 wildcard and video entries make up the rest of the Royalty seekers.
2016 Venue Big Bay.
Sam Light with Lewis Crathern and Aaron Hadlow make three British riders going against Hawaiian Jesse Richman, Dutchmen and 2014/18 King Keven Langeree, KOA Journeyman Jerrie Van De Kopp with Gijs Wassenaar and recent Red Bull signing Lasse Walker.
Newcomers like Frenchman Aurelien Petreau,Janek Grzegorzewski from Poland, Posito Martinez out of Dominican Republic and Brazilian Carlos Mario will have there work cut out against World Freestyle Champ and previous KOA competitor from New Zealand Marc Jacobs.
2018 King for the second time Kevin celebrates.
With 14 days window to call it in the decision makers Like Sergio Cantagali have an immense amount of pressure on them to call it right.
But so far the southern tip of Africa has delivered every time and the King is crowned with no doubt about the fact that he is the man who made it happen when it mattered in some insane circumstances.
Jesse chucks his body and kite at the same time. RBKOA2018
Jesse chucks his body and kite at the same time. RBKOA2018
To the masses of followers of this next level sport its business as usual. Seeing who can do what they will only dream of. The locals happily give up their beach and wether watching from the water or in the Red Bull Bar know that they are experiencing the Greatest Show On Earth!
Thursday, 22 November 2018 01:04
This is a fantastic articel with a brief hostory surrounding windsurfing in the Olympics and where and why it is there today.
Mr. Neil Pryde’s letter:
WINDSURFING AS AN OLYMPIC SPORT
World Sailing is embarking on a review of the Olympic events for 2024. Prior to my retirement from the Pryde Group on 1st June 2015, I was intimately involved in the design and manufacture of Windsurfing equipment and development of the sport for 40 years although I have never personally practiced the sport.
I am also an Olympic sailor (Flying Dutchman Class, Mexico 1968) and have been a competitive sailor for over 60 years.
Through my leadership of the Pryde Group and its ownership of the Cabrinha brand, I also am very familiar with the kitesurfing sport and its development. I understand that kite surfing is a potential competitor for Olympic status, I therefore believe that I have a unique knowledge based perspective on Windsurfing and particularly the RSX Class as an Olympic Class.
Windsurfing in the Olympics
Windsurfing was selected as an Olympic sport for the 1984 Los Angeles Games and the Windglider Class was the chosen equipment. Windglider was a popular class typical of the art in the early 1980’s.
Windsurfing has participated in every Olympic Games since 1984.
The equipment selected has changed as windsurfing evolved and the equipment developed. The Lechner Division 2 board was selected for Seoul and Barcelona while the Mistral Class was used in Atlanta, Sydney and Athens.
At various games the equipment switched between Organiser supplied to competitor supplied. By 2004 after Athens there was general dissatisfaction with the One Design integrity of the equipment mainly resulting from the technology employed in manufacturing.
ISAF requested proposals from manufacturers for a new Olympic class to be strictly One Design manufactured using state of the art technology and Modern design typical of equipment used in the professional windsurfing circuit modified to perform in windspeeds of 3 to 30 knots, which meant a daggerboard, was required in non-planning conditions.
The manufacturers would supply the equipment to Olympic competitors.
The boards were to be manufactured to tolerances hitherto not achieved with Sailing equipment and the construction was to be such that the boards should have a competitive life of at least 4 years without any deviation in the Manufacturing tolerances.
ISAF conducted performance trials and at the 2005 ISAF November conference, the RSX was selected as the equipment for the Beijing Games 2008.
The RS:X was designed to be manufactured using carbon composite sandwich construction by a single manufacturer, Cobra, the largest and most technically capable manufacturer of Windsurfing boards in the World.
The process was managed and supervised by Neil Pryde Limited who supplied the Rigs and accessories. Neil Pryde was the world’s largest supplier of high performance rigs. As the owner of the product Neil Pryde was responsible for the integrity and accuracy of the equipment and delivery of the product in quantities sufficient to create a competitive Class to be operating by April/May 2006 with an inaugural World Championships in August 2006 with over 240 competitors from all over the world.
As the supplier for the 2008 Olympics Neil Pryde had to provide a performance bond of Euro 1 million and agree to supply all Olympic equipment free of charge and to also provide all equipment needed in each World Sailing Youth Championships. The commitment to the Youth Championship continues today.
The RSX Class has delivered excellent Olympic regattas in 2008, 2012 and 2016. In Rio de Janeiro, the RSX was one of the most watched Olympic classes.
Olympic Windsurfing has grown impressively since the introduction of the RSX Class and this is in some ways surprising considering that the decision to select the RSX was only made in November 2005 for competition at the 2008 Beijing Games. There is no doubt that with more timely decision making the class would have grown more.
The Sport of Windsurfing within the ISAF Olympic objectives
In about 2008 the ISAF executive requested a report from a committee headed up by Phil Jones of Australia reviewing Sailing’s position in the Olympic Games considering the IOC announced objectives for the future of the Olympics.
The report came with a series of objectives that ISAF would need to deliver on if Sailing was to stay in the Olympics. The IOC had made known its intention to reduce the costs of the Olympics and Sailing was the most expensive sport to host and had the worst TV rating of any sport.
The biggest source of IOC revenue was TV rights.
The key issues were:
1/ Improved television coverage, more attractive events.
2/ Sailing must be more inclusive and less elitist (this particular point had already been raised in 1992).
3/ Better geographic coverage.
4/ Gender Balance.
5/ Sailing Events should be technical athletic and tactical.
Windsurfing has delivered on these objectives:
1/ The RSX Class has been one of the most watched classes in all 3 Olympics it has participated. High visibility hulls and rigs, events starting close to advertised times, highly athletic participants.
2/ Windsurfing is the most affordable Olympic event. With strict One Design control and a guaranteed 4-year competitive life the investment made in RSX Class equipment by National Organisations, Clubs and individuals is protected. This point is critical to growing Sailing in developing nations.
3/ Windsurfing is actively enjoyed in all continents and has introduced many developing nations to international Sailing competitions and Olympic participation, Asia which is the fastest developing region in the World has been introduced to International Sailing competition through Windsurfing. China is an outstanding example of a developing nation entering sailing through Windsurfing and now is a leading contender for Olympic medals. Around 70 nations actively participate in RSX events.
While the RSX Class is at the pinnacle of the sport by virtue of being the Olympic equipment, the Windsurfing sport is the most widely practiced sailing sport worldwide with large numbers of sailors of all ages participating in One Design classes such as the Techno and RSOne as well as countless so called Funboard types produced by numerous brands. In addition, Windsurfing supports a professional circuit utilising open equipment and supporting strongly promoted events worldwide ( the PWA ).
4/ Windsurfing was granted a medal for female competition in 1992 and the RSX Class has continued to make advances toward achieving gender equality and is committed to this objective.
5/ The RSX Class is without doubt the most athletically demanding event and the equipment is the most technical and high performance of any current Olympic Class, racing in wind speeds of 3 to 30 knots and capable of speeds exceeding 35 knots. The competitions are very close and demand a high level of tactical skills.
The Future of Olympic Windsurfing
I earlier traced the history of Windsurfing in the Olympics.
When introduced in 2006, the RSX was a big step forward with a carbon composite sandwich construction adapted to a modern Hull shape and equipped with a rigid, camber induced rig on carbon mast and boom. The basic design has performed successfully over 3 Olympic cycles without any significant change in specifications. The ISAF requirement was for equipment that could be raced in wind speeds of 3 to 30 knots, so races can start at advertised times.
The most significant development in modern Sailing first widely seen in the San Francisco edition of the America’s Cup is foiling hulls, now appearing in many Sailing craft including Windsurfing.
Recognising the importance of this development Neil Pryde has developed the RSX Convertible Class which offers a One Design Board operating on foils in light to moderate wind speeds and converting to a conventional slalom type board in higher wind speeds when the board is effectively planing on the fin. The biggest advantage that foiling technology brings is that the board planes at low wind speeds and thereby provides exciting, high speed Sailing at wind speeds as low as 5-6 knots.
The equipment will remain strictly one design and affordable and as we have seen from events already using this equipment provides an exciting challenge to competitors and a thrilling spectacle. A further test event will take place in Miami end January 2018.
I believe the RSX Convertible offers the Sailing world an affordable and realistic step forward in high performance Windsurfing for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
It is understood that World Sailing is concerned that certain One Design Classes with a single monopoly builder risk infringing Anti-Trust laws. In addressing this issue, we must consider the business environment that a manufacturer of a modern, high tech product such the RSX has to face.
The costs of development and tooling are high, the number of potential manufacturers able to deliver the product reliably to the tolerances demanded are very limited and the sales volume for the RSX in a normal year is no more than about 300 units and of this about 60 units are supplied free of charge to the Youth Worlds and in every Olympic Year a further 80 sets are supplied free.
The business has to be conducted at prices controlled by World Sailing. The capital required to finance this business is considerable when you look at the stock of used equipment carried after the Youth Worlds and the Olympics and this Equipment is generally sold at cost because it is second hand.
This does not consider the finance tied up in equipment leased at regional events to help grow the sport plus the trading stock to run the business.
It is argued that other classes exist with multiple manufacturers. My experience shows that while these classes claim to be One Design, boats from different manufacturers show significant performance differences and almost universally sailors recognise which builder makes the fastest so called one design boats and they will buy that boat regardless of cost!
I will argue that true One Design and affordable equipment is only possible in the sailing market when there is a single monopoly supplier who can spread the considerable costs over maximum volume.
Windsurfing must remain in the Olympic Games and the RSX Class offers a proven equipment option.
With this document I have tried to trace how we got to where we are today where Windsurfing represents the most globally spread performance sailing sport, which is rapidly growing in the Developing World for all the reasons, stated. The RSX Class is the most suitable Olympic equipment, meeting in all respects the objectives set by the World Sailing Olympic report and the introduction of the RSX Convertible offers a smooth transition to the next generation of foiling boards.
Honorary Life Member of International RS:X Class
(Since June 30th 2015 Mr. Neil Pryde has no direct or indirect financial interest in Neil Pryde Limited and the Pryde Group)
Sunday, 4 March 2018 16:58
A two-week trip to Cape Town in the middle of February is a kitesurfer or windsurfers priority for a number of reasons.
The main one being the brilliant wind conditions with loads of places to ride.
The air temp is around 28 deg most days and though the water is chilly you hardly notice it because of how busy your kept by the wind and waves.
Most industry players have realised this and now spend a few weeks or even months there every year to test product and launch new ranges. People like Neil Pryde, RRD, North, ION, Vanhunks and many more.
This allows the team riders to really test there metal and have some of the best photographers on the planet catch them trying out next years gear.
Oceansource was lucky enough to cut their teeth in this town for over 15 years and so it’s a real return home at the best time of the year.Years ago there was the Downwindshuttle now there is the Downwindbus complete with fridge and enough space for 15 riders!
We are pleased to add another brand to the stable being Signature. They are a great surf sup and skate brand that will soon be included into the Oceansource line up.
Our current supplier Vanhunks will also be adding to the range with SUP and also a great fin range and accessories.The New Vanhunks kiteboards are in store now.
We have some possible development of Foils for Kite Sup and Surf with a local South African company that develops composites for the McLaren F1 Team so watch this space.
While there I tried Kite Foiling for the first time and as you will see in the video it isn’t as hard as you might think. Of course I edited out the wipeouts in this one but will do a little compilation of them when time allows.
This time of the year also sees the biggest Kiteboarding event on the calendar that being The Red Bull King Of The Air. After having done the commentating on this for many years it was good to sit back in the VIP lounge and just watch the spectacle with my son Reece.
Kevin Langeree took his second RBKOA title after a brilliant closely fought final against newcomer Liam Whaley.
Tuesday, 20 September 2016 15:26
From the beginning days of Kiteboarding when the kites had two lines and the only way to slow down was edge really hard, hold on till it was at the edge of the wind window and that failing LET GO!. Don Montague the godfather of kiting had been chatting with Bruno Legaignoux and Cory Rosselier had taken the skis to Hawaai from The Gorge in Oregon and within a very brief space in time the world wanted to kitesurf.
From riding these kites that would kill you to the introduction of the “chicken loop ” with a depower system and the 5th line, kites have evolved dramatically with almost 100% depower and super easy re launch. Now we have a possible glimps into the future and though not entirely elemental sure looks like fun.