MC's Sukie's Kite Life Asia blog -
Back on the (PKA) comp scene
My competition dreams were swiftly dashed from beneath my feet (or rather, my knees) this time last year in my first KTA experience, but luckily for me being based on Boracay meant I was in the right place at the right time for Round 1 of the Philippine Kiteboard Association (PKA) tour for 2014! Yes a national tour, but just like the KTA, is open to all nationalities with both ‘Open’ and ‘National’ rankings.
Over 70 riders entered, helped no doubt by the super cheap entry and copious amounts of prizes awarded via a raffle every night. 3 Categories of freestyle, Twin Tip racing and Big air ensured there was something for everyone. Myself, I entered all 3! And wow, I have not done as much kiting in those 3 days as I have since I was 15 years old on a summer holiday!
Day 1 started with freestyle. The entire Single Elimination was run in winds starting at 18 knots and dyeing down to feeble 10-12knots. But it was complete! So we quickly switched to racing, where these light winds are favoured. A course spanning almost the entire lagoon was set out. The ‘Open Men’ category set out first with current TT world champ and KTA regular Doque Delos Santos really fighting it out with fellow country man Louis ‘Bong’ Fernando who eventually went on to be winner for Round1. The Older Gentlemen class, together with the Women and Children all raced together. Much to the amusement of people on the beach as there were tangles a’plenty on the start line!
Day 2 was our light wind day so we raced, and raced, and raced. Oh my goodness, I thought I was fit but racing is something else! Each class completed 5 races in the light winds, and yes light winds are every bit as hard as you may imagine. Luckily for me I had been kindly leant a 13m Ozone Edge racing kite which made such a difference, but even so that back leg burn is something I don’t want to have to experience too often.
Day 3 dawned and with it we had wind, a lot of wind. Big Air kicked things off. Competitors were split into 6 man heats and it was run just like freestyle, with each riders best 3 jumps counted. Over 20 knots of wind and people grabbing the biggest kite they could definitely put on a show to remember. Doque and Ken both jumped incredibly high, but it was Russian Sergey who stole the show with some huge hang time in the increasing winds. Then onto freestyle. whereas the single elimination had been run in light winds, the doubles were run in super strong with everyone on 8s and 10s. The last 3 heats though and the wind just cranked like crazy! Over 30knots suddenly pushed through ensuring some of the biggest crashes of the event (well, the girls anyway!!).
The closing party was held at the beautiful Puka Beach where we were awarded with prizes of money and massages. I for one found this very exciting as was the first time I have ever won a kitesurfing event.
I loved getting back into competition, and the PKA was the perfect way to do this. Their next event is going to be in Vigan, right after KTA Bintan. I really hope to be there, as the two tours really compliment each other well.