See Nick Jacobsen win a thrilling King of the Air

The popular Danish rider wins one of the most closely-contested extreme big-air battles yet.
By Jazz Kuschke

Denmark's Nick Jacobsen outgunned the UK's Aaron Hadlow and Ruben Lenten of The Netherlands in front of a big crowd at Big Bay to be crowned Red Bull King of the Air for the first time.

“This feels amazing!” commented a visibly elated Jacobsen shortly after the prize giving. “This is actually my first international win. I really can’t believe I just won Red Bull King of the Air.”

The final provided a fitting climax to a day of close-fought battles where every heat produced highlights and upsets. Local favourite and 2016 finalist Andries Fourie was eliminated in round three, while the likes of Reno Romeo and Jerrie van de Kop went down in round four.

Three big-air masters

Aaron Hadlow (second), Nick Jacobson (first) and Ruben Lenten (third) celebrate on the podium during Red Bull King Of The Air at Big Bay, South Africa on February 2, 2017
Hadlow (L), Jacobsen (C), Lenten (R): big podium! © Craig Kolesky/Red Bull Content Pool

This year featured a new ‘compact’ format with 18 riders in total – the top 12 ranked from the previous edition along with best four video contest entrants, as well as two wildcards.

To the backdrop of a golden Cape sunset, some 8,000 people watched as Jacobsen – who had been consistent since round one – put on the performance of the day to peak in the final.

“Riding in the final between these two legends was just amazing! I’m speechless,” he said.

Lenten, who got a wildcard into the event after not having competed in 2016, went down hard early in the final, leaving two-time defending champion Hadlow to go blow-for-blow with Jacobsen.

Big winds, big action

The south-sasterly wind, known as the ‘Cape Doctor’, came to the party with just three days remaining in the weather window period.

“Today was amazing,” commented Sportive Director, Sergio Cantagalli. “We missed a bit of swell but the guys put on a great show,” he said. “Somehow they push each other more each year – it’s as thrilling to watch for us sitting in the judges tower,” he said.

“It was a very interesting final,” added head judge Alex Vliege. “After Ruben went down, Nick stole the show with his big kiteloop one-footers, both coming in and going out. Aaron was trying his signature move, but somehow didn’t manage to stick any.”

“We want the most extreme big-air kiters on the podium and over the years he really has built up to that. He’s a real showman” Vliege concluded.

In terms of the specialty awards, local boy Oswald Smith landed the competition’s Mystic Best Move award with his Kung Fu Handle-pass, while the UK's Lewis Crathern launched himself to a massive height of 19.4m to take home the WOO award for the Biggest Boost of the day.

For the final standings, videos and images from the day, make sure you check out

read more about
Next Story