Sunday brought early morning sunshine to Squamish for the final day of Kite Clash 7. After 3 days of competition in variable conditions, the clear skies were a welcome sight. It was sure to be a windy 4th and final day at Kite Clash!
With the Big Air-Style event and the Kiter-Cross racing to get through, the organizers and volunteers were ready onsite for the first breath of wind. As the leaves in the trees began rustling and the fishermen ambled back to their cars with the catch of the day, the competitors slowly began trickling in – no easy feat after a lively party at Norman Rudy’s the night before!
Lewis Crathern hopped onto the mic to sing us through the day’s events as the crowd started arriving on the free shuttle from Backcountry Brewing – the host for our final Kite Clash 7 after-party.
Swag was being handed out to spectators and raffle tickets were drawn throughout the day. Kite Clash put together a nice line-up of raffle prizes thanks to contributions from our sponsors. Those that purchased raffle tickets were hopeful to hear their names called for one of the major prizes including Nixon watches, a Crazyfly twin-tip kiteboard, a hydrofoil from Airush, and a $1500 vacation voucher from Vacasa.
The first riders on the water lined up for the first heat of the Kiter-Cross race, careful to avoid any of the major tangles that took out competitors the day before. Head judge Chuck Waterson rang the starting bell for the first race and the event was underway.
Competitors raced across the start line and through the course of buoys, jockeying for their position at the front of the pack. The mid-course flamingo jump kept the crowd laughing as the racers made their way through heat after heat.
The final race saw a difficult course with shifting wind making it hard to reach the buoys. After a change in the course led to a reset of the final heat, leading lady Alex Waterson was bumped off the podium by Corrie Coons who ended up with the 1st place spot in the women’s race. In the men’s division, Steven Akkersdijk raced through multiple heats to make the top spot on the podium.
Big Air-Style is a favorite event at Kite Clash, and this year’s event did not disappoint. Those sitting in the front row were treated to up close and personal action from some of the most impressive Big Air riders in the world. With wind gusting to over 30 knots, the riders weren’t holding back. In the women’s final, Corrie Coons performed the biggest jumps and riskiest tricks which brought her to the top of the podium once again today.
The men’s final left the crowd in awe. This heat will go down in Kite Clash history as the most exciting moments of competition the event has ever seen. With 5 of the 6 men in the final heat being previous Red Bull King of the Air competitors, the level of riding was unbelievable. The star-studded heat featured riders from 5 countries, with Luke McGillewie from South Africa traveling the furthest to ride in this stunning Canadian scenery.
There are no words to describe the experience of sitting at The Spit and having these talented riders throwing extreme jumps above the audience. Those that have not had the opportunity to see this event in person should be sure to save the date for Kite Clash 8 in 2020.
With a jaw-dropping performance (including a jaw-dropping move where he passed the board behind his back mid-air), World Champion Aaron Hadlow from the UK took the top spot in the Big Air event. Just behind him was the Dutchman Steven Akkersdijk who had an impressive boogie loop in the final. Rounding out the podium was local hero Sam Medysky. Riders in 4th and 5th (Luke McGillewie and Lewis Crathern) missed the podium by a hair, with one of the closest finishes that Kite Clash has seen.
After 4 days of intense competition, the riders and event crew headed to Backcountry Brewing for an after-party with a performance by DJ Praiz. Kite Clash 7 is a wrap – stay tuned for an even bigger and better event next year!