Final Day of the KTA Indonesia
Winners in freestyle, Formula kite and Twin-Tip race classes crowned on final day of KTA Indonesia at Bintan
Trikora Beach Km52, Bintan – The Twin-Tip racing class threw up the tightest of finishes on the final day of competition at the Kite Tour Asia (KTA) Indonesia competition with the young Ukrainian rider Lisa Nikitina pulling out all the stops to squeak to overall victory.
Even in the men’s class Narapichit “Yo” Pudla (THA) traded top spots with the two veteran Filipino racers Doque De los Santos, 30, and Louie “Bong” Fernando, 37. But the 23-year-old Thai rider scored a trio of crucial bullets at the close of the series that saw him secure victory.
It was a feat Pudla repeated in the raceboard class, but he was untouchable and won every single race in the regatta in both light and heavy airs, save for a disqualification for a starting line infringement early in the competition.
Astrid Berz (SUI) was almost as imperious in the women’s raceboard division. While she faltered in the first of the final day’s two races failing twice to lay a mark, she was able to laugh off her mistakes because of the consistent series of bullets she racked up in the first days of the contest that assured her overall victory.
The men’s and women’s freestyle winners, Dylan van der Meig (NED) and Estefania Rosa Santos, 26, the Brazilian number two, were also crowned during an exuberant closing ceremony studded with traditional music and dancing at the Agro Beach Resort, one of the tour stop’s supporting sponsors.
The KTA event, making its second successive foray to the unspoiled coral-fringed island in the South China Sea a short ferry ride from Singapore, was presented by Bintan Regency and also supported by Bintan’s tourism department.
The competition’s opening days were marked with strong winds that gusted to 25kts with a large rolling swell, though the lagoon at Trikora Beach Km52 was protected by the reef that made conditions almost ideal for the freestyle contest.
In the round-robin format of the first day Jaka Komocar (SLO) took the honours over Dave Shields (GBR), with van der Meig, 18, in third. But in the double eliminations of day two van der Meig battled his way up the order to take the first final, then the “super final” with a roster of powered Slim Chances, 313s, and Blind Judge 3s. The awesome performance secured him a victory over the seventeen-year-old Slovenian that was only unveiled at the closing proceedings.
It was almost a repeat in women’s freestyle which also went to a tense “super final” after Kelly Schouten (NED) won on day one with smooth, powerful tricks. But the Brazilian Santos fought back in the double eliminations taking down British number one Rosanna Jury, 21, before defeating Schouten, 25, in the first final. She then clinched the title in the deciding “super final” with a remarkable five completed air passes.
With the freestyle contest decided the racers got their chance to get more water time after the strong winds and swell washing the reef that had posed organizers’ safety concerns eased. The raceboard racers completed a thigh-burning six races on the penultimate day of competition.
While those near the top of the order traded places Pulda was faultless. His training partner, fellow Thai, Chanon “Jack” Phrakaew, 32, scored a raft of second place finishes as the riders were forced to put up their 17m kites in the dropping breeze as the day wore on.
On the final day Phrakaew placed a second, third and fourth that were enough to carry him to the runner-up spot with Nils Stolzlechner (AUT) after an equipment registration protest disqualified third placed Atte Kappel (SWE).
Pudla was understandably pleased with his double podium in both raceboard and Twin-Tip classes. “I think overall I finished first,” he said, with some understatement. “Quite a good four days’ work, really.”
Swiss raceboard rider Berz, 41, was similarly elated with her performance, particularly in the changing conditions that ameliorated as the contest progressed.
“I like a mix of conditions because sometimes some riders are really good in light winds, some in high wind,” she said. “But to win in both is really important, it shows who can ride in any conditions consistently. I’m happy.”
The Ukrainian Nikitina also accepted that she was struggling against Kathrin Borgardt (GER) who placed second in both the Twin-Tip and the raceboard classes. But as the wind dropped it played to her strength and she scored two bullets out of three on the final day to seal overall victory.
“I very happy with how I did, very very happy,” said Nikitina. “The whole time I’ve been fighting with Kathrin [Borgwardt], but she’s really good and really strong. So I’m pleased.”
3. Fon Benyapa Jantawan (THA) 1. Lisa Nikitina (UKR 2. Kathrin Borgwardt (GER)
Women’s TT Class
3. Doque Delos Santos (PHL) 1. Yo Narapichit Pudla (THA) 2. Louie Fernando (PHL)
Men’s TT Class
Men & Women’s Freestyle
1. Dylan van der Meij (NED) 1. Estefania Rosa (BRA)
2. Jaka Komocar (SLO) 2. Kelly Schouten (NED)
3. David Shields (GBR) 3. Rosanna Jury (GBR)
Men & Women’s Formula Class
1. Yo Narapichit Pudla (THA) 1. Astrid Berz (SUI)
2. Jack Chanon Phrakaew (THA) 2. Kathrin Borgwardt (GER)
3. Nils Stolzlechner (AUT) 3. Fon Benyapa Jantawan (THA)