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2010/11 Season Summary & Future plans!

KTA Asia Tour 10/11 Review

As the KTA‘s second successful Asian Tour season draws to a close its time to congratulate this years champions, to reflect on what has happened, check in on the lessons learned and take a look into the future to see what that has to offer.

2010 -11 KTA Asia Tour

Round 1 – Cesme, Turkey

The KTA Tour this year took us outside SE Asia for the first time into the Eurasian country of Turkey where East meets West. At a new spot in the town of Cesme the KTA was hosted to an amazing start to its season by the luxury hotel and resort 7800, who in partnership with car giants Audi not only gave the tour an opening event to remember, but also the richest prize purse ever. With US$10,000 cash and all the other prize goodies from our tour sponsors it was a good day’s work for the winning riders.

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Round 2 – Hainan, China

Round two took us to a new location in China and onto its only tropical island of Hainan. Hosted by the giant Baijin hotel in Wenchang all the riders were treated to free accommodation and food for the event, giving us perhaps not surprisingly the largest registration of the tour with over 80 riders. It was great hospitality throughout from China and certainly no one who was there will forget the Olympic style opening ceremony, the closing party fireworks or the Maelstorm led impromptu mid-week downtown club night that has become the stuff of KTA legend. Also joining for the first of two KTA visits was Cabrinha world champ and race guru Bruno Sroka, who set the riders on their way through his race clinic and then showed them the way it’s done as a guest rider winning each race – lessons learned? Well indeed as we all saw in the return match between Bruno and Asian Champ Yo in Boracay.

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Round 3 – Mui Ne, Vietnam

We entered 2011 with a return to one of the most popular locations from last year’s tour, Mui Ne in Vietnam. Known for its fierce winds and pounding shore break Mui Ne this year was to give the KTA its biggest scare – no wind! Well luckily not completely zero as it turned out, but with only a half day of light wind and final day of killer conditions the race crew and riders alike pulled off an amazing event to in the end still give us a full bag of results.

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Round 4- Pranburi, Thailand

The Thai tour stop in Pranburi was next up and this back to basics, grassroots event was one of the tours most chilled out competitions. With Kite Zone and GAC in tandem a fantastic hands on event unfolded, so along with a great atmosphere and steady wind conditions a full event menu appeared each day – this stop was for many one of the highlights of the tour. Freestylers were also given an extra boost from our guest pro-rider Alberto Rondina who kicked of proceedings with his Freestyle Jam. At the other end of the week the KTA Old Skool Project would close affairs with Old Skool‘s number one exponent Toby Braeuer leading the way.

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Round 5 – Boracay Philippines

Then there was Boracay, with title sponsors 7 Stones and the local organiser crew pulling out all the stops to turn what was meant to be the tours 5th round into the season’s finals. Sadly with the withdrawal of Korea due to government budget freezes and political worries we would not quite reach our six stop schedule, but the KTA Philippines would leave no one feeling that they had not been at the pinnacle of this year’s KTA Asia Tour. With 71 riders entered in a full array of disciplines, daily blue skies and thumping winds the finals on water action took some matching, but yet somehow it was as Boracay’s party queen Normeth Preglo unfolded a social calendar befitting final tour stop – fashion show, roof top cocktail party, casino night, foam party and awards dinner what more could you ask for.

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But yet again somehow there was more with Bruno Sroka back again to impart more race clinic knowledge, Toby and the crew styling it out in the Old Skool Project and Kristin Boese opening her KB4girls season in a new partnership with the KTA. This collaboration brought the KTA its biggest female entry ever, with 24 girls joining the competition, double our previous highest entry.

Off Tour KTA Open Events

As well as the tour this year has seen the KTA offer support to new locations and competitions through its new one-off Open Event package.

Weifang International Kite Festival

The first of these new ventures was in collaboration with the long established Weifang International Kite Festival in China. The Weifang organisers are more than well versed in the traditional field of sports and giant single line kite flying, but when it comes to the new art of kiteboarding they were keen to bring in the KTA’s help. So in a very different style of event the KTA brought together and invited team of international riders to compete and introduce the more mainstream Chinese kite audience to the ‘darkside’.

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Daet, Philippines, International Kitesurfing Competition

In a completely different Open Event the KTA visited the East coast of the Philippines and the town of Daet as part of their 3rd Kiteboard International. This was without a doubt one of the toughest event venues the KTA has experienced as the weather decided to throw a less than friendly typhoon into the mix. Still even amongst all the rain and mayhem an interesting event was to unfold with a series of stormy open sea TT downwind races and the much anticipated Cabrinha Kicker Comp that took place in the locations silky flat water lagoon area. As well as stretching the determination and talents of the riders this event also pushed the KTA media team to the stops, but in the end Lines Productions Frenchie boy rose to the challenge and fired out one the season’s gnarliest videos.

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International Sanction

The International Kiteboarding Association

The KTA was the first sanctioned continental tour to evolve under the IKA the kiteboarding class world governing body, whose remit is set under IASF (the body that runs international sailing and Olympic stuff). It’s been great for our second season to continue to grow with the IKA and to play a part in the international development of sport as a whole. At the end of last year the KTA attended the full ISAF conference for the first time where kiteboarding was setting out its game plan for becoming an Olympic discipline at the 2016 Olympic Games.

The IKA’s Executive Sec Markus Schwendtner has been heading up the bid on behalf of the kiteboard world and the current 30 country membership of the IKA and in May this year we should have the first indication as to whether this has been successful or not. As well as all this highbrow stuff it has been great to have Markus join us at three tour stops this year, not only to represent the IKA but to further help us develop our own race professionalism. As all the riders know Markus is no sit back VIP, always fully hands on, working the flags, laying the buoys or running the start boat. So cheers Markus and the IKA for all the support this year, plus of course an extra thank you to our guest KTE race officer appearance also this season in the form of Phil Mandeau.

Them That Count – The Sponsors!

For the riders and the KTA crew none of this would of course be possible without fantastic support from our tour and local sponsors along with each countries local organiser team, so hats off and a big thank you to one and all.

Title Brand Sponsors – Cabrinha!

Leading the way at the tour level for a second year has been our title brand sponsors Cabrinha. Mike Raper and his team have not only greatly increased their sponsorship this year giving each event a worthy prize level, but also they have given great back-up throughout the season to the infrastructure, along with supporting us to bring in guest pro-riders to help develop Asia’s competition skills further.

Tour Sponsorship

The Maelstorm boys were also back with us again this year adding those little extras to the prize table and giving us great moral and personal support at the events they rocked up to this year. Cheers to Raisin, Nick and Harry. Raisin is the fellow you all owe those hangovers to from that club night in China, strangely though he does not drink himself.

Thanks again also to Ozone for their addition prize inputs for us throughout the season and to new inputs made from N-verted Clothing and Underground who joined us as we gained momentum this year. Plus of course let’s not forget the moments of great balance all the way from the UK Zentrom style. Then last but not least cheers to SPLOCS.com the sporting locations company that enabled us to launch the KTA Old Skool Project this year.

Local Sponsors and Organizers

Locally each KTA tour stop is brought to life by the support of the locations local title sponsor. For Turkey this saw the partnership between Audi A1 and 7800 and in China our key player was the Baijin Holiday Hotel. Sadly in Vietnam our title sponsor dropped out eight days before the event leaving the gap to be plugged by the KTA itself, but things were back on track in Thailand with GAC and Kite Zone sorting things out and then for the Philippines our thanks goes out to Dani Aliaga and the 7 Stones team for their solid support and wicked event venue. Backing these guys there are often also our less well publicised local organisers and making things possible over for us in Turkey was Sedat Celenk , who many of you will have competed against also, so a true gypsy and rider turned organiser. For China everything was once again made possible by David Zhai, the man who can, with Wax and the Sankara team stepping in to help make it all happen Vietnam wise. Our own Willy Kerr in cahoots with the Beachhouse’s team Karl, Michael and Nina who made it all come together in Thailand and our final thanks goes out to N&N – Normeth Preglo and Nennete Graff, who along with Manny Calibi gave us the KTA Philippines ground support.

Riders Grant Scheme

grant-badgeWe are really pleased about how the grant scheme has worked out. We have had some great inputs from individuals and businesses alike which has enabled us to give a nice level of support to riders without sponsors and finance to compete. The KTA itself returns an amount of each events rider’s fees and event income back into the Rider Grant Scheme also to help maintain the momentum of rider support. We were of course knocked back a bit with having to cover all the shortfalls in saving the Vietnam round, but taken in the context of a KTA riders grant to everyone it was well worth the outcome.

Realistically though the Rider’s Grant is not big money and it certainly it is not there to replace riders looking for their own sponsorship and funding, but it has helped a fair few this year to take part in the tour one way or another. Grants range from in some cases giving help with travel or a place to stay, to as little as covering an entry fee or two for others.

The cool result of all this is in seeing how it motivates other unexpected areas of support. For example the grant supporting one Japanese rider that prompted the Japanese Kiteboard Association to part fund four more riders to attend an event, to the birth of the Vietnam team under the sponsorship of Yoann Coutherut and the inspired Philippines team fund raising casino nights.

The local rider fund raiser night might be indeed one for us to add in at each tour stop for next year, following the Philippines team’s example from the Casablanca Casino Night were they raised some PHP 19,000 (approx. US$450) to support local riders to compete in the coming year.

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KINN Pro team – Vietnam – Riders Grant Scheme

Geeky Stats

During the KTA Asia Tour 09/10 things looked like this –

  • 197 riders took part over the five events
  • 31 different nationalities
  • 160 male riders and 37 female riders
  • 143 riders took part in course racing events
  • 98 riders took part in freestyle
  • 44 riders took part in both disciplines
  • Oldest competitor to take part 58yrs old – youngest 13 yrs old
  • Highest event entry KTA Vietnam with 71 riders

Durting the past KTA Asia Tour 10/11 things looked like this –

  • 292 riders took part over five events
  • 36 different nationalities
  • 216 male riders and 76 female riders
  • 217 riders took part in course racing events
  • 112 riders took part in freestyle
  • 71 riders took part in both disciplines
  • Oldest competitor to take part 68yrs old – youngest 12yrs old
  • Highest event entry KTA China with 81 riders
  • Highest female event entry KTA Philippines with 24 riders

Forward Planning

Whats coming next for KTA?

Even as the dust settles on this season’s tour, plans are already underway for the 2011-12 season, with the first locations confirmations already in place. Learning from the past two seasons’ we have decided to change the tour structure slightly to be able to integrate new locations that want to join the party, while at the same time keeping things realistic and affordable for those competing for the overall titles. The tour season will stay much the same running from late September to April with the core tour and Asian championship ranking events being kept to the SE Asia region. We are proposing to keep the overall tour ranking events to a total of five rounds, with all other tour stops being considered as tour open events. These tour open events will carry the same IKA world ranking points as any other tour stop, but only the five KTA ranking events will score towards the overall titles. We hope that in this way we can offer more opportunities to compete with the KTA for new locations and areas without creating more cost for those in the championship title battles.

The 2011 season will also see the first of the new stand-alone Asian course race and Asian Kite-a-Cross Championships taking place. Following IKA directives the race disciplines will now be decided through single championship events rather than the tour format. Work is already well underway regarding these new Asian Championships and we hope to be releasing all the details and information before too long.

Competition Training Courses

More competition training opportunities will also be feature of the KTA in the future. Building on the interest and success of our pre-event clinic’s the KTA will be working with a number of pro-riders and other professionals in the sport to further help the skills development of riders, officials and event staff . Plans are already in place for a number of camps, courses and clinics in the coming year that will be offered in separate packages away from events to offer more time and scope for those people wanting to take part.

Web wise there are also some exciting changes in store, with new event photo galleries, rider profiles and first language rider’s walls to give more interaction and feedback for everyone.

Overall it’s been a great season which we hope those of you who managed to join us enjoyed. We look forward to catching up with you all again in the coming season, with hopefully some new faces in mix to add to the competition dynamic.

So spread the luv and see you at the next one!

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