The RedBull King of The Air was one of the original extreme events in the early days of kiteboarding. 2005 was the last year the KOTA was ran in Maui, Hawaii. RedBull decided to bring back the KOTA for 2013 and run the event in Cape Town, South Africa. With 24 invited riders and 4 wild cards I was gunning for a spot in this huge event. I managed to score a wild card spot with a video submission 1 month prior to the event. I was already in South Africa riding and shooting with Best Kiteboarding so this allowed me a few weeks to warm up in the local South African conditions.
The event had a 15 day wait period from Feb 1st-Feb15th to ensure the wind was suitable for this Big Air event. Lucky for us Sunday Feb 3rd, only 3 days into the waiting period the wind and waves were on. Sunday began with a 10am riders meeting at the event location in Big Bay. We were briefed on rules and what the judges were looking for. Quality over quantity and extreme/height. Shortly after the riders meeting the first heat of 4 hit the water at 11:30am. The winds were lighter in the morning with most riders on 9 or 10m kites. I was in the 3rd heat with some good UK friends Tom Court, Luke Whiteside and, Sam Light. All 4 of us took 9m kites out and for our heat the wind had abit of a lull or shift because we didn’t have the powered to execute some of the larger jump and tricks. We still managed to get our heat in with a result of Sam L 1st, Luke 2nd, Tom 4th and I in 3rd.
My next heat I came up against another North American rider the one and only Billy Parker from St Pete Florida and another local rider from South Africa. The wind had picked up a bit from my first heat and I had some more power on my 9m. Billy and I managed to knock out the local SA rider from the heat and then Billy and I went head to head against one another. Both of us had a few banger tricks and loops but Billy pulled away with the win and advanced to the next heat.
The finals consisted of Nick Jacobsen, Youri Zoon, Jesse Richman and Sam Light. Youri played it safe in the high winds and secured 4th position. Sam L had a great heat with some giant front and back roll megaloops but didn’t havent enough to take out Nick and Jesse. The final 10 mins of the finals consisted of Jesse and Nick both riders going huge with their own unique style. In the end Jesse pulled away with the win and Nick taking 2nd. Congrats the the finalists on their performance in all of there heats!
Jesse Richman 1st, Nick Jacobsen 2nd, Sam Light 3rd
The event had over 3000 spectators on the beach watching and more energy than any other event I’ve been to before. The KOTA will again go down in the history books of kiteboarding. I’m so happy to have been apart of this event and represent Canada on the international level of kiteboardering!