Powerful winds and enormous waves have been hitting Big Bay and finally, it appears like the "Red Bull King Of The Air" will have the settings it needs. The wind is over 30 knots, the waves are getting huge, and the contenders are eager for action. They have been patiently waiting since Wednesday for the competition to kick off once again!
After finishing the 1st round and several heats of Round 2 on Wednesday, Sunday’s finals will start off with Heat 9. This particular heat was delayed last Wednesday because of insufficient wind; obviously the moment the green flag was raised the contestants were eager to jump in the water! It was a sudden death round; a single rider will be flagged out after 9 minutes of the 15 heats, and the 2 contenders left will fight it out to get a place in round 3.
Round 2 began with Sam Light getting a few massive unhooked airs as well as mega loops. Marc Jacobs began with an enormous dangle pass and a few intense mega loops to get his first score on the board. Youri Zoon actually entered into the game a bit late but kicked of with a great mega loop straight away and jumped onto the scoreboard! At the end, the judges granted Heat 9 to Marc Jacobs. Heat 10 was given to Willem, flagging out Steven Akkersidjk. Oli Sweeney who pulled off a huge mega loop and got the opportunity to prove himself in the third round.
Round 3 includes 4 riders in every heat, one will get flagged out right after 9 minutes, 3 remain on however only 2 riders move through. In heat 11, Lasse Walker had taken the win launching off some humungous airs with huge mega loops while Andries Fourie, the local South African, placed 2nd, giving the crowd a great mega loop right on the inside. Heat 12 was truly one to watch. Tom Hebert together with his New Calidonian Style – “Keeping It Stlyish” comes up against local favourite Oswald Smith, Brazilian Reno Romeu and former champion and all round hangtime and board off expert Kevin Langeree. Oswald Smith kicked off with a few huge mega loops right in the beginning, however he’s is up against the technical assault of Kevin Langeree and his 10 metre kite. At the end the judges score it having Kevin Langeree in the first place while Reno sneaked into second place with a las tminute move.
Heat 13 was opened up by Lewis, who's recently been training hard especially for this event. There was clearly a close battle in between Nick Jacobsen and Aaron Hadlow as well as, however Aaron has the draw card of his well-known mega loop KGB that he can only do. It is a good thing as Nick Jacobsen’s moves are huge and stylish like his big one-footed mega loop. In the end, Lewis takes the sought after first place while Aaron in second place. This could have basically been a final. Heat 14 was a great fight between Jesse Richman, the hot favorite for this particular heat, however you can’t be certain when Marc Jacobs and Alex Pastor are in the water too. Let’s not underestimate the newbie to the event Gijs Wassenaar who had a fantastic heat on the first round to advance directly to Round 3! Heat 14 concluded having Jesse in the number one spot, Jacobs in 2nd and advancing towards the semi-finals with Gijs banished to the beach for the rest of the day.
Heat 15 was really a fight in between Lasse Walker, Aaron Hadlow, Kevin Langaree and Marc Jacobs. Kevin opened up early on having a solid kite loop and that landed extremely smoothly. Lasse takes action having a huge mega loop however Aaron Hadlow retorted with a massive stalled mega loop which happens to be the highest kite loop for that heat! Kevin Langeree took the heat, and Aaron just does enough to get into 2nd place. Lasse Walker had a huge crash and had to be saved by the rescue boat and taken to hospital to make sure he was ok. Everyone was wondering why Marc Jacobs was using a North Vegas during the heat, but it turned out that his kite burst right before his.
Heat 16 started with Jesse showed going for broke with having a massive triple back roll spanning a the entire distance of Big Bay while his kite helicoptered above his head, while Reno hits a massive kite loop and lands it ellegantly. A moment later, Lewis opts for a massive kite loop however lands a huge crash.
Lewis was in serious trouble, but luckily his fellow contestants came to his rescue. Andries Fourie played a big part, and actually ended up body dragging Lewis into the beach. Eventually the life gaurds made it to Lewis and got him on a stretcher to get him off the beach.
Lewis had to head to the hospital. The competition was then delayed for more than one hour while everyone waited for the ambulances to return so that a full safety contingent could be present on the beach. Once the heat started again, Jesse launched a massive double back roll, Reno opened up his efforts having an unbelievably high kite loop while Andries gets on the board having a high mega loop along with a tail grab. The outcome was that Jesse did enough to win the judges over, Reno advanced into the final while Andries had to accept third, and fifth overall once again.
With the wind still pumping, and several big wave kickers rolling into the bay the audience was going going insane! This is what everyone had been waiting for. 3 King Of The Air champions (Aaron Hadlow, Kevin Langeree and Jesse Richman) in the very same heat and a keen Brazilian (Reno Romeu) out to take some heads. The final battle was obviously a hard one to decide, Jesse made some great kite loop handle passes that would score well, Aaron used his trademark kite loop KGB, that nobody else has been able to do despite Mark Jacobs and Oswald trying, and Kevin as always busting huge.
Finally we had our results. Kevin received the Mystic Move Of The Event with his mega loop front roll 1 footer and 3rd palce. Aaron Hadlow once who is named the "2016 Red Bull King Of The Air winner" and defends his title and is the first person to win two titles or two in a row!
Results are as follows:
1st: Aaron Hadlow
2nd: Jesse Richman
3rd: Kevin Lanagree
4th: Reno Romeu