Packed crowd at the 2014 Kite Clash

An action-packed weekend was enjoyed by all at this year’s 2014 Kite Clash.

The 2014 Kite Clash was held at The Spit in Squamish BC over a three-day holiday weekend which coincided with BC Day. The event saw steady winds in the mid 20’s with hundreds of spectators each day crowding the banks to watch top riders from around the world compete. The Spit, a long, narrow sliver of land no wider than 30 yards at its widest point, made for spectacular viewing of each day’s competitive action.

Friday (Aug. 1) featured the Sickest Trick competition, where each competitor had two tries to complete their best moves. The first heats of the the day started with the juniors. Jason Blanchard showed he could hang with the rest, with a clean 315 and mobe. Lucas Arsenault also landed a perfect 315 and a kiteloop. Narrowly edging both of them out was Chase Hasch,  fresh from his first place win (men’s amateur) at the recent Bridge of the Gods event in Stevenson, Washington, who came out of the gates swinging with a perfect 315 and Slim.

The Women’s heats were no less intense. Canadian Marie Lacroix Samson started with technical handle passes, but didn’t complete either of them, ending her chance for a podium finish in the Sickest Trick discipline.  Katie Bowcutt, a young Dominican Republic rider, showed skills beyond her years and landed a podium finish. Jessica Winkler, no stranger to competition was leading the women before Ivet Krskova, a local kite instructor at the Spit, made the most of the conditions and, with the local crowd cheering her on, edged out Jessica in the final moments of the heat.

Next up was the Men’s Masters, with many local riders taking part before the much anticipated Men’s heats were run with finalists Lucas Arsenault from Prince Edward Island, Canadian National Champion Sam Medysky and US rider Chris Bobryk., bringing an end to a perfect day of blue skies and wind to kick of Day 1 of the Kite Clash.

Sam Medysky wows the crowd

Sam Medysky wowed the crowd with his combination of technical and old school moves.

Saturday (Aug. 2) began the Freestyle Championship starting with the Men’s Preliminaries, followed by both the Women’s and Men’s Semi-Finals.   French Canadian Genevieve Leonard landed in the top three women with an unhooked toeside backroll. Jessica Winkler’s unhooked kiteloop propelled her to a podium finish as well, and Ivet Krskova’s S-bend Revert helped secure her the top spot. The men’s finals was a show stopper, Nico Suriel coming off his recent 2014 Bridge of the Gods win, landing a KGB5, Sam Medysky executing his nose front blind mobe and Chris Bobryk’s Grabbed KGB5 sent the crowd wild with excitement.

Chris Bobryck works his way into the finals

Chris Bobryk working his way into the finals of the Freestyle event before taking the top spot.

Sunday (Aug. 3) ended the three-day event with a Big Air contest. Many of the riders opted to compete with larger kites even though strong winds were forecasted. This translated into a spectacular display of high flying acrobats that brought the crowd into a near frenzy with each heat progression.  After narrowing the field of girls, Jessica Winkler’s prior wins the day before gave her the confidence to find the right combination of speed and boost, which translated to her securing a spot in the finals. Marie Lacroix Samson having struggled throughout the whole event, finally cleared her head of those past heat losses and focused, just as she had done at the triple-S  Women’s Open back in June, to bring her a podium finish that had eluded her all weekend. Corrie Neufeld’s recent fourth place finish weeks prior at the Bridge of The Gods event, left her with a taste for more.  She wowed  the crowd on every jump flashing her smile every chance she could. Combined with playful, crowd-pleasing jumps, Corrie earned first place, also a first for this newcomer to the North American competition scene.

keeps the everyone smiling

Corrie Neufeld kept everyone smiling and earned a competition first.

On the men’s side, the battle was fierce. As the heats progressed you could feel the tension in the air. In the finals, three were left standing. Jason Blanchard’s grit and determination paid off for the young rider, as he displayed a cool demeanor of confidence with his technical moves,securing him a place next to the Koenig brothers. Stefan Koenig, knowing his brother was last year’s winner, pushed hard in the final moments of their heat, tying with Daniel which forced a run off. You could not have written a better final as the blood rivalry was set. The Koenig parents, not wanting either son to lose, kept a neutral position as both brothers squared off in the final heat of the day.  In the end, Daniel lightly edged out his brother to win the title of Big Air Champion.

Juniors Best Trick (18 & under)

1 Chase Hasch (Cabrinha)

2 Lucas Arsenault (Slingshot)

3 Jason Blanchard (Core)

Women’s Best Trick

1  Ivet Krskova (Boost)

2 Jessica Winkler (Shinn)

3 Katie Bowcutt (Fone)

Men’s Best Trick

1 Chris Bobryk (Best)

2 Sam Medysky (Best)

3 Lucas Arsenault (Slingshot)

Women’s Freestyle

1 Ivet Krskova (Boost)

2  Jessica Winkler (Shinn)

3  Genevieve Leonard (Airush)

Men’s Freestyle

1 Chris Bobryk (Best)

2 Sam Medysky (Best)

3 Nico Suriel (Liquid Force)

Women’s Big Air:

1 Corrie Neufeld (Boost)

2 Marie Lacroix Samson (Airush)

3 Jessica Winkler (Shinn)

Men’s Big Air:

1 Daniel Koenig (Core)

2 Stefan Koenig (Core)

3 Jason Blanchard (C0re)

Canadian National Champion

Men: Sam Medysky (Best) Women: Jessica Winkler (Shinn)

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