Day one of Kite Clash kicked off with the Canadian Freestyle Championship’s junior riders. There was some fierce competition between the young guns. Local boy Jack Rieder, 16, had a run for his money against the Karam twin brothers, Liam and Sean. What placed him ahead of the pack was his consistency, Kite Clash judge Geoffrey Waterson said. “He did well because he didn’t crash and he landed a lot of technical, high level tricks,” he added.
Next up were the women. Airush rider Kenzie Carlstrom was coming off a win in the amateur women’s division at the Hood River’s Bridge of the Gods last month. In February she took home the Western Australian Championship. Born in Nelson, B.C., Carlstrom said she was excited to be competing in her home country. She came out on fire in Kite Clash, pulling ahead of the pack with tricks that landed her a five point lead. “I am really stoked on this one,” Carlstrom said after winning the Canadian Freestyle championship. “It was my first competition in Canada and I was super happy to win it.”
The men’s Canadian Championship took a bad blown when reigning Canadian champion Sam Medysky crashed while attempting a KGB jump. Medysky looked to have been knocked out for a moment, with rescuers quickly coming to his side. Medysky was able to walk when he was safely ashore, but was taken to the hospital. Later reports said he suffered from a concussion, but was sitting up and asking for a “beer.”
Once the coast was clear, the competition resumed. Prince Edward Island’s Lucas Arsenault was in the running for top spot, along with Rieder and another pair of brothers – this time the Koenig brothers. The final was closely matched. Arsenault squeaked out a win ahead of Rieder. Once the scoring was calculated, Arsenault sat 2.5 points in the lead. The Koenig brother had an even tighter battle; Daniel captured the last podium spot. Stefan finished only two points behind to capture fourth place.
While it was disappointing to win the title without competing against the reigning champion, Arsenault said earning the trophy was on his to-do-list. Last year, his performance at Kite Clash mimicked that of Medysky’s ride, when Arsenault caught an edge and knocked himself out. “On a personal level (the Canadian Freestyle Championship title) was something I set my goal to try at some time.”
The kite slalom was new to this year’s Kite Clash. It turned out to be a crowd pleaser. Racing was tight with a surprise jump in the middle of the course made for some exciting action. The finals slalom saw five kiters around the course at a time. The final women’s heat saw Coons back on the course. She was up against Lia Feriancek, Alex Waterson and Jennifer Wormald. Coons pulled ahead at the first mark, with Wormald on her tail, while Feriancek and Waterson battled it out. Across the finish line it was Coons in first, Wormald second, Feriancek third and Waterson fourth. The men final was made up of Andrei Mortila, Rieder, Arsenault and Daniel Koenig. Around the first mark the racers were close. Mortila broke away. He was tightly followed by Rieder, with Arsenault coming in third. “The action was fast and furious,” Kite Clash organizer Steve Tulk said. “I can’t wait for tomorrow.”