Kiteboard Tour Asia Opens its 2012 Tour
Successful Round One in the Philippines
by Freida Dario (KTA Philippines Correspondent)
BORACAY Island, Philippines – January 2012 – Kiteboard Tour Asia (KTA) Philippines, powered by AQUA Boracay (www.aquaboracay.com) held it’s third successful year from January 10 to 15. KTA, Asia’s first ever sanctioned international kiteboard competition organization kicked off the kiteboard season 2012, with a bigger and better Asian tour on the expansive 100-meter beachfront of AQUA Boracay – a brand new upscale residential resort development along the prime section of Bulabog Beach, which has been the scene of two previous years of KTA competitions, with its global reputation for top class wind and kiting conditions.
The tropical country’s leading travel destination, Boracay has received numerous awards, including Second Best Beach Destination in the World in TripAdvisor’s ‘Travelers’ Choice 2011’ awards, and fourth in the Top 10 Islands in the World list travel & Leisure Magazine’s ‘World’s Best Awards 2011’. It is no wonder that each year, KTA Philippines attracts increasing numbers of kiteboard champions, competitors, and enthusiasts, with an unprecedented record-breaking registration this year, of 79 riders, with 62 racers and 22 men along with 16 women for freestyle, all in top form and ready to go.
Building on the success of its first two events, KTA collaborated with its new Presenting Sponsor AQUA Boracay, who pulled the stops to provide a world-class venue and a number memorable happenings in and around Boracay Island’s top spots making each participant’s Boracay experience, absolutely unforgettable.
Set on the eastern side of Boracay, Bulabog Beach, provides ideal kiteboard conditions during the winter monsoon months with the anticipated wind speeds of between 25 to 30 knots, showing up as planned making for perfect as a competition each day.
Here is a rundown of the week’s highlights: Opening Party (January 10) and Registration Day (January 11) – KTA Philippines welcomed this year’s delegates with a welcome party at EPIC BORACAY (www.epicboracay.com), with competitors from across the globe converging at Boracay’s epicenter for world-class dining, drinking and dancing. The crowd of kite champions and enthu
siasts, supporters and island residents enjoyed an evening of revelry, with great food and flowing booze, and riveting live tribal performances by Kadangyan. Guests were initiated into Boracay’s thriving night scene, known as much as a party destination by night, as it is a beach holiday haven by day, and the evening proved to be a precursor to the exhilarating journey in the coming days. Thankfully, day two was registration day, which as mentioned earlier, saw a record-breaking registration of 79 riders. With the promise of good winds, competitors were out-of-sight by nightfall, bracing themselves for a hell of a ride,
Competition Day One: Freestyle Single Eliminations (January 12) – Starting the day with a Skippers meeting at 9AM, with bright eyes clad in stylish sunglasses, spirits soared in equal amounts of excitement and trepidation as the winds raged over 25 knots. With the air dense with electrifying energy, KTA Competition Director and KTA Philippines organizer, Stephan Hertig announces the day’s schedules and participants geared-up for the day’s battles on the turquoise and warm water. By 10AM, the two mile-long stretch of Bulabog Beach was filled with riders and spectators, photographers and tourists, all eagerly anticipating the spectacle of the incredible sport of kite boarding. Converging at AQUA Boracay the crowds cheered as the judges, namely Sedat Celenk, Mars Gersbach, and William Bourget took their places at the Judge’s “tower of power”. Joining Hertig was KTA Tour Director Willy Kerr, who riled up the riders as the competitions began. Alternating the Freestyle competitions for the women’s and the men’s categories until sunset, the exhilarating day took “freestyle” to immense heights, pushing each competitor to their limits until 5PM.
Competition Day Two: Freestyle Double Eliminations and Course Racing (January 13) As expected, the second day of competitions proved to be a wild and sexy from the word go! Starting off with a full morning ofMen’s and Women’s Freestyle Double Eliminations, where competitors showed-off their stunning “big air” stunts, each one out to put on their best show, with what seemed to spectators as an intense pageant of sportsmanly/womanly competition in form, unbelievable tricks and amazing combinations of tricks, that one could regrettably miss by looking away for a few brief seconds. Without any breaks, Course Racing commenced at 1PM, with men racing with women at Twin Tip (TT) and Race Board categories. With a wind range of 20 to 25 knots, race speeds were at a neck-breaking 60 to 70 kilometers per hour. After a quick rain shower cooled the competitors, the Freestyle Doubles continued, fiercer than ever, with ridiculous air times, passes and kite loops on show.
By day’s end, protest hearings gave competitors a chance to redress and settle the day’s race disputes and see who came out on top. A great reward for a great day of competitions was a sumptuous dinner at DOS MESTIZOSSpanish Restaurant & Bar (www.dosmestizos.com), which served their popular Tapas Dinner Buffet. As a mid-week party, KTA “Charlie Browners” competed at a more level playing field, the Flip Cup Tournament, where teams battled it out with cups of beer and cup-flipping skills! Not to be taken lightly, great Cabrinha goodies were at stake here, from solar showers and headphones, to iPhone cases.
Competition Day Three: Freestyle Double Eliminations & Finals and Course Racing (January 14) – As forecasted, winds were not as strong as the previous days, although this did not in any way dampen the high energies of the third day of competitions. Freestyle Double Eliminations were sounded off at 10:30AM and went all the way to the finals at 2PM, with champions Victoria Soloveykina (Russia) winning in the women’s category and Andrey Salnik (Ukraine) winning in the men’s category, after two heats of the finals, defeating his top contender with his powered kite loop tricks as well as mobe and slim 5.
The highlight of the day’s Freestyle competitions was seeing local 14-year-old rider Stefano Ganugi, fighting his way through the Doubles with five wins in a row, all the way to 6th place where Taner Aykurt stopped him. Stronger than the prevailing winds, Ganugi totally blew everyone away, and gave the crowd a glimpse of the Boracay champ of the future with his great skill and impressive new tricks such as the kite loop slim, kite loop mobe, shifty grab 313, and kite loop 3! By 2:30PM, the competitions switched to Course Racing, with enough wind for both Twin Tip (TT) and Race Board (RB) racing. For the second set of races, the winds determined that it was time to switch back to RB, with two more successful races that ended another incredible day at 4PM. In preparation for the final day of competitions the following day, no activities were scheduled for the evening, although this did not stop a few brave party animals from a night out on White Beach!
Last Day Of Competitions: A Race To The Finish With Course Racing, Award Ceremonies And After Party (January 15) – With winds dropping to 12 knots, the Skippers meeting pronounced all racing, starting off with Twin Tip (TT), back to back with Race Board (RB) racing. Sounding off the horn at 10AM, two successful races of TT had adrenalines pumping, with kiteboarders racing not only against each other, but challenging the wind to pick up and sustain the unabated race momentum. When the wind dropped, one good RB race ensued until the wind decided to call it a day for everyone at 3PM it was one hell of a way to cap the four days of intense competitions!
Rather than feeling disappointed, participants welcomed the downtime for some quality chill out beach time, with a nice cool breeze and a golden sun – quite the perfect pairing with an iced cold bottle of brew. The perfectly uneventful post-race afternoon was indeed the ideal “calm before the storm”, in preparation for the evening’s libations.
The evening’s celebrations were sponsored by CABRINHA, starting off with the Cabrinha Awards Hog Roast and Ice Luge ceremonies at THE SAND BAR BORACAY (thesandbarboracay.com). The festive gala awards were set at the beachfront, with a chic beach lounge of low tables and leather sofas, for a relaxed kitesurfer-style ambience, under a huge canopy. With not one, but two pigs courtesy of Cabrinha, and a feast fit for champions, the awarding ceremonies were hosted by KTA Tour Director and Co-owner Willy Kerr and local kiteboarderPaula Rosales, with a scintillating fire dancing show. Top prizes for first, second, and third placers with 1st place -CABRINHA kites, 2nd - UNDERGROUND boards, and 3rd MAELSTORM goodies, sunglasses and impact vests. Further Stefano Ganugi received a special award as part of the KTA’s new prize on this year’s tour at each stop to encourage the most up and coming local rider that most impressed the judges throughout the event, supported by Sprockett Boards.
The after party followed at JUNGLE BAR, located at the southern end of Bulabog Beach, surrounded by nature and resounding in ethnic splendor. Open to all riders, spectators, and groupies alike, revelers were treated to free tattoos, sponsored by Cabrinha, with Kerr getting inked with the KTA logo on his “behind”, to commemorate another outstanding KTA event! With Moscow’s legendary DJ Spy.der [Борис Спайдер (Boris Spyder)] and Boracay homeboy DJ Erwin Edralin of the legendary Hey Jude Bar Boracay on the decks until sunrise, it was the perfect ending to cap an incredible first leg of this year’s KTA, and KTA Philippines totally rocked Boracay Island, once again!
Hertig had this to say about the event, “This was the best event in Boracay we had so far, with prefect conditions, good winds, flat water and the perfect spot along AQUA Boracay’s beachfront, which we’ll have to top again next year! Bulabog Beach and Boracay Island is definitely one of the best locations in Asia for a competition, and we look forward to seeing AQUA Boracay’s completion by next year. Surely, this tropical lifestyle development will be even more stunning in 2013 and in the next five years of KTA Philippines, which they have committed to support.”
When asked to compare this year’s event with the previous years, Hertig observes, “This year was bigger, better and higher, with more competitors, a higher level of riding, and a more relaxed week with less partying and more time to relax for the riders who focused on the competitions more intensely than in the past. Being the local organizer and competition director, all the hard work paid off upon seeing all those smiles on the riders faces.”Hertig thanks all the volunteers for their great job on the flags, the timekeeper, Jim “Frenchie” Thirion for his daily video coverage, Alexandru Baranescu for the incredible photographs, local correspondent Freida Dariofor the daily reportage, “and Willy for doing all the things that I had no time to do!”
KTA would like to thank the following for making this event possible: (Presenting Sponsor) AQUA Boracay; (KTA Co-Sponsor and title brand sponsor) Cabrinha; (Tour brand sponsors) Underground Kiteboards, Maelstorm, and Sprockett Boards; (Local support sponsors) EPIC Boracay, Dos Mestizos, The Sand Bar, and Jungle Bar; (Media Partners) Multichannel Asia, Boulder Creek (Sky TV), Action Asia, Kiteworld Magazine, andKiteforum; as well as the following organizations for their continued support: International Kiteboarding Association (IKA), International Sailing Federation (ISAF), Philippine Watersports Association (PWA),Boracay Windsports Association (BWA), the Philippine Coast Guard – Boracay, and Mayor John Yap.
Next up in the competition tour, the C2Sky Freestyle Raid, KTA Vietnam from February 15 to 19.
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