US40 Pro Team Rider Marcus "Flash" Austin Places Second in Freestyle and Hangtime Contest at Red Bull King of the Air 2002 in Hawaii
From the 30th of September until the 6th of October, the international kiteboarding elite met for the reknowned King of the Air competition at HoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢okipa Beach in Maui, Hawaii. Besides the honor of it, there was $20,000 (U.S. currency) in prize money.
From the sixty participant strong contingent at the menÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s competition, it finally started to crystallize during the freestyle that both finalists, "Flash" Austin (USA) and Mark Shinn (UK), were ahead, stealing the show away on their way to the finals from such strong competitors as the surf legend, Robby Naish (USA), or the Kiteboarding World Champion from the year 2001, Martin Vari (ARG).
Austin was able to secure his way to the finals due to the so-called double elimination format, which gives every kiter who loses one of his heats a second chance to still make it to the finals. During this second chance "Flash" remained unbeaten and, as a result, was able to pull it through to the finals against strong competition. At the finals, he met up with the British competitor, Mark Shinn, who remained unbeaten up until now.
The duel was all set: the King of the Air 2000 champion, "Flash" Austin, versus the current leader of the PKRA World Cup, Mark Shinn. With wind conditions between 20 and 25 knots, "Flash" was able to win the first round between both riders at the finals. As a result, both athletes now had one defeat each on their records, and a final heat had to deliver the ultimate decision.
In the incredibly exciting finals, which could have gone either way for both kiters, Austin and Shinn alternately demonstrated spectacular jumps 12 meters high and up to 35 meters far. The judges finally saw Mark Shinn ahead, who secured for himself the first prize of $5,000 (U.S. currency) as a result.
After the freestyle finals, the hangtime contest succeeded, which consists of trying to keep the kite and board up in the air as long as possible. With a result of 7.05 seconds, "Flash" was able to secure a fantastic second place in this event as well. The winner was Jamie Herraiz (E) with an airtime of 7.15 seconds.
For further questions and information on "Flash" Austin or the US40 Kiteboarding collection 2003, please contact the US40 Press Department gladly anytime. Katja Schumacher and Michael Kahl are looking forward to your inquiries and comments.