happiness under your feet

You are currently browsing the archives for January, 2012.

Christmas all over – 170112

The little things that make you very happy, this greeting made my day!

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KTA Boracay Report from a Rider – 160112

(Article in the magazine Sports Asia)
What better place to start off a new KTA season than where 2nd season ended successfully in March, on this dreamlike Filipino island of Boracay. On one side of the island tourist heaven, a short walk to the other side you arrive in kitesurfers haven. Training grounds for many of the riders during winter season, Boracay is windy close to every day from mid-December to April. And so it kicked off with 3-star ratings on Windguru… Sunrise over Bulabog Beach:

Topping last years event with 68 riders, yet again a record with 79 riders registering!
Now in it´s 3rd season KTA has really managed to build a positive reputation amongst riders. In times where “everyone” is fighting for limited sponsorship resources (PKRA, KSP, KTE, KTA…) this does not affect the competitors, and it for sure it doesn´t seem to affect the cheerful mood of the organizers either. Down to basics leadership is key, and sociable organizers and judges certainly lay the grounds for an enjoyable event. On Bulabog beach the KTA attitude and Filipino spirit come together for an event that has inclusion and friendliness written all over. Experiencing hands-on the positive vibes was probably what made Aqua Boracay announce that they want to be in it for the long run and sponsor this event for 5 years to come!

Strong winds on first day of competition did not stop riders from giving it all in freestyle, and single eliminations finished half an hour before sunset. In the judge tower were two skilled guys usually seen pleasing a crowd from the water; Turkish Sedat Celenk (Cabrinha) and French William Bourget (North) -William unfortunately recovering from a knee surgery. Together with two regulars on the judging team, Mars Gersbach and head judge Stephan Hertig, they had no breaks from first to last heat with 38 competitors going for their best moves. Being an ambassador of kb4girls I was especially thrilled to see 16 female freestylers signing up, and in the twintip raceclass there were 17! It seems girls inspire each other to enter the competitive scene -hopefully this will push the level and passion of kiting in girls even more in years to come.

Day two was a good mix of racing and double elimination as low tide in Boracay is not raceboard-friendly (fins are too long). The day opened with a surprising announcement; one hour before competition the girl announced at 3rd during finals yesterday was notified by phone that she had to do a rerun after a protest. On a new day in different conditions this was not a very welcomed surprise on such short notice, so day 2 opened with a single-rider heat before double eliminations. Moving on to racing, 62 riders (!) made a very colorful skyline -introducing the twintip race class KTA makes competition accessible for almost everyone. By encouraging riders of different levels to join for the fun of it, the organizers really hit one of the key points of events: promoting a love for the sport.
14-year local talent Stefano Ganugi showed off kiteloop slims
Freestyle Mens
Third day had perfect conditions for finishing freestyle double eliminations, and this event has really shown some up and coming young riders. The European tour seems more dominated by younger riders compared to the Asian tour, but the podium spots did not reflect this: 2nd and 3rd places in mens freestyle were both riders below 20 years old, in 3rd place Slovenian Jaka Komocar at only 15 years old! Another rider to watch out for is one year younger local rider Stefano Ganugi who ended 6th, pulling of kiteloop slims rumor has it this talent is without proper sponsorship… Ben Bowd (Slingshot, Greece/UK) had to defend his 1st place after singles, but could not hold up against entertainer Ukrainian Andrej Salnik (Airush) who won after 2 final heats. A true entertainer always with a smile on his face: last season on Boracay Andrey took out a pair of flipflops and kited on them in strong winds!

3rd place, 15-year-old Jaka Komocar
Freestyle Womens
Weeks ago word on the island was Russian Champion Veronica Soloveykina (Best Kiteboarding) would get to top of the podium in womens freestyle. Early on she impressed the crowd with a tantrum to blind and went through the competition winning all of her heats. Another powerful rider spending winter season on Boracay is Estonian Kristiin Oija; she landed a few air passes (blind judge, blind judge 3) and with higher consistency she will probably rise to the podium at later events. A very consistent rider at 2nd place was kiwi Susan Key (Cabrinha) who actually decided to stop competing back in 2007. Her skills are very much intact and hopefully this experience inspires her to come back and spread more of that positive energy! “Local” Australian Ali Dudfield (Slingshot) of Freestyle Kite Academy Boracay landed an array of blind tricks securing 3rd place: this season she will for sure be in it for a spot on the overall podium.

Raceboard class
In racing all of the classes were on the water together, and what a spectacular show on the first day. In the production board class most people expected Yo (Narapichit Pudla, Thailand) to excel after breathing down the neck of pro-rider Bruno Srouka last season. However, excitement was on as Turkish Champion Salih Cakir opened the show by winning only a few board lengths in front of Yo! The excitement was over when Yo was disqualified from racing on a different board than he registered for the competition (the race board he was on is not yet eligible for racing). A simple explanation; the international kiteboarding association (IKA) and others are working hard to get kitesurfing into the Olympics, and the Olympics are most fond of disciplines with low dependance on judging/scoring. So the focus is on promoting the race board class, and part of getting there is having all race boards be registered in an international register (as in other sailing disciplines). If you want to be in it for the win and contribute to kitesurfing getting into the Olympics: your equipment has to be approved… For the womens racing it came as no surprise German Kathrin Borgwardt (now Cabrinha) won, she is the only rider with experience and investment on the womens side on the Asian tour and mostly excels in every race. This might be changing though as there were 6 women on raceboards here on Boracay, and when promoting it as a new Olympic sport it will probably become more attractive in the nearby future.

Twintip race class
In this discipline varying conditions is often an issue: the wind window is narrow from wind being too light for twintip race and too low for freestyle. KTA intends making competition accessible for everyone, however with 145 cm twintips and having to get hold of an extra big kite, it is certainly honorable but quite a challenging intention to fulfill. In the end it all comes down to how many hours of wind one gets. No matter varying conditions, Polish Michalina Laskowska took a well deserved first place with 4 out of 6 races won, and 2nd runner up Norwegian Rebecka Maudal gave her credits coming of the water with this statement “She is so freaking fast!”. 3rd place went to Russian Dina Muldasheva, but with stronger winds it might as well have gone to KTA newcomer Estonian Madli Olem -kiting is a weather dependent sport, so the margins are small. For the mens twintip class it was a lot of local riders battling it out on the water as 6 out of the 10 spots are held by Filipino riders -but on top of the podium was the speedy and always cheerful Kerem Balik from Turkey.

Next event: Mui Ne
At the end ceremony on White Beach organizer Willy Kerr announced the next tour stop really illustrating what the KTA is all about: a love of the sport and a tour for the riders to enjoy. Vietnam in February will be a grassroot driven event as sponsorship is hard to come by, which makes it too economically challenging to arrange a racing discipline. This doesn´t stop the organizers from giving it all and throw the event though, and hopefully many of the faces from Boracay will be seen on the beaches of Mui Ne a month from now.

Videographer Jim Thirion of Lines Productions and photographer Alexandru Baranescu are doing a terrific job; check out Kiteboard Tour Asia on Vimeo and Facebook for more visuals.

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KTA Boracay Windguru 3 star – 120112

Check out the video report here. Seeing the drawing and who you are up against always brings excitement, the goal for me was winning first heat as in the next I would meet skilled Russian champion Veronica Soloveykina. Check out her tantrum in the video at 00:54

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KTA opening night – 100112

So nice to see smiling organizer Willy and videographer Jim/Frenchie back on the island. Rumor had it Frenchie desired a career move -we are thrilled he is still around making these great productions!
On Bulabog beach the show doesn´t get much better than the days before competition.
Turkish Sedat Celenk and Slovenian Jaka Komocar enjoying strong winds:

Beginners and pros side by side, local Ken Nacor showing how it´s done:

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My true inspiration – 090112

When more experienced kiters whine about beginners I get bit unhappy. We´ve all been there, and I love watching people who are learning. They have the most passionate & enjoyable smiles in the water and on the beach – in those faces I find inspiration.
Walk down memory lane, haha, me back in 2008

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Just an ordinary Boracay morning – 070112

As a child I never understood the concept of restitution and relaxation

wake up, open the door, make coffee, drink it while viewing the first kiters going on the water

priceless living without a watch and cell phone

filipino family transport, two friends bringing home dinner

entertaining to watch

Freestyle Kite Academy, friendliest vibes on Bulabog Beach

Mona chilling in between sessions

Happy & energetic friend Rebecka spreading positive energy!

Ali solving nr1 problem of everyday life: choosing what to eat for lunch

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Stavanger Kite Spots 2011 – 030112

Orre Beach April 4th:

Spot X April 24th, our flatwater spot on SW:

Sola beach May 3rd:

Brusand was unbelievable end of Easter at 22 degrees, bikini in April.

Another Sunday, another beach! Beach at Sele May 8th:

Glimpses from Refsnes in end of May, another SW flatwater spot:

Super NW flatwater spot in June & July

Sweetest kite caddy ever, Thomas at Brusand August 13th:

Sandeviga, W flatwater, natural stone molo at the start of the bay:

A great year – super roomie Marit smiling on Brusand Sep 25th!

I´m not much of a wave kiter or surfer, stole a few photos to give an impression
(from Audun Haugen, Richard A Newman & Kari Schibevaag)

And a VIDEO from Jeremie Tronet if you want to see more…

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Resolutions – 010112

New Years resolution, try to stay out of Nextopia. New Years greeting from Nobile put a smile on my face: “Good kiteboard-wind in 2012!”.

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