The Cape Doctor rolled into Kite Beach on Wednesday, 6th February, as Kevin Langeree (NED), champion in 2014 and 2018, became Red Bull King of the Air for the third time. The world’s top riders did not disappoint and treated the 9,000-plus spectators to the highest level of big air kiteboarding. Langeree’s final combination left the result without question, although Jesse Richman (USA) and Liam Whaley (ESP) put up a valiant fight.
“This feels amazing! I put so much time into training and getting ready for the contest and coming out on top is just magical as there was a lot of pressure on me as defending champ,” said Langeree. “Jesse and Liam were on fire and went big. I had to pull everything out of the bag. But yeah, I did it again… my third win. I couldn’t be happier!”
The action started on Thursday, 31st January, as near perfect wind and swell provided strong conditions for the world’s top kiteboarders to take to the skies. A major upset saw two-time winner Aaron Hadlow (UK) crash out in round two and unable to continue after a rib injury. South African hopefuls Joshua Emanuel and Ross-Dillon Player exited the competition in round 4.
Today, as day two of the action resumed, only six of the eighteen athletes remained – battling it out in the last two rounds of competition: Lasse Walker (NED), Liam Whaley, Jesse Richman, Nick Jacobsen (DEN), Aurelian Petreau (FRA) and Kevin Langeree.
“The action today was mind blowing,” said Head Judge, Alex Vliege. “You can see that this is the best big air event of the year – every single athlete has been training for this event and it shows in the combinations they’re executing. They’re innovating their tricks and combos year-on-year, evolving the sport.”
The Mystic ‘Most Extreme Move’ award went to Jesse Richman for his powered ‘kung fu 1080 handlepass’ on the first day and he took home the $1000 prize purse for the award.