Rider: Aaron Hadlow Photo Tyrone Bradley / Red Bull Content Pool

Big crowd and big air, a winning combo! Photo Tyrone Bradley / Red Bull Content Pool

After being on call since 2p, round one of Red Bull King of the Air 2016 got underway at 4:30p when conditions were just right to kick of the big air megaloop event of the year. The round saw some epic action from the likes of Aaron Hadlow (GBR), Nick Jacobsen (DEN), Jesse Richman (USA) and local boy Oswald Smith.
Richman, Red Bull King of the Air in 2013, won his heat against Lewis Crathern (GBR), Ariel Corniel (DOM) and Sam Medysky (CAN). Along with Crathern, he heads straight through to the third round: “Today I was super stoked! I nailed my first two tricks which I was really pumped about but then it took me pretty much the rest of the heat to land the trick I really wanted to – the kiteloop handlepass – with four seconds left on the clock.”
jesse

Jesse pumped and prepping for day 1 with future King of the Air riders from the World Class Kiteboard Academy. Photo courtesy Jesse Richman

“There’s some incredible riding going down in the contest. I saw Tom Hebert’s heat and he was crushing it, Kevin (Langeree) had a few big jumps and Nick Jacobsen was sending it – pretty much everyone on the water today was really going for it. At this point, it’s anyone’s game! There’s a lot of guys going for it and not holding anything back,” said Richman.
Defending champ Aaron Hadlow was the one to watch though, as he landed a massive Megaloop KGB to take the win in heat 6.
“I had an amazing heat actually, I felt very comfortable. I took out my 9m Vegas kite to suit the conditions. I couldn’t have asked for a better heat than what I had in these conditions. I managed to pull out my signature move (the megaloop KGB) that helped me win Red Bull King of the Air last year.”
Aaron Hadlow - Action

Aaron Hadlow off to a great start! Photo Ydwer.com

With round one and most of round two already in the bag, it’s a waiting game for the best day to complete the competition within the window period, which extends to 14 February.
Catch the live action, on demand, at www.redbullkingoftheair.com/live-feed
For the most up-to-date information on the competition, head to www.redbullkingoftheair.com or follow @RedBullZA on Twitter.