Martin Vari pops up and LANDS on top of the slider!!!
History has been made and kiteboarding has entered into a new day. Many have said that the Velocity Games
was the best competition that they have attended YET. People like Elliot Leboe, Mauricio Abreu, David Tyburski,
Chuck Patterson, Julie Gilbert, Jaime Harriaz, Kent Marinkovic, Fabrice Frick and many others said they came away
with that feeling. Why?
Elliot Leboe fires one off!
Kiteboarding competition has entered into a new level of complexity and difficulty. ALL the riders that I spoke
with emphasized that they compete for FUN and not as a technical ordeal. Still, in future competitions the
guys that spend the most time riding and successfully experimenting with new moves may well be the winners.
Popping multiple rotations off of the kicker, an attempted double handle pass, precision launching and landing
ON TOP of the slider and lots more. The days of overnight kiteboarding wonders may have slid into the past.
Many riders seem to be moving away from off the board tricks and into demanding wakestyle moves like
handle passes, Mobius, a ton of kicker and slider tricks and other full on tricks. Then there are the sliders
and kickers or ramps. These wind park toys may well be here to stay, only BIGGER.
Something else, HELMETS AND KITE LEASHES, will likely be VERY COMMON at future competitions and
in magazines and videos. Why, well slamming into sliders, kickers or ANY hard object can hurt, A LOT. Helmets
were required for riders hitting the slider and kicker. I asked about two dozen of the WORLDS BEST RIDERS,
if the helmets got in their way, distracted them or otherwise impaired their style. As a group they said NO,
most forget they have the helmet shortly after they put it on. Impact vests were worn by many as well.
Julie Gilbert shows off her Red Bull helmet
Elliot Leboe and Andre Phillip show off Andre's stylin brain pan ...
The Winners Circle ...
Helmets look hot and some of the best riders in the WORLD now use them along with kite leashes.
Kiteboarding is moving UP and ON!
Anke flys of the kicker!
Many of the riders used kite leashes in the competition, however some did not. Many riders threw handle
passes and other hard moves and some dropped their bar as is inevidable. Many that had leashes
resumed competition within a minute, those without leashes generally were OUT of competition in that heat.
The event layout allowed for runaway kites to miss the spectator and staging areas as a rule. In the future
there is a VERY GOOD CHANCE that competitors without leashes won't do all that well, at least not without a kite.
Of course if you don't practice with a leash don't expect to do too well in competition. The leashes that many
riders used are not proper safety leashes for normal riding as they tether the kite and partially depower it but
not fully and in fact leave the kite still flying. So this particular version of leash is more dangerous to the rider than
conventional leashes that depower the kite. All Cabrinha team riders are now supposed to be using leashes.
Hopefully, more manufacturers will require this of their team riders as well to lead by example.
Pass the handles, with a leash, DOZENS OF TIMES!
The women riders were lit and riding FULL ON.
The demands of competition don't stop with the men
but have expanded with strong skills and incredible moves among the women competitors. Expect to see
more great things from both men and women in this sport.
As in many other sports with the appearance of leashes and helmets at competitions, on team riders, in magazines
and videos, expect to see them at your local launch. So, this is a taste for now but having shot over 3200 still
images and video interviews with a dozen of some of the top riders in world, there will be more to follow!
Copyright 2003 FKA, Inc.