Race, Race, Race on day 1 of the KTA Philippines
Formula kite and Twin Tip racers kick off action on day one KTA season finale on Boracay
Bulabog Beach – An international roster of leading Formula and Twin Tip racers ripped on the flat waters of Boracay Island on day one of Kiteboard Tour Asia’s (KTA) Philippines event, marked by tight and exhilarating contests that threw up a number of edge-of-the-seat photo-finishes.
Leading Formula kite racer Astrid Berz (SUI) cleaned up with five bullets out of six after a faltering start, leaving her overall top on day one. Boracay-based Kathrin Borgwardt (GER) outpointed Berz in the day’s first race after the Swiss rider conceded she had made timing error and was late to the start line.
But Thailand’s Narapichit “Yo” Pudla did not put a foot wrong all day in the men’s raceboard class, scoring bullets in all six races despite being pushed all the way by Ken Nacor (PHI) in the changeable conditions that started at around 15kts onshore and dropped to 7kts before picking up again in late afternoon.
Nacor – who was absent from the first two KTA stops in Phuket, Thailand, and Bintan, Indonesia – even at one point threatened to upset Pudla’s unblemished record in the raceboard class when he led the 23-year-old Thai in one race, made up of three laps of the track.
Yet Pudla was able to reel in and pass Nacor on the triangular course, consisting of a short up-wind leg with two broad reaches across the turquoise water inside the reef off palm-fringed Bulabog beach.
Pudla, who was also competing in the Twin Tip division which was raced alternately from the Formula kite class, was his usual jovial self and elated as ever by his commanding lead in the season finale at KTA Philippines Boracay Extreme, where Blue Orange Ville is the presenting sponsor and Aqua Boracay by Yoo the host.
“It’s a good set of results, so it’s happy days,” said a beaming Pudla. “I’m a bit tired after all the racing in both classes. But it’s great fun being out there all the time.”
Pudla was not quite so flawless in the Twin Tip class, crashing to a surprising seventh place in the opening race. But with the discards kicking in after four races he was able to discount the poor opening led the division overall with four other bullets and a second place.
Philippines riders Doque De los Santos and Louie “Bong” Fernando were snapping at his heals around the two laps of the track raced by the Twin Tip riders, and finished the day second and third in the overall standings.
In the women’s Twin Tip division 37-year-old Borgwardt totally dominated the proceedings scoring six bullets out of six, leading the overall standings from second-placed Liezl Tio (PHI). The German rider had been forced to play second fiddle to Lisa Nikitina (UKR) in the first two rounds of the KTA season, but the 23-year-old is missing from the Philippines event.
In the women’s raceboard class it was Borgwardt who was forced to play catch-up to Berz, fresh from a podium placing at the Formula kite South and Middle American Championships in Colombia earlier in the month.
“The course here is a little short, particularly the upwind leg,” said Berz. “It means there’s not much of a down-wind leg either. But there’s nothing much else you can do here. It is what it is. It’s certainly tough on the legs. But I’m having fun and the people here are warm, nice people.”