Are there noticeable differences between riding styles in Europe and the US?
The US style of riding is different than the European style of riding. Here in the US, many of the top riders focus on sliders and rails and do more tricks with grabs and rotate less and land blind, compared to the European riding style where riders are much more likely to get another rotation and do an air pass which in turn may score them more points in a contest. Both the US and European riders are focused on riding powered, with the kite low — emphasizing the wakestyle side of the sport.
Kite competitions in the US are much smaller and there is not as much money on the line as in a PKRA event. The US competitions are almost as much about the collection of media (like photos and video) as it is about winning. Another major difference is that there is a tour that tallies up all events during the season in Europe, where we only have a few individual events and no overall “American Champion”.
How many more events will you participate in this year, and where will they take you?
This year I competed in Italy, Germany and Fuerteventura. I plan to go to Brazil and South Africa to train for a few months. I’ll have to see how I feel after that before I decide to compete in another event this season.
Would you encourage other US riders to participate in PKRA events in the future? If so, why?
The PKRA world tour judging encourages powered “wakestyle” riding. There are a number of American riders that are pushing wakestyle, so it would make sense for them to try it out — just to see where they stand at an international level.
After a strong first appearance on tour — where will you focus your training efforts for the next event?
All three competitions on tour made it apparent that I need to work on my light wind riding. In Italy and Germany there were very light winds and I was knocked out pretty quickly. In Fuerteventura, there were much stronger winds (about 15-45kts). I was able to do well and make it to the top 24, but I also lost some very close heats in the end and wasn’t able to make the top nine.