Still the KTA Hong Kong had seen a good entry again with 38 riders registering from 14 different countries’, which included this time, Egypt, the UK, Spain and Germany.
On the cards for the event were both national and international level competitions, with the final leg of the KTA Greater China freestyle and course racing championships alongside the continuing KTA tour disciplines.
Following a traditional Chinese opening ceremony for good luck conducted by the events headline local sponsors the KHKA, the wind appeared on day two giving the event 25kt North winds that dropped into the bay from the Lantau mountains. Earlier forecasts for the week have been giving the event cross-shore Easterly winds at around the 20kt area, but with arrival of Nida the outlook of stable good wind conditions became a bit hopeful.
For the competition beach at Cheung Sha a North wind would mean offshore conditions and a tough day for riders and organisers alike. It was clear from the start that the winds would not be stable enough on the inside to run freestyle, but out into the bay the things cleaned up and did allow for some quality course racing
So with the marker buoys set the men’s fleet gathered for the first start. Unfortunately as the first riders cleared the start line it was clear that there had been a mass false starts and the race was recalled. The second start was a good one with the main pack of racers taking off on a right tack, with only a few heading out on the left side. Port tack was the call though as Hong Kong local, Cabrinha’s Mike Raper came through the first mark ahead of the fleet. Though at this point Mike caught a lull and Taner Kurt from Turkey blasted through towards the downwind mark, followed closely by the first round course race winner Yo from Thailand and the Philippines Douqe De la Santos.
However, Mike was not finished yet and once again showed the advantage of being on home turf as he again took a wide left hand run to slingshot back into the downwind mark taking the lead back for the crosswind leg. This he then held through to the finish line with Taner holding the second spot over Yo. It was interesting to note that both first and second place riders were on directional race boards, which seemed to give an advantage over the rest of the fleet who were all riding twin-tips.
In the Greater China national event there was again a closely fought race, particularly between the first two riders throughout the course. In the end Hoi Tin from Hong Kong, came in ahead of Dennis Wong from China with Matthew Spragg taking the third slot. Dennis was in the end however moved into first place following a post race protest committee, which ruled that Hoi Tin had not crossed the finishing line correctly.
For the women’s course race all riders made a clean start on the first green flag with the lead changing several times between Calra Delmoral from Spain, local rider Hill Siu, Japan’s Reiko Kimura and Kathrin Borgwardt from Germany, as they tacked to the upwind buoy. In the end it was to be Hill that took the mark first followed by Katherin, the fight was then on between the pair of them to the downwind turn with Carla and Reiko battling for the next two spots. Hill again made the mark first and in the crosswind section finally pulled away from Kathrin to secure her first place position. Kathrin then crossed the line in second with Reiko taking a clean third. The main battle was now between Carla and Aiyah (Japan) who had taken the downwind mark in front of Carla, but on the reach Carla hit the gas on her Ozone and pulled away from the half way stage to secure the fourth position.
Despite the lack of wind for the remaining days the KTA ‘no wind’ plan worked well with riders competing in a very popular and well contested SUP racing event - which for the men gave a great win for Yo of Thailand over New Zealand’s Mike Raper as he snuck in and turned tigher on the final buoy. It was an Aussie win for the women as Ali Dudfield beat Kathrin Bogwardt in a surf SUP final with 3 waves to 1. Big thanks to KTA tour sponsor Cabrinha for supplying the event with its new range of SUP boards, which provide one of the tours key ‘no wind’ competition alternatives.
The day was then completed with a well appreciated and very interactive pro-riders clinic given by Alberto Rondina (Cabrinha) and Julien Hosp (F1), both of whom are PKRA riders with Alberto of course recently making all the headlines by putting five times world champion Aaron Hadlow out of the running for his sixth consecutive world title. The last day also saw a second riders clinic given by Cabrinha’s chief designer alongside David Hastilow the company’s top test rider, who together fielded a whole range of questions from the riders on kite development.
For the full race results, video and photo’s from the KTA Hong Kong tour stop go to the KTA official website – www.kiteboardtour.asia