After the suspenseful, week-long wait for the unseasonably absent ‘Cape Doctor’, 24 of the world’s best big air kiteboarders hit the water and the skies in Cape Town’s Big Bay on Saturday 14 and 15 February to see who would claim the title of Red Bull King of the Air 2015. Facing Jesse Richman (USA), Kevin Langeree (NED), and Jerrie van de Kop (NED) in the final, the capacity crowd watched on as Aaron Hadlow (GBR) pulled out all the stops to win the title and be crowned king.
Hadlow was solid and consistent throughout the competition and easily had the performance of the day, landing two massive megaloop KGBs twice during Sunday’s semis and finals to claim the top spot on the podium. This intricate move entails completing a back-roll megaloop, then unhooking and passing the bar behind your back.
“We waited all this time and we finally got the conditions we were waiting for. I know the conditions here in Cape Town well and I knew I had a good chance but you never know how it’s going to go. Once I went out there I was just full of adrenaline and managed to pull some pretty sick moves so I’m really happy now,” Hadlow said. “Big Air is a discipline I don’t always focus on, but it’s something that I always have in the back of my mind. I know this event will grow the sport of kiteboarding. The atmosphere here at Big Bay is like nothing else – the crowd loves it. It’s the one event in kiteboarding that really is for kiteboarding and I’m so happy to be on top!”
Ruben Lenten, 2005 KOA winner, dreamed of reclaiming the title but it all vanished in just a few minutes during the semi-finals. “Unfortunately I made a wrong decision due to lighter winds by riding 22m lines instead of my usual 20m lines, which made my timing a little different. I experienced two of my worst crashes ever, first getting the biggest heelside blockside of all times ripping out of my boots 20 seconds into the semi-finals.”
“Getting back on the board and getting into the groove by rocking a nice Boogie Loop. Followed by a my signature Skycatcher handlepass, which I mistimed and crashed really really hard… broke my board in half and felt my body was pretty beat. Feeling all the frustration of seeing my dream vanish in minutes I hit the sand and hurt myself even more… luckily only dislocated my hand!”
Hawaiian Jesse Richman – the 2013 King – made the most of the straps he’s been favoring over bindings, pulling big board-offs but unfortunately experienced a few crashes leading to his flag being the first lowered in the final. Jerrie van der Kop was in the hunt throughout the heat, and laid it all out on the line for a well-deserved third.
Defending champ Kevin Langeree started strong, showing no ill-effect from the eight stitches in his hand from a cut sustained in training earlier in the week. For a long time he looked like he was going to defend his title but eventually placed second.
Hadlow was also awarded the ‘Mystic Move of the Day’ for his Megaloop KGB whilst runner-up Langeree claimed the ‘biggest air of the day’ with 13,5metres, recorded with the WOO Sports height measurement tool.
Over the course of the three days that the event ran over, 17,000 spectators came down to Big Bay to watch the action.
- Aaron Hadlow (GBR)
- Kevin Langeree (NED)
- Jerrie van de Kop (NED)
- Jesse Richman (USA)
- Nick Jacobsen (DEN)
- Steven Akkersdijk (NED)
- Ruben Lenten (NED)
- Sam Light (GBR)
- Antonin Rangin (FRA)
- Billy Parker (USA)
- Lewis Crathern (GBR)
- Tom Hebert (FRA)