King of the Cut – SUP King and Queen Named

Source: Event Media

King of the cut, sup
Puyo with the winners check. Image Credit: SUPWA / Woolacott

Near perfect conditions blew in for the 24-kilometre race, the Stand Up Surf Shop King of the Cut, with southerly winds at 18 to 20 knots.

The world’s fastest downwind SUP race and arguably the most prestigious outside of Hawaii and Oregon, the Stand Up Surf Shop King of the Cut has crowned a new King, Queen and on Saturday, a Prince.

From New Caledonia, 25-year-old Titouan Puyo has taken title honours at the 2016 King of the Cut. In second place, a huge performance by 15-year-old Clements Colmas stunned the field’s finest to give New Caledonia a 1-2 clean sweep. Defending King of the Cut champion Matt Nottage from Queensland rounded out the top three.

Puyo, who also won The Doctor race last weekend from Rottnest Island to Sorrento, said that he was delighted with his win.

“The conditions were good, the wind wasn’t so strong to start with, but I rode every bump I could. With downwind, it’s not so hard, I don’t feel too tired now, not like last week when I did The Doctor. It’s more about gliding – it’s good fun. I saw Matt [Nottage] who was close by and I pushed hard to keep the lead. I saw Clements [Colmas] and I said to him to go. He’s incredible,” Puyo said.

The youngster and New Caledonian compatriot Colmas has downwind pedigree; his father JL Colmas is a famous windsurfer who help develop Starboard during the brand’s early days.

“I am very happy, the race was very nice and the wind was good. I love the downwind conditions in Western Australia – I’ll be back next year,” Colmas said.

The first female across the line and Queen of the Cut was race-favourite and 7-time Champion Surf Lifesaving Ironwoman, Karla Gilbert OAM.

Gilbert said she was happy with her win.

“I’m thrilled. I was just trying to focus on one run at a time. I tried to choose the right line, which is something I didn’t do last time [two years ago],” Gilbert said.

Gilbert with winner's cheque. Image Credit: SUPWA/Woolacott
Gilbert with winner’s cheque. Image Credit: SUPWA/Woolacott

Marie Buchanan from the UK was ecstatic with second place and Queensland’s Angela Jackson finished in third.

Sharing the start line at Dawesville Cut with 130 competitors, over 90 of them from outside of Western Australia, was a pod of dolphins, adding to the already postcard vista of the Western Australian coast.

Competitors travelled from as far away as New Caledonia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Japan and Ireland as well as from around the country.

The Stand Up Surf Shop King of the Cut attracted its biggest field in its five-year history that included elite SUP competitors as well as first time downwind racers; the youngest competitor was 14 years old and the eldest, 60 years old. Approximately 15 per cent of the field was female.

The two-day competition window was applied to optimise the best conditions available and the 2016 King of the Cut was held on Sunday 4th December 2016 in Mandurah, Western Australia. With a total prize pool of $17,350, it is the largest prize purse for an SUP event in the country.

On Saturday (3 December), 14-year-old Sam McCullough was crowned Prince of the Cut after he took line honours in the 10-kilometre Half Cut. The Year 8 Melville High School student backed it up on Sunday to compete in the 24-kilometre main event finishing first in the State Under 18s and third in the under 40 category.



Place Name Time Category State / Country
1 Titouan PUYO 01:48:28.2 Pro Class New Caledonia
2 Clements COLMAS 01:49:09.6 Pro Class New Caledonia
3 Matt NOTTAGE 01:49:39.8 Pro Class Queensland
4 Beau O’BRIAN 01:50:34.0 Pro Class Queensland
5 Marcus HANSEN 01:52:12.4 Pro Class New Zealand
6 Michael BOOTH 01:53:41.8 Pro Class Queensland
7 James CASEY 01:53:58.5 Pro Class Queensland
8 Lincoln DEWS 01:55:47.4 Pro Class Western Australia
9 Jake JENSON 01:56:42.3 Pro Class Western Australia
10 William LEE 01:56:47.4 Pro Class Western Australia

1st: Matt Nottage (1:48:21)
2nd: David Kissane (1:48:25) *Unlimited
3rd: Marcus Tardrew (1:49:53) *Unlimited


Place Outright Name Time Category State / Country
1 31 Karla GILBERT 02:14:47.8 Pro Class Queensland
2 43 Marie BUCHANAN 02:18:45.8 Pro Class UK
3 44 Angela JACKSON 02:18:49.7 Pro Class Queensland

1st: Angie Jackson (2:11:18)
2nd: Terrene Black (2:15:50)
3rd: Belinda Stowell-Brett (2:27:12)

For further information, visit or

Environmentally Friendly Paddleboard Event set for Fiji

Source: ISA

Paddleboard, Fiji
Through a partnership with Starboard, the ISA aims to set a new standard for sustainable practices and offset carbon footprint of the 2016 Fiji ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship. Photo: Namotu

The International Surfing Association (ISA) and the Local Organizing Committee for the 2016 Fiji ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship, Tourism Fiji, have set a new standard in sustainable practices by aiming to make the competition, which will take place from 12-20 November, carbon neutral.  

To offset the carbon footprint created by the Championship, 4,000 mangroves will be planted to absorb up to 4,000 tons of CO2 over the next 20 years thanks to a new partnership with the Thor Heyerdahl Climate Park in Myanmar and Starboard.

Mangrove climate parks are the latest natural tool to be developed in the fight against climate change and work by filtering pollutants to protect sea grasses and corals. They are also a living bioshield against storms and tsunamis and a critical food source for sea life.

At the 2016 Fiji ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship, the world renowned wave of Cloudbreak will host the SUP Surfing and Technical Races along with the start of the Distances Races, which will traverse 18 kilometers past the islands of Tavarua and Namotu, culminating in a scenic finish at Musket Cove.

The Team Relay Races will be held on the west coast of Fiji’s main island, Viti Levu, at Port Denarau.

StandUp Paddle (SUP) is a core discipline of the ISA and it is one of the world’s fastest growing watersports. SUP was part of the ISA’s submission for Olympic inclusion at Tokyo 2020.

Fernando Aguerre, ISA President, said:

“The ocean is our playing field and it is vital that as the world governing body for Surfing and SUP we lead by example and do everything we can to protect and nurture the aquatic environment and its eco systems. This is a very important matter for the ISA and we are thrilled to agree a landmark partnership with Thor Heyerdahl Climate Park and Starboard. We look forward to working together to ensure we play our part in defending our planet from carbon emissions and climate change.”

Svein Rasmussen, Chief Innovator at Starboard, said:

“The oceans where we practice water sports regulate the climate and house 99% of the biosphere, controlling the weather and providing oxygen for every breath we take. We are excited to see the ISA involved in the efficient mangrove planting program and look forward to reviewing all the participants’ flights and emissions for the total calculation to ensure that the mangrove planting will balance the emissions. Mangroves have a vital role in protection of lives and properties in vulnerable coastal communities from tsunamis and extreme weather. Mangroves increase sea food stocks up to 50% and have several important features that help curb climate change.”

ISA Website

Spectacular SUP Showcases on the Horizon

Source: Waterman League

Image: Waterman League

After five years of spectacular events hosted at the beautiful Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s Fabled North Shore, the World Series Finals has moved for 2016, to create a new home on the Valley Isle of Maui not only for this year, but as a minimum, for the next three years.

The principal reason for this move is that there is no doubt that Maui has established itself as a global racing epicenter, with incredibly consistent tradewinds and ideal conditions for downwind paddling that have made the ‘Maliko Run’ one of the World’s Premier downwind courses.

In addition, Ho’okipa Beach Park provides the ideal arena for one of the most spectacular sprint racing courses imaginable, where a dynamic ‘M’ course will take the athletes in and out through the surf towards the Point for one of the most dramatic Sprint eliminations yet.

Finally, the nature of the Downwind run in particular opens up the opportunity for significant growth in the Pro-Am and Amateur level competition, where Turtle Bay has traditionally been a more exclusively elite event given the nature of the conditions and variables involved.

We are excited to open up this event to the world, with a mix of the very best athletes in the world battling it out for the World Championship Crown and enthusiasts taking on one of the world’s most popular and consistent downwind runs as we create our new home for the World Series on Maui.

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Jobe Announces “SUP 2 The People” Tour

Source: JOBE

Today, Jobe Watersports announced the details of its “SUP 2 The People” demo tour. The tour will launch on July 17, in Dillon, CO. It includes stops in California, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Washington and Oregon before finishing on August 21 in Santa Barbara, California.

Visitors at each of the tour’s 25 stops will have the chance to try Jobe stand up paddleboards (SUPs) and experience products from tour co-sponsors Johnnie-O clothing, Bai Natural Drink, JoFit, Eagles Nest Outfitters, GU Energy Gel and Rockview Farms.

Local SUP groups, paddling clubs and dealers will support nearly all of the tour’s stops.

“We want to get more people on the water,” said Maud Broekmeulen, marketing manager for Jobe Watersports. “Whether they’re trying the sport for the first time, or trying out the latest technology, we want them out there having fun.”

Two Jobe brand ambassadors, Taylor Newton and Stephanie Martian, will lead the tour. Newton and Martian were selected as part of a contest leading up to the tour.

“Spending the summer introducing people to a sport I love is a dream come true,” said Newton. “Add in the chance to see some of the most beautiful places in the country, and it’s hard to imagine a better summer ‘job.’”

Newton and Martian will share their experiences through Jobe’s social media channels, including @jobewatersports on Twitter, @jobesup on Instagram, Jobe SUP on Facebook and JobeSports on Snapchat.

The complete tour schedule is available at

ISA Certifies 150 New SUP Instructors

Source: ISA

ISA course presenter, Nik Zanella, hosted an ISA SUP Flat Water Course in Saikung Bay, Hong Kong in May, certifying sixteen new instructors. Photo: HKSUPBA

The International Surfing Association (ISA) is continuing to spur the global development of StandUp Paddle (SUP) with the certification of over 150 ISA SUP instructors across 12 countries since April 2016.

Instructors were certified in countries including Brazil, Switzerland, Finland, Canada, Belgium and Hong Kong, highlighting the universal appeal and access that has fueled the growth of the sport in recent years.

SUP Courses are part of the ISA CIP. The program is designed to establish an industry standard of safety, quality and efficacy for SUP and surf instructors around the world. With a special emphasis on safety, the ISA CIP teaches risk management, duty of care and water safety, along with the practical skills and knowledge to properly instruct others.

The courses exemplify the ISA’s strategy to grow the sport of SUP in non-traditional markets. As countries that have little to no access to quality waves, the rivers, lakes and oceans of these countries provide their people with the opportunity to practice the sport on flat water as an alternative to SUP Surfing.

Finland, which joined the ISA in 2015, has taken advantage of the ISA Coaching and Instructing Program to further grow the sport of SUP in the country.

Jari Laakso, Vice President of the Finnish SUP and Surf Federation, said:

“The ISA Flat Water SUP Course held in May was a great success certifying 26 new instructors. We are planning another course for fall. ISA Membership has helped the sport gain huge popularity in Finland and it is by far the fastest growing watersport in the country.”

Read more here.

Connor Baxter wins SUP Long Distance race

Source: Waterman League

Image: Waterman League

For an Opening Day of the World Championship season, the Victoria Cup Japan really gave us everything we could have asked for, and then some: flawless blue skies, an unparalleled view of Mount Fuji and fiercely contest racing at its very best, as the newly introduced Super Lap format proved a resounding success and provided an extremely interesting new dynamic to World Championship Racing.

Having flown in late last night, Connor Baxter (Starboard) seemed unfazed, as he faced the task at hand and put on an impressive performance in today’s long distance race to take victory on Day 1 of the Victoria Cup. However, it was one of the most competitive races yet, with new faces making their presences felt, and putting the pressure squarely on the favorites at every turn.

Despite the increased pressure and the unknown of the Super Lap, Connor put on an undeniably strong performance and was able to hit the sand just inches ahead of team mate Michael Booth (Starboard) to take the win.

It is not over yet however, with Day 2 to witness the famous World Series Sprints, as the 80+ strong fleet will be wittled down to one winner overall for this all important 1st stop on the 2016 World Championship Series.

Michael Booth (Starboard) has been on a tear so far in 2016, making his presence felt in national races across the length and breadth of Australia. Howver, we were anxious to see how he would fare stepping up to do battle on the global stage here at stop #1 of the 2016 Stand Up World Series in Japan……..the answer: he is a major threat and force to be reckoned with, and pushed the eventual winner Connor Baxter right up to the beach to take an incredibly close 2nd place in today’s long distance having set the pace for much of the race along with Connor and 3rd place finisher Casper Steinfath (Naish).

We are now excited to see how Michael fares in the World Series Sprint format tomorrow as we anticipate one of the most competitive year’s yet on the Stand Up World Series and a battle for the World TItle like no other.

Casper Steinfath (Naish) just seems to get stronger, faster and more competitive as time goes by, and once again puts together a stellar performance here on Day 1 of the VIctoria Cup Japan, Stop #1 of the 2016 Stand Up World Series.

Casper finished 2015 up on a high with a 3rd place overall at the end of the season, and now finds himself in a familiar place on Day 1 of the new season, with an impressive 3rd place finish in today’s long distance race.

Casper, Michael Booth (Starboard) and Connor Baxter (Starboard) formed a tight 3 man pack for much of the race, breaking off for their Super Lap at the same point and building a lead for those on their program. However, the other pack that opted for the Super Lap last, led by 2015 World Champion Kai Lenny (Naish) turned the penultimate buoy to find themselves right on the tail of the leading 3 for an exciting closing leg.

The leading 3 however were able to hold their position and secure the top 3 spots, with Casper showing once again that he can not only keep pace with the best of the best, but challenge and beat them.

Notorious for his skill in the World Series Sprint discipline, it will be exciting to see how this incredible 1st stop of the Stand Up World Series will unfold tomorrow as we get underway with the World Series Sprints from 10am Tokyo time.

Fiona Wylde (Starboard) continues to go from strength to strength here on the WOrld Championship platform for Stand Up Paddling: after an impressive performance at the Turtle Bay Women’s Pro where she finished in 2nd place behind 2x World Champion Izzi Gomez (Starboard), the double threat once again showed her prowess today in the Racing division by taking the win in the all important Opening Day of the 2016 Season.

Image: Waterman League
Image: Waterman League

Clearly revelling with the new Super Lap format, Fiona played her cards right and chose the right time to break away on her Super Lap, managing to keep pace and beat the 2015 World Champion Candice Appleby (Infinity SUP) in this long distance race.

Strategy clearly played a real role in today’s race, with Angie Jackson and Fiona splitting off together on their Super Lap and pushing each other to maintain pace and focus on a strong finish here at the Victoria Cup Japan. The strategy worked and Fiona emerged victorious and we now await an exciting close to the Victoria Cup Pro racing tomorrow with the infamous World Series Sprints.

Angie Jackson has a great relationship with Japan, having won the 2014 Chiagasaki Pro World Challenger Series and now producing her own line of boards in conjunction with a local partner that are receiving rave reviews in her home town where her and husband Paul Jackson run a successful SUP store.

So to witness a solid performance from Angie today was no surprise, as she battled with friend and rival Fiona Wylde (Starboard) until the end, taking 2nd place in today’s long distance race on Day 1 of the Victoria Cup.

As we look forward to another full day of racing tomorrow, we are expecting some fireworks in the World Series Sprints, as the girls will be putting it all on the line here for victory at Stop #1 of the 2016 Stand Up World Series.

Candice Appleby (Infinity SUP) kicked off her unbeaten 2015 World Title Campaigh in style last year with bullet wins in both long distance and sprint racing, as her momentum continued through the year to allow her to secure the Title in advance of the Final event.

Returning to Japan in 2016, she is looking stronger and faster than ever, but perhaps was a little thrown off with the Super Lap format where heading out on your own isn’t necessarily the best strategy to pursue, expecially after seeing how Fiona Wylde (Starboard) and Angie Jackson’s battling saw them secure 1st and 2nd respectively.

However, a podium is still a podium, and Candice is notoriously dangerous in the World Series Sprint Racing format as we anticipate some extremely competitive racing tomorrow for Day #2 of the Victoria Cup Japan.

It was a magnificent day here at Zushi Beach for Day 1 of VIctoria Cup Japan, the opening stop of the 2016 World Series – spring time in Japan is mesmerizingly beautiful, from the cherry blossom and clear blue skies to the dramatic backdrop that Mount Fuji and Enoshima provide, it proved to be the ideal way to open the 2016 season for the World Championship Series.

The all new ‘Super Lap’ format adopted for the Long distance today proved a resounding success, as strategy came into play more than ever for one of the most fiercely contested races yet. With stand out performances across the board, it was a day to remember, as both established and up and coming athletes stood up to be counted.

We now look forward to the World Series Sprints that will kick off at 10am Tokyo time tomorrow, as the World’s best will be back down at Zushi Beach for Day 2 of the 2016 Victoria Cup.

Victoria Cup Japan returns to Zushi Beach

Source: Waterman League

Image: Waterman League

The 2016 Stand Up World Series is about to get underway next week in the beautiful Kanagawa Prefecture, at Zushi Beach in Japan. The location is ideal for bringing together the World’s best with local paddlers of all levels, whether they be World Championship Contenders like Kenny Kaneko or entry level enthusiasts coming to Zushi to take in the energy and be a part of the excitement at this first World Championship stop of the season.

Competition will kick off next Friday 13th with the long distance race, that in 2016 will feature the all new ‘Super lap’ – a concept proposed by athlete Paul Jackson a few year’s back, the Super Lap works perfectly at a location such as Zushi Beach, where a lap course will keep the action close, and the addition of the super lap will allow real race strategy to come to play and avoid excessive draft trains that can often take a lot of the excitement out of racing.

The racing will then continue on Saturday 14th with infamous World Series Sprint Racing, the heat format elimination sprints that provide a truly dynamic racing spectacle for the crowds on the beach, but also nail biting racing for the athletes themselves.

It will all end on Sunday 15th with open and intermediate races, clinics, fun racing and much more, as Japan celebrates the kick off of the 2016 World Series, the start of the summer, and an all new season for the sport in the land of the Rising Sun.

Last year’s VIctoria Cup Japan saw some legendary racing from the greats, as we saw a familiar battle between 2014 World Champion Connor Baxter (Starboard) and 2015 World Champion Kai Lenny (Naish), with Connor taking the long distance and Kai the sprints, with Kai just taking the edge by a few places in the sprints to take the overall win.

However, there were some stand out performances from the likes of Mo Freitas (Focus SUP), Arthur Arutkin (Fanatic) and Casper Steinfath (Naish), all right up there in contention for the win, so there is no doubt that the 2016 edition will be the most dramatic and exciting yet, as the Worlds best congregate to do battle in Japan.

Last year saw a striking performance from the eventual 2015 World Champion Candice Appleby (Infinity), who came out of the gates in stunning form to take bullet wins in both the long distance and sprint racing, a theme she would repeat throughout the year on her way to her maiden World Title.

However, right behind her were a few young new faces clearly making names for themselves and laying their claim at the top end of performance SUP Racing: Manca Notar (Naish) from Slovenia put on a stellar performance to take second overall, while Fiona Wylde (Starboard) kicked off her season in style by taking 3rd place, gaining momentum that she would only build on through the back end of the year to take 2nd overall in 2016 behind Candice Appleby – an incredible achievement from this young talent from Oregon.

Watch out for both these young talents, but also established greats such as Angie Jackson and many more as they step up to do battle in Japan next week.

We saw a great surge of Japanese talent stepping up to do battle in 2015 and we hear that there are even more stepping up to do battle in 2016 as we can’t wait to see how it all unfolds at this first stop of the 2016 World Championship Series in Japan.


Next up will be the Mercedes World Cup of SUP, stop #2 of the 2016 Stand Up World Series that will take place in the beautiful seaside town of Scharbeutz, just outside of Hamburg, Germany. This welcomed return to Germany in 2016 spells a new era for the World Series and the sport in N. Europe, with an exciting future in store and some of the most competitive racing yet on the World Championship Series to come this summer.

KTA X-Champs Kiteboarding Event Wraps Up in Vietnam

Image – Alexandru Baranescu

There was a lot to be excited about. This event held huge promise as the first ever KTA X-Champs competition. The event was to be split into a range of disciplines: TT Racing, the new Freestyle X, a high tach Big Air competition utilizing a board mounted height measuring device known as a ‘WOO Device’ and even in the mix Stand up Paddle Racing. The KTA has designed the X-Champs to offer something for everyone, at all levels along with keeping the action up close to the beach and personal, to ensure the crowds get to feel they are part of all the action too. Something perhaps that has been lost a little in recent years as the racing side of the sport focuses more on sailing course formats that take riders further out to sea.

With the new competition format also came a new media vision, a vision of growing the kite boarding lifestyle and travels to new audiences beyond those already hooked on the sport. Filming for the new documentary style KTA TV broadcasts, began in earnest days in advance of the event to capture the other aspect of the kiters life, that of travel and meeting new people and experiencing their culture and lifestyles These new shows will go out over the next few months via the KTA’s broadcast partners on SKY TV’s Wild Spirits programme across Europe and with the Outdoor Channel in Asia and Australasia. The KTA’s online and social media output during the event saw record numbers interacting and viewing the output. This is also about to get an extra boost too in the form of new social media TV show, The Q You. These are the guys that brought the world MTV and are now turning their attention to broadcasting content like the KTA.

Kiteboarding - KTA X-Champs 2016

The KTA X-Champs Vietnam based itself at the stunning Ninh Chu Bay and was hosted by the Ninh Chu Bay Beach Club. Proceedings began with the competitors being warmly welcomed by the events official government partners the Vietnam Canoeing rowing and Sailing Federation (VCRSF) and the Ninh Thuan Provincial Government, in a ceremony attend by 80 officials, plus thousands of members of the public, looking on from the beach.

In advance of this day, Ninh Chu Bay had been enjoying the expected cross-shore winds and perfect water conditions, but as the opening ceremony finished the rain began. The forecast, but not welcomed storm dampened spirits as the returning wind shifted to offshore. From now on it would hard work for the riders, but as the opening SUP races began spirits lifted and crowds soaked up the growing excitement.
After some hard fought paddle races, it was time for the TT Race fleet to take to the water and although not easy the riders and team managed to push through a number of races to close the day. The racing as well as the KTA X-Champs as a whole is solidly support by their long-term industry partners Cabrinha.

SUP - 2016 KTA X_Champs

Day two opened with the same wind situation and it was clear that it would not be shifting back any time soon. Nevertheless, the riders pushed on with the competition and the SUP racers again powered their way around the course. KTA SUP racing is being run as a one design class, sponsored by Starboard, who are support the KTA to introduce this fast growing high participation watersport throughout the session. It certainly caught the attention of paddlers and kiters alike at Ninh Chu Bay, as an international field of 30 riders battled it out. It was day in which the Russian paddlers slowly beginning to dominate the men’s pack, while on the women’s side of things the top place battles where taking place between the New Caledonian and Korean girls.

As with the opening day, TT Racing kicked back into action after the paddlers left the water. The offshore wind might have been unexpected, but this did not slow the racers down any and they were soon blasting across Ninh Chu Bay in a series of fast reaching races that excited the crowd into cheering for their new favourite riders. Thailand’s Yo Narapichit Pudla, showed once again why he was still reigning Asian champion, while in the women’s class with one 1 rider Germany’s Kathrin Borgwardt out of action due to fever, a new face in the form of a young 16 year old rider from China, Jingle Chen was making her mark.

Day two was completed by the much anticipated WOO Big Air competition. The Big Air show was a firm favorite with hordes of local spectators who were ‘wowed’ by the action packed jumps taking place in front of them. Kiteboard Big Air is something that everyone can get behind and enjoy, whether you’re competing against world rankings or just watching from the beach. The wind was blowing hard, and the gusts were carrying the WOO riders to new heights and laying down the first KTA WOO X-Champs records.

Freestyle X - 2016 KTA X-Champs

Vietnam’s Lai Hoang Phu boosted a massive 13.8 mtrs to secure a popular home win in the men’s division, while Holland’s Mariska Wildenberg put up an unbeatable 10.9 mtrs for the women.

Sadly, it was clear by the end of the day that the winds at this spot were not going to play ball and return to the expected direction, meaning that it would not be ideal for the approaching freestyle event. The difficult decision to move the competition to a new location was made and following day would see a shift to the south side of Ninh Chu Bay.

Day 3 and the riders and crew woke with a new lease of excitement, the KTA’s Freestyle X had arrived!

Regular riders at Ninh Chu Bay, really have something special going on. Not only an amazing base location at the Ninh Chu Bay Beach Club, but also the ability to hardly have to move to find the ideal conditions, when the wind changes. Add to this the incredible backdrop of mountains on the horizon, and most importantly strong constant winds, then you have a kiteboarding haven worth travelling for.

The KTA’s Freestyle X had come of age as radical new school and airstyle hooked in old school moves were blended into some incredible heats of pure talent. The crowds love it, growing bigger throughout the day and cheering their heads off as one big move after another blasted into the sky.

Approaches from the riders to this new format of freestyle where interesting and varied. While most had switched to straps to allow them to add board offs to their old school output, some riders like Hollands Dylan van der Meij, would swap halfway through his heat from straps to boots. Vietnam’s Win had a totally different approach and impressed judges, fellow riders and crowds alike with is spellbinding strapless surfboard riding. It was a tough day though and the riders left the beach exhausted, but happy.

With everyone well rested and ready to go again, the final day of the competition kicked off with the Freestyle X finals. The level of competition was absolutely astounding as the guys and girls battled it out for the number one spot. France, Aruba and Japan in the shape of Aya Oshima, Maureen Castelle, Marine Duprat and Annabel van Westerop, went head to head in the women’s Freestyle X, showing us some of the best levels of riding the KTA has seen in women’s freestyle. In the end though it was Marine Duprat who would come out on top.

The men were also making a hugh impact. Featuring Quentin Valesa, Dylan vander Meij, Jaka Komocar and Andrey Salnik, from France, Holland, Slovakia and Russia respectively. The winds were screaming in and the guys were maxing out on both height and technicality, it was a total kiting feast and no one will forget that final between Meij and Salnik for some time to come. It was though a popular and well deserve win for Meij that finished the Freestyle X action for the KTA X-Champs Vietnam.

It was a perfect day and the TT racers also relished the challenge to get back on the water and show off their high speed skills. All the usual suspects were in the thick of it as the final round of racing unfolded to take us towards the close of action. Atte Kappel, Fon Benyapa Jantawan, Pauline Valesa and Quentin Valesa pressed Pudla and Chen hard over the final races, but in the end they held on and took the glory and bragging rights from the 4 days of varied and challenging, but classic TT Racing which showed why this discipline remains the most popular for the KTA.

Kiteboarding - 2016 KTA X-Champs

It had been an amazing week at Ninh Chu Bay, the welcome and the support for both team and riders had been incredible. Vietnam lived up to all its expectations and delivered challenging conditions with strong winds. A challenge which the riders rose to meet and gave back to the daily crowds of thousands a sporting festival they will be talking about for a long time to come.

The VCRSF and Ninh Thuan Provincial Government, began the closing of the first KTA X-Champs with the official medal awarding ceremony at the Long Thaun Hotel. This was opened by a number of traditional Vietnamese dancers that captivated and reminded the competitors of the culture of Vietnam that they had been enjoying during their stay. The official ceremony then blended seamlessly into the final prize giving and closing party that brought the KTA back to where it starting proceedings, at the Ninh Chu Bay Beach Club.

For more information, visit the Kiteboard Tour Asia website.

Source: KTA

Zane Schweitzer Crowned 2016 Ultimate Waterman

Image: The Ultimate Waterman

Zane Schweitzer was a late call up for 2016 and he was the most consistent surfer of the multi discipline Ultimate Waterman, winning three of the seven disciplines contested.

Schweitzer placed third in the 16km Stand Up Paddleboard Race which was enough to clinch the title over runner up Danny Ching (USA).

“I have been training for this event all of my life without knowing about The Ultimate Waterman,” Schweitzer said.

“Last year I was so bummed watching the event and not being part of it, it hurt. And this year I got a late call up a couple of weeks before it started and now I hope I have proven that I deserved the call up.”

“I know there are a lot of other athletes out there that suit this event and I look forward to the event growing and learning off these guys when they become part of it. This event truly broadens a surfer’s horizons beyond what they are used to, it makes them step outside of their comfort zone and try new things. That’s what I love about it,” said Schweitzer.

Fellow Hawaiian athlete Connor Baxter won the SUP Endurance Race well clear of Danny Ching (USA). Baxter moved up in to fourth place as a result of the win, one place behind New Zealand’s defending champion Daniel Kereopa in third.

Schweitzer claimed the Prone Paddleboard discipline on the first weekend of the event before heading south and winning the Standup Paadleboard Surf on Wednesday and then the longboard discipline on Saturday. Schweitzer also placed fourth in the OC1, third in the Shortboard and seventh in the Underwater Strength Run and Swim.

Official Results – 16km SUP Endurance
1st Connor Baxter (HAW) – 1:15:16
2nd Danny Ching (USA) – 1:19:26
3rd Zane Schweitzer (HAW) – 1:21:06
4th Manoa Drollet (PYF) – 1:26:46
5th Daniel Kereopa (NZL) – 1:30:18
6th Mark Visser (AUS) – 1:31:52
7th Caio Vaz (BRA) – 1:31:52
DNS Kala Alexander (HAW)

Overall Results
1st Zane Schweitzer (HAW)
2nd Danny Ching (USA)
3rd Daniel Kereopa (NZL)
4th Connor Baxter (HAW)
5th Mark Visser (AUS)
6th Caio Vaz (BRA)
7th Manoa Drollet (TAH)
8th Kala Alexander (HAW)

Source: The Ultimate Waterman