The KTA Philippines can be summed up in one word – brilliant!!
It really has provided a touch of everything you would want for a top level kiteboard event. A stop that has given us four days of great competition, in a stunning tropical location, with a group of amazing people who know how to party their socks off.
Certainly throughout the competition days we have seen a mixed bag of wind conditions ranging from strong and consistent in the early days to the testing variable patterns we were getting towards the end. A great result given the forecasts which we were all stressing over before the event began, so we have to in the end be very grateful to the local Boracay wind gods who saw fit to fire enough ‘Amihan’ our way to make the event a success.
Along with the good conditions it was very cool to also have a number of pro-riders along for this event, kicking off with Susi Mai hosting her girls kite clinic and guest MC sessions, and the boys Mallory, Florian, Bobo and Robby Snuggs mixing it out on the water with the rest of the KTA riders. So with everything on our side and an entry of 59 riders from 20 countries the stage was set.
Day 1 – Following the competition registration the first event to kick off for the day was the freestyle event, this was to include the first upset of the competition as one the tour’s current equal first place riders, Yo from Thailand, was narrowly beaten in a hard fought heat with Mallory de la Villemarque. It was an afternoon of steady rather than strong wind which did not give the riders as much scope as day two, but still some very nice heats took place demonstrating not only the talents of the KTA tour regulars, but also the new names that would be featuring during this event.
Day 2 – An early 8am start for what was expected to be only a morning wind, but which in the end, decided to stick around all day. So with riders well powered up everyone supplying us with a big day of passing, mega lopping and combinations the guys fought their way through the remaining rounds of the first eliminator. Once again upsets were in store as local favourite Ken Nacor went out to Robin Snuggs, giving the remaining leading KTA tour riders a chance perhaps to improve their overall ranking places if they could perform well. Sedat, Karem, Phi and Doque were all riding well and looked to be making the best of the opportunity. New faces also worth noting in the mix and putting in some great heats were Jeyde Dolaera (Chok), Anton Pegov and our youngest KTA rider to date at the tender age of 12 Stefano Genugi who was to make it a lot harder than expected for Bobo to get through. The two heats of the day though would have to go to the fight for the first eliminator final against Robin Snuggs between Mallory and Florian, showing why these guys are pro-riders with Mallory beating Florain to reach the final. The final clash left Robin on top but not without some question marks as Mallory managed to down his kite for a few minutes of the heat.
The women’s freestyle followed on and maintained a closely fought competition. The end results saw Kathryn and Carla in the final, but neither of them had it easy from the other girls with Nuria Goma and local Boracay rider Danielle Gonzalez in particular putting up a fight with some great riding. The final battle between Carla and Kathryn resulted in a win for Kathryn following the judges split decision.
Day two ended with the first of the course racing heats. This was to see seven women competing in their races and forty starting for the guys. The riders racing standards in the KTA are clearly improving as are the number of specialist race boards now being used, resulting in things getting much faster and cleaner than the first KTA tour stop, with more riders finishing each race cleanly. Following the four races on day two, two each for the men and women, Turkeys Tanner Aykurt took both the first positions giving him a strong lead for the tour stop, with Kathryn and Nuri both winning one each for the girls.
Day 3 - Well this was to be the nearest to the given forecast with not enough wind for the KTA head judge to begin anything for the morning and then only a couple of hours of daylight with dropping conditions for the afternoon. Still every advantage was taken and the men’s second eliminator progressed well towards the fourth round before a halt had to be called.
Day 4 – Thankfully much more promising on the wind front and although
it did have it moments of dropping out, it held long enough for the men’s double eliminator to be fully completed. With conditions not as good as day two the riders really had to dig deep and work hard to pull out the winning moves in each round, even throwing in a few classic old school moves to fill the gappy moments, showing a great range of riding and receiving even bigger cheers from the crowds. Sedat and Phi progressed well, with Yo coming back strongly from the losers side of the eliminator, ultimately it was Florian who proved just that little bit too good on this occasion putting him into third position, leaving the grand final once again between Mallory and Robin. Again both riders had to draw on all their experience as the heat began well with enough wind for nicely powered up unhooked moves to come out of the bag, but then as the 10 minute final continued things slowed down wind wise and the riders had to, once again, look to the alternatives to maximise their performance. This battle of wits was to go Robin’s way, this time without any doubts, giving a popular result to a brilliant final and three days of competition.
However the KTA had one more course in its bag and the racers once again took to the water for the final show of the day. This time head judge Stephan Hertig reversed the course direction to shake off any pre-set plans on lines that the riders might have from the first series of races. Once again in the men’s division, Tanner dominated coming home well before his closest rivals, Deivis Maciulis and Yo, who finished on second and third positions respectively.
For the women the battle that had begun in Vietnam between Nuria and Kathryn was to continue right to the finish line in Boracay, a win looking like it would go to Kathryn as she took the better line to run in, was snatched back by Nuri who recovered from under-shooting the line to tuck in just in front of Kathryn for the overall number one slot in the KTA Philippines.
Although of course the main goal for every KTA event is to run professional well contested kiteboarding events on the water a very close second expectation of everyone attending the KTA is the off-water fun and partying. So when on Boracay you just know this would have to be as good as it gets, especially with Normeth Preglo from Hangin and Nenette Graff from the BWA taking the led. Each night was to see something different from the chilled out sunset buffet overlooking the whole of the island, to kiters fashion show, the Amazing KTA Bar Hop and the final night’s unforgettable Golden Strippers Party. Thanks guys for everything and of course a mega big thanks to all the local and tour level KTA sponsors who support our events and enable them to even take place at all.
So now you have read about it all go and checkout the event pictures on the KTA Face Book and watch out for the coming KTA Philippines video, we believe it will be the best yet.