It was a 'day of days' at Kite Beach in Cape Town, with the world's finest big air kiteboard specialists pushing the limits. When the final siren went after 34 heats and some seven hours of competition Hawaiian Jesse Richman ascended to the top step. His second victory since first claiming the coveted African Mask 'crown' in 2013.
“This feels incredible!” He was characteristically ecstatic. “This is magical and it is amazing to have my new born daughter here and share it with this crowd,” he said.
Richman was runner up to three-time champ, Kevin Langeree in 2019 and learnt from that and other lesser podium visits. “I’ve had really good heats leading up to the finals in many years and usually kind of crack in the final, having peaked too early,” he added. Ironically it was Richman who halted the defending champ’s run in the quarter finals this year.
“So this year I adjusted a few things and was really confident in my plan and my strategy. It was really cool to see it play out.”
Sportive Director Sergio Cantagalli echoed Richman’s sentiments on the day. “We managed to score the perfect day. It was arguably the best day we were going to get during the weather window. It is very unusual that we could start so early on in the day and have consistent conditions throughout.”
While it was Richman’s second title, in keeping with the constant innovation of the event, it was a year of firsts at Red Bull King of the Air, featuring a new qualification and event format. Rounds 1 and 2 (which were made up of video entry winners, wildcards and the four ‘Fly to Red Bull King of the Air’ winners) were completed before lunch time. From there, the top six riders from the 2019 event joined the fray, seeded into Round 3, providing a spectacular day of action for the crowd who lined Kite Beach with the Cape Town’s iconic Table Mountain in the background.
Marc Jacobs (NZ) won the ‘Woo Highest Jump of the Day’, while ‘Mystic Move of the Day’ went to Nick Jacobsen (DEN) for a kite-loop board-off that scored a 9.02 out of a possible 10 in one of the earlier rounds.