Red Bull King of the Air is the most extreme kiteboarding competition in the world. As the official kiteboarding sponsor, we are extremely proud to have been able to get behind such an important event and support the industry. The very best riders from around the world come together to go head to head. With the scoring being based on 70% height and 30% extremity, this competition pushes even the most extreme riders to their limits.
We were thrilled to have both our North team riders Nick Jacobsen and Jesse Richman competing. Nick, the Danish daredevil, who won Red Bull King of the Air competition in 2017, is known for his adventurous spirit and expressive riding. Jesse, from Hawaii, is three times kiteboarder of the year and two times world champion in big air and big wave kiteboarding, he is a jack of all trades!
This year’s action started with some gruelling conditions at Blouberg, Kite Beach and the Cape Doctor wind was blowing a whopping 30 knots. The crowds gathered to witness some epic backroll megaloops, insanely high jumps and even unfortunately Aaron Hadlow (UK), crashing out with a rib injury.
Both our North team riders Jesse Richman & Nick Jacobsen had an outstanding performance in their first heats whilst debuting our very own new range of North equipment for the first time ever on the world stage. Jesse landed an insanely high back loop handlepass, one of the most difficult moves in kiteboarding and Nick was sending it with his mega kiteloop board offs, taking them both straight into the semi-final to go head to head.
Day 2 of the event, it was time for for Jesse & Nick to show the judges what they were made of.
Both riding the same North kites, this heat was really down to skill, as they went trick for trick, coping well with the chop. Unfortunately for Nick, Jesse was on fire and managed to steal a spot in the Red Bull King of the Air final along with Kevin Langeree (Netherlands) and Liam Whaley (Spain).
With little time to spare, the crowds were going wild as the three finalists took to the skies. Each rider gave it absolutely everything, landing the most impressive kiteloops, and aggressive tricks in the savage winds. As the buzzer went off and the competition came to an end Kevin Langeree took the infamous African trophy home for the third time in a row, with Jesse as runner up and Liam in third. As well as silver medal, Jesse was awarded the Mystic ‘Most Extreme Move’ award for his epic ‘kung fu 1080 handlepass’. What a legend!
It takes strength, flare, courage and hours of training to compete in the competition of the year. Congratulations to all of the athletes, we already cannot wait for Red Bull King of the Air 2020