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North Kiteboarding Jesse Richman Red Bull King of the Air 2020 / photograph Tyrone Bradley, Red Bull Content Pool

North claims a clean sweep at KOTA 2020

07 February 2020

Our North team riders flew the Orbit to unprecedented heights at the world’s biggest and most extreme kiteboarding event yesterday, taking out three first-place wins in front of a 10,000-strong crowd at Kite Beach in Cape Town.

27-year-old Jesse Richman soared past former champions Nick Jacobsen and Aaron Hadlow to be crowned Red Bull King of the Air. 

The ‘Mystic Move of the Day’ for a kite-loop board-off that scored a 9.02 out of a possible 10 went to Nick Jacobsen of Denmark. 

And the ‘Woo Highest Jump of the Day’ was awarded to New Zealand's Marc Jacobs after soaring 22m into the air. 

Hawaiian Jesse Richman was elated with his win, achieved after seven hours of intense competition and 34 heats, on the event's biggest single-day of competition yet.

“Oh man, today was magical,” said Jesse.  “In the last few years all these events have been held over multiple days, but today was like the year that I won in 2013... just one epic day.” 


“You get into your zone, you get into your rhythm and you just keep on building” - Jesse Richman. Photographer Tyrone Bradley.

“Aaron and Nick are friends that I've had for a very long time and I couldn't respect them more. They shred so hard, and it was anybody's game, so being able to share that final with them and just give it everything we've got was a dream come true.

“My strategy has changed over the years and I'd say this is the most confident I’ve ever felt. It’s pretty awesome to play it through and have it all work.


“The contest isn't won today. It's won in the countless hours you put into preparing and training and getting everything dialled.” Jesse Richman. Photograph Tyrone Bradley.

North Brand Director Mike Raper was incredibly proud of what has been accomplished by the winning riders, product designers and engineers:  “What a team. At the one-year anniversary of the Orbit, Jesse Richman, Nick Jacobsen and Marc Jacobs all killed it.  

“Out of the 24 riders chosen, only three North riders made the cut. All three progressed to the semi-finals, to achieve 1st, 2nd and 4th equal. That says something. 

“50% of the kites in the Semi-finals were the Orbit, proving the kite’s now iconic status as the most predictable in the unpredictable.  

“Working with Jesse has been a privilege and an honour for everyone at North. As a new father, he is an exceptional role-model for the next generation, and his dedication to pushing the limits clearly shines through. He is the King. 

“It was gut-wrenching to see Jesse have to knock out fellow team member Marc Jacobs to progress to the final. Both Marc and Nick had outstanding performances. They were the ultimate showmen, and they sent it bigger than we’ve ever seen before.”

Thank you to everyone involved, at all levels. I can’t thank you all enough. This is only the beginning,” said Mike. 

Congratulations also to the other 21 riders who used the monster waves and wind to produce stunning tricks for judges and fans, and put their best on the line today to give us an unforgettable event.

Sportive Director Sergio Cantagalli was pleased with the result: "We managed to score the perfect day. It was arguably the best day we were going to get during the weather window. It is very unusual that we could start so early on in the day and have consistent conditions throughout."

The event featured a new format with Rounds 1 and 2 (video entry winners, wildcards and the four 'Fly to Red Bull King of the Air' winners) completed before lunch.

The top six from 2019 then joined the fray as seeded competitors in Round 3. 

Podium winners 1st Jesse Richman, 2nd Nick Jacobsen, 3rd Aaron HadlowNick Jacobsen (2nd) with the North Atmos Carbon, Jesse Richman (1st) and the Focus Hybrid, and Aaron Hadlow (3rd place).

Watch the replay on Red Bull TV HERE.