KTA Tour

After a quite day three, which focused on fun/demo wakeboard sessions and riders clinics from Dimitri Maramenides newly of Epic kites and Maelstorm, the final day saw a complete change of wind again and this time it would be blasting!

Riders and spectators alike were treated to competition riding at its best with a wind speed average of 26-28kts throughout the day once it started to blow through. With the course racing already in the bag from the earlier days, the final day was able to concentrate and complete all its freestyle competitions.

So the day would see the first KTA Greater China comp for local riders, the KTA women’s freestyle and the completion of the double eliminator for the men.

All rounds had their great moments that produced screams and shouts of support from the Chinese crowds, most of who had never seen kiteboarding before. Great performances were put in by Zhoung Bin Xin, Lin Wen Liang and Zhang Huabao as they battled their way through the local event, with Bin Xin in the end taking the top place as China’s first freestyle winner.

Great performances also from the women were to follow and although there was not a high number of entries, it was good to see the girls put up a strong performance, with Hill Siu from Hong Kong taking the honours.

By the time the international men’s freestyle event hit the water to complete the second part of the double eliminator the wind was now at times gusting towards the mid 30kt area, although it settled down once more for the majority of the heats.

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Alex Caizergues

The winds on Wednesday went nuclear. Hennie, Basil, Sebastien, Alex, Charlotte, Christophe, Manu, Sophie and Tim all hit the water. Brave, because the wind was gusting to almost 55 knots.

Everyone experienced the biggest challenge for speed-sailing with a kiteboard: while almost no other watercraft can race in wind as strong as this, it brings its own limitations. Going really, really fast is easy (for a highly trained expert…). Crashing very hard is even easier.

The challenge is to make it down the whole 500m at peak speed. The wipe-outs today were spectacular.

Conditions on Wednesday were perfect to reach incredible speeds, though. All the competitors were feeling an electric sense of anticipation about the competition. They were all training hard – focusing on the best techniques for handling the very strong wind. Equipment is also better than last year, the shapes of the boards are different, and much improved.
Some quotable quotes and peak speeds:

Hennie Bredenkamp (58 knots): “electric, it’s my best speed ever!”
Alex Caizergues (59.5 knots)
Basil Cambanis (52.5): “I went maybe too late in the water”
Sebastien Cattelan (61.8 knots): “It was spectacular. We hope to push the limits further and maybe to break the outright record again. The dream gave me wings to run the event and motivated me to ride like never before.”
Sophie Routaboul (40 knots)
Charlotte Consorti (43 knots)

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Luderitz Speed Challenge

The first real training day of the 2009 Lüderitz Speed challenge began on Sunday, October 25th, for the riders who had already arrived, including: Felipe Johannpeter of Brazil; Basil Cambanis, Sjoukie Bredenkamp and Hennie Bredenkamp of South Africa, Peter Bjarke, Olsen of Denmark, Stefan Metzger of Namibia, as well as Sèbastien Cattelan, Sophie Routaboul, and Marc Antoine Martin of France.

With the wind blowing between 35 and 40 knots, the new competitors were busy discovering what makes this spot so special - and the fastest speed strip in world.

They got to know the tide, which can be really capricious in its effects on water depth, and became familiar with the run, learning how to ride it properly. Most of them were using new equipment: new kites to go faster than ever, and newly shaped boards to maximize performance.
All the competitors have the same aim: put all their skills and their equipment together to break a record.  Many of the riders are posting their GPS tracks regularly, so you can follow their performances online.

This year, the majority of the crew of kitesurfers are staying at the Krabbenehoft & Lampe guest house, which is a big, colonial-style house, of the 19th century style typical to Lüderitz.  For sure this place is going to see lots of celebrations here as the Lüderitz Speed Challenge unfolds.

So, it’s been a week of gaining knowledge - getting to know the riders, and getting to know the conditions of the course.  Every spot is unique with different angles, different wind and different depths of water.  Riders need to become familiar with all of these differences.

Today, Alex Caizergues (last year’s winner), Charlotte Consorti, Christophe Prin-Guenon, and Manu Taub of France will arrive, as well as Tim Turner of Australia.

Tomorrow should also be a great day to train.  Our official time keeper, Fabrice of France, has developed an efficient time keeping system that he is implementing at the strip on the second lagoon.  He will be doing tests today to ensure that the management crew is well prepared.

As we get close to the start of this exciting competition, a group of the world’s best speed sailors are steadily gathering in this remote town. Everyone will meet for the official opening ceremony, which will take place on Sunday, October 31 at 10:00 am,  in the Lüderitz town council chamber.

In attendance will be Namibian media, officials from key Namibian organizations that are supporting the event, as well as Her Worship, the mayor of Lüderitz, Emillia Amupewa, and senior councilors, who have been endlessly supportive of the event.