Rich Sabo is infamous for telling it like it is. In Sabo’s column of our summer issue, he smacks on delusional kiteboarders, calling them out and urging them back towards reality. But you want to know who’s not delusional? All of these fully professional riders below. Rich talks about his favorite non-delusional kiters and shows you their videos to prove it.
Trying to put my personal bias aside as he is my best friend…Brandon has style for miles! A lot of his tricks are underrated because they don’t have the “double air swaps” as much, but Brandon can do every grab I can think of … and then some. Smooth, powerful, and goes huge — he makes kiteboarding look good!
He’s in the same boat as Brandon for me as Fox is all about the aesthetics of kiteboarding. Alex never takes himself too seriously when riding and always has fun. You will never have a bad session when you kite with Fox as he is always looking for a simple way to make kiteboarding more fun. Oh yea, he also can do double grab 5s that are so steezy!
What more can be said about the predator other than he has the most effortless kicker style out there. I don’t think he does a single kicker trick without grabbing his board (if you are catching on, I like grabs). A master of the tricktionary, Eric can do tricks you can’t even spell. He made the list because he makes some of the highest level of kiteboarding look ridiculously easy.
If this guy doesn’t make everyone’s top rider list, I don’t know who will. While I personally think his success as a pro kiteboarder stems from his unusually long arms, Aaron is simply the best. He’s done every trick and he does them big. He also has learned the value of grabs mixed in with handle passes, and is starting to get super creative with double flips and new tricks other people can’t even get close to.
Energy — If you want to see who is the most energetic and talented kiteboarder, you go with Jesse. He always seems to have about 10 times more energy than anyone else out there and he goes huge! Jesse can impress everyone with his various styles of kiteboarding. Megaloops, air swaps, grabs, spins – he can do it all and can make it look so good!
The most underrated kiteboarder in the world, namely because he likes to stay under the radar. Anyone who knows him, knows that his skills are not to be messed with. If you want to work on a trick but know you are going to take a lot of crashes, Billy will be the first to crash harder than you and stomp the trick better than you. He’s a cable crossover machine with tons of style.
When it comes to park riding, this guy is king. Grabs, spins, flips, he can do it all! He is by far the guy to watch at every contest and has the deepest bag of tricks. He also has the best giggle on the water and can bring a smile to anyone’s session.
The dynamic duo of Jake Keltic and Andre Phillip. Smooth island style is the name of the game. These guys make me want to run away to the Caribbean and live that easy life. Just watch any of their GoPro edits and you’ll understand.
Somewhat of a personal favorite as his original kiteboarding edits are what got me into thinking about kiteboarding style. Grabs, wrapped, blind, deep rail presses — James definitely was one of the first riders with style that I saw and will forever be an OG.
God he’s good … and hilarious. Ewan is the most progressive and most encouraging rider on the water. If you want to learn a new trick, he will want to learn it with you! He also hates on bad kiteboarding as much as I do — so we have plenty to talk about. Despite being friends with my online nemesis, I don’t think I can ride enough with Ewan!
The future! This kid is younger than anyone out there and is pushing the style side of kiteboarding. Technical tricks with long grabs, awesome rail hits, and big kicker hits; this guy will be a Triple-S Champion soon enough.
A girl had to make my list and it had to be Bruna. Out of all the girls out there, Bruna goes for the grabs and goes big. She is the most powerful and stylish chick out there. (Tkb knows this too — check her out on the 2016 Summer Issue cover!)