KTA China: have you got a pair of binoculars

From typhoon days to classic kitesurfing conditions, the Baijin KTA China was an enormous success. There were 81 competitors from 17 countries fighting for the best places in the podium.

The Chinese organization was brilliant and the chosen location couldn't be better, after all the floods that affected the region. Wenchang is the perfect spot. Long wide sandy beaches, a large flat water bay protected by a reef around 2km out to sea, wind all year round and the 5-star Baijin Holiday Hotel.

In the first day of competition there were 1000 spectators on the beach.

With the TT and race board classes together, both the men’s and women’s fleets raced at the same time. The current Asian and KTA tour champions Yo, Hill Siu and Kathrin Borgwardt were again to show that they were still on top of their game, but new faces also emerged into the top slots throughout the afternoon – Aya Oshima from Japan and Dennis Wong out of Hong Kong both making an impression in the TT class and showing the shape of things to come.

Day two opened with better wind so attention was turned to the men’s freestyle which began well, but a change in wind direction was to turn the heats into a rider and judge’s nightmare. After the successful opening heats we reached a point where Francios Bacquet and William Bourget must have thought they were in ‘Groundhog Day’ as three times their heat began and was then abandoned. Happily for them the head judge and race officer decided enough was enough and after a short break moved back into racing, which ended with a mass two-leg downwind race as the days wind finally dropped out – quite a spectacle was seen with 60 riders setting off from either the beach or the water, a start we know that our race team will not be forgetting quickly. Still in the end with all riders home safely the KTA headed into Wenchang town for a taste of the local nightlife and party magic, this all fired into action along with one of our tour sponsors, Maelstrom.

Into day three and the conditions finally allowed Francois and William to complete their heat that saw William coming out in front. Things then progressed smoothly as faces from past KTA events and new kids on the block fought it out in some spectacular rounds of freestyle as we moved towards the single eliminator finals. Yo (Narapichit Pudla - current Asian champion) this time struggling from injury, was to still battle it through to the finals against Nobile team rider Mike Blomvall. Hiro Nakano the 16 year old champion from Japan was also showing well as was Kin Nguyen ngoc from Vietnam. In the end Mike was to prove just a bit too experienced for the Asian riders and took himself into first place. In a smaller women’s field, Marielle Van De Riet from Holland, Nao Degawa and Aya Oshima from Japan gave the current KTA champion Kathrin Borgwardt a hard run through to the finals. However this time it was to be Aya who pushed Kathrin into an unusual second place.

With the freestylers resting, the race fleets took back to the water again in the mid-afternoon to also enjoy the stronger wind conditions and gave the local crowds new to the art of kiteboarding and for the judges some of the best racing action of the week.

Hopes were high then as we headed into the fourth and final day of competition to complete the freestyle double eliminators at the Baijin KTA China, but as you might know, when it comes to the wind gods, the best forecast for the week turned out in reality to be the worst. There was however enough in the end for some further racing to take place which thankfully brought the competition to its close in the way that it always should, out on the water.

The results were then read and the winning riders brought to the stage to receive flowers, trophies and a great deal of clapping, giving the KTA a very official and different finish to an event.

The KTA Tour now heads to Vietnam.