Mixed Winds and Expression Session
Kiteboard racers fight tough battles in Formula and Twin-Tip classes in lightening airs on day three of KTA Indonesia
Trikora Beach Km52, Bintan – The leading men and women in the raceboard series at the Kite Tour Asia (KTA) cemented their positions at the top of the order with peerless performances in the dropping breeze that bathed the turquoise waters of the South China Sea.
Narapichit “Yo” Pudla (THA), reigning KTA raceboard champion, was unbeatable as he swept aside the opposition with such ease that by the final broad reach to finish inside the reef he had time sit down on his board as he crossed the line.
The Swiss rider Astrid Berz, 41, also scored six bullets in the raceboard class, tightening her grip on the top of the leader board, invariably beating most of the men who were racing on the same track simultaneously with the women’s fleet.
The difficult conditions of the first two days of competition, when winds gusted up to 25kts backed by a huge swell that washed over the reef, eased on day three of the event at Trikora Beach Km52, whose presenting sponsor is Bintan Regency supported by the local tourist authority and Agro Beach Resort.
But the lighter weather caused a few upsets in the order of the Twin Tip class, which only recently gained International Sailing Federation (ISAF) class recognition, earning riders the chance to accrue International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) world ranking points.
In the two races that were contested before the wind dropped, Louie “Bong” Fernando (PHI) showed his light-wind superiority scoring two bullets and stealing a march on class arch-rivals Pudla and Doque De los Santos (PHI).
But Lisa Nikitina (UKR), who had appeared to struggle slightly in the heavier airs of the previous days’ races, reasserted the dominance she had displayed at the KTA Christmas Race Special in Phuket, where she took overall victory with stellar riding.
The slight 23-year-old used her weight advantage in the breeze that dropped from around 12kts to 9kts to score bullets in both the day’s races, overhauling Kathrin Borgwardt (GER), who had proved her undoing during the first two days of competition.
Borgwardt, 37, herself came off second best to Berz – who placed sixth in last November’s KTA-organized kiteboard racing world championships in China – in each of the raceboard class races that she had also chosen to compete in.
In the women’s races Benyapa “Fon” Jantawan (THA) and Bilge Ozturk (TUR) traded third and fourth spots, though the Thai rider had the upper hand in the duel, perhaps partly due to an injury the Turkish rider sustained and her failure to register a large kite for the event.
“In the last couple of races I had an injury on my foot so I really couldn’t push the board hard,” said Ozturk. “Also, because I arrived at the last moment I couldn’t register a big kite. I wasn’t expecting this light wind. My biggest is 13m, which isn’t enough now.”
Even Pudla, 23, who favours smaller kites, was out on his largest 17m Ozone Edge by the final race the day in which he again claimed victory over training partner Chanon “Jack” Phrakaew (THA), who had also notched up an impressive run of seconds during the day.
“The wind dropped a bit,” said Pudla. “So today it’s a different story. Different day, different story. Except, I’m still winning. So, for the raceboard I’m really happy with the results.”
Another Dutch pair who were happy with the results were Dylan van der Meig, 18, and Kelly Schouten, 25, who scored wins in the freestyle Expression Sessions staged as crowd pleasers for the Indonesians who gathered on the beach to watch the riders’ biggest tricks.
The final day promises an exciting cocktail of hard racing and an “old school” Expression Session.
Top 3 place standings after day 3
Day Three Raceboard results, men and women
1. Yo Narapichit Pudla (THA) 1. Astrid Berz (SUI)
2. Nils Stolzlechner (AUT) 2. Kathrin Borgwardt (GER)
3. Atte Kappel (SWE) 3. Fon Benyapa Jantawan (THA
Day Three Twin-Tip results, men and women
1 Yo Narapichit Pudla (THA) 1. Kathrin Borgwardt (GER)
2 Louie Fernando(PHL) 2. Lisa Nikitina (UKR)
3 Doque Delos Santos (PHL) 3. Fon Benyapa Jantawan (THA)
Day Three Twin-Tip Weekend Warrior results
1 David Chen (CHN)
2 Dmitry Avramenko (USA)
3 Jan Weiser (GER)