Freestyle hits the water at the Boracay Extreme
Freestylers go big on day two of KTA Philippines before dropping breeze lets course board racers on the track
Bulabog Beach – Freestyle riders got their chance to throw down their powered moves in the opening men’s heats on day two of the Kiteboard Tour Asia (KTA) Philippines event that will wrap-up the 2013-14 season.
But after six heats in near-perfect flat-water conditions with winds that started out at 15kts to 18kts, the breeze dropped to the point where the judges had to abandon the seventh heat. A second attempt to re-run the heat later in the afternoon, an all Polish duel between Victor Borsuk and Przemyslaw Mikolay, suffered a similar fate.
Yet Borsuk had time to continue where he had left off in the morning, cleanly landing a number of powered tricks that included a Back Mobe, 313, and a Back-to-Blind with Air Pass using his 14m kite.
In the opening heats 17-year-old Jaka Komocar (SLO), runner-up in the second stop on the KTA at Bintan, Indonesia, looked like a strong contender as he took down local rider Eddian Manuel (PHI) with a series of stomped Blind Judge 3s, NISs, 315s and Back-to-Blinds.
Boracay-based Andrey Salnik (UKR) was similarly clean with his Slim Chances, Front-to-Blinds and Back Mobes that saw off a challenge from Pierre Vogel (FRA). Britain’s veteran rider David Shields was equally ruthless with Benji Bernard-Mettil (FRA) who suffered from being slightly underpowered on his 12m kite as he rode in the lighter airs closer to the beach.
“I’m a former windersurfer so I could see the wind was a little less closer to the beach,” said Shields. “I concentrated in staying higher in the [competition] box where the wind was better. It’s my first competition riding bindings. They take a bit of getting used to, but the pop is so much better and the landings more positive. I had a good heat.”
With the wind dropping the competition director set a slightly longer race course than the opening series and got the Twin Tip riders on the water on day two of the KTA Philippines Boracay Extreme contest, with Blue Orange Ville as the presenting sponsor and Aqua Boracay by Yoo the host.
The men and women Twin Tip riders, racing two laps of the track set inside the reef off Boracay’s Bulabog Beach, put up their biggest 17m kites. For Narapichit “Yo” Pudla (THA), who finished the first day as class leader, the decision to use a 13m kite did not pay off and he trailed to third behind Louie “Bong” Fernando (PHI) and Doque De los Santos (PHI).
Kathrin Borgwardt (GER) secured her grip on top of the Twin Tip ladder with a victory over Rahel Holliger (SUI) and Okyeon Kim (KOR) in the day’s sole race in the class. The German rider, who has been trailing in the wake of Astrid Berz (SUI), clawed back a little of her deficit against the experienced racer racking up two bullets and second in the day’s three course-board races.
“No doubt Astrid [Berz] is still faster than me,” said Borgwardt. “But the good thing is I’m getting closer to her now. And if she makes tiny mistakes it gives me a chance to get past her. There’s a lot of seagrass and plastic on the course, especially towards the downwind mark. I had to clear from my fins a couple of times, but Astrid had the same problem in the second race and crashed.”
In the men’s division Thailand’s Chanon “Jack” Phrakaew had similar problems but was pleased with his trio of third place finishes behind his training partner Pudla, who scored another three bullets to add to his growing tally, and Ken Nacor (PHI).
“There’s really a lot of seaweed in the water,” said Phrakaew. “It means you can’t go at full speed. You have to look out very carefully and try to dodge around the patches. Still, I fell a couple of times because of it. I’m just trying to keep my third place behind ‘Yo’ and Ken [Nacor].”