The window period for Red Bull King of the Air opens this Saturday, 30 January 2016. The event – widely considered the most extreme big-air kiteboarding competition in the world – will see 24 athletes meet at Bloubergstrand’s Big Bay, to battle it out for the illustrious title.
With its origin in Maui, Hawaii in the early 2000’s, the competition first made its way to South African shores in 2013. The predominant Southeasterly wind, most prevalent during the county’s summer months, blowing at speeds in excess of 25 knots allows the perfect opportunity for big boosts and megaloops.
The event has also made an impact on the local kiting scene and youngsters like South African freestyle kiteboarding champion, Oswald Smith, are eager to make a name for themselves amongst the most recognisable faces in kiteboarding.
Smith, who returns to the competition after missing the event in 2015 due to a shoulder injury has been training hard ahead of the event: “Having guys like defending champ Aaron Hadlow (GBR) and 2013 champ Jesse Richman (USA) come back year-after year, really has gotten the local scene to push harder to make it into the top twenty-four competing in Red Bull King of the Air,“ he says.
“I’ve been working on my overall fitness to make sure I’m ready to take those guys on as soon the wind is pumping and the event gets the green light,” says Smith.
The sixteen-day window period is monitored extensively with the Red Bull King of the Air sportive team paying close attention to the forecast winds and wave conditions in order to give the athletes the best possible conditions in which to compete.
For the second year in a row, WOO will be the official measurement tool for Red Bull King of The Air and will be used to keep the crowd up to date with how high the kiteboarders are boosting. The tiny WOO device - mounted right to the centre of the kiteboard - records a rider’s jump height, airtime and landing G force, and sends it across to a smartphone via Bluetooth.
The weather window for Red Bull King of the Air 2016 opens January 30th, 2016 - more info here.