Leucate Day One - GKA Kiteboarding World Tour 2018
Having slept off a long trip from Maui, as Jesse Richman hauled his gear bag across the soft sand of Leucate towards the contest area this morning, his thoughts were focused on how he might show his interpretation of what’s required to become World Champion in this new dynamic competition format. He will lead the charge and set the pace as he lines up against French rider Nicolas Delmas in heat one of round one of the GKA Kiteboarding World Tour: Air Games this week.
No stranger to blazing a trail, Jesse is one of three Red Bull King of the Air Champions alongside no fewer than seven World Champions who have signed up for this first tour event, while the remaining fields in both the men’s and women’s event are stacked with talent.
Flick through a big gallery of yesterday's pre-event throwdown shot by Toby Bromwich on our site HERE.
Although the wind didn't fill in enough to start the contest today, there was some fast flowing action during the warm-up yesterday, thrown down by early arrivers.
Doing it for the girls, Angelo Bouilot is back on home turf after a serious season in Cape Town throwing kite loops and will be a tough contender in the women's contest. Remember the name!
The heats have been drawn for the first rounds in the men's and women for when the contest commences. You'll recognise some of the biggest current names in the sport alongside some stars of tomorrow. One thing is for sure: this new freestyle competition format that encourages big tricks and crowd enjoyment en route to finding the most complete rider has inspired an impressive and motivated rider list.
Here's how this packed field will shape up:
The aim of this tour is to bring together the best of all twin-tip kiteboarding disciplines to find the most complete rider. Scores will be awarded for the riders' three best tricks from four judging categories:
Hopes for an early start today were burnt by a stunning sunrise and lower than forecast winds this morning, but spirits are high as the weather is stunning and there's still a full week left in the forecast.
The afternoon was filled with some tow-up stunts ahead of a weekend show and the Mondial du Vent opening ceremony, which is one of the most inclusive, vibrant and genuinely warm and encouraging festival starters that we've seen in the sport, and takes place in their large family friendly trade show area on the beautiful Leucate seafront. The officials personally welcomed some of the stars of SUP, windsurf and also kitesurfing onto the stage to introduce their sport, including Kevin Langeree, Aaron Hadlow, Hannah Whiteley, Annelous Lammerts, Liam Whaley, Jesse Richman and local hero Val Garat.
So we look to tomorrow that has winds forecast from the same direction, and we will be bringing you lots more insight from the riders into the future of this contest and their hopes of what's to come.