Hawaiian big-wave kitesurfer Jesse Richman claims a spectacular second title in Cape Town. PHOTO: Supplied
Hawaiian big-wave kitesurfer Jesse Richman claims a spectacular second title in Cape Town. PHOTO: Supplied

Hawaiian big-wave kitesurfer claims spectacular Red Bull King of the Air title in Cape Town

Time of article published Feb 7, 2020

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CAPE TOWN - Hawaiian Big-wave kitesurfer and big-air kiteboarder Jesse Richman has out-classed past champions Nick Jacobsen of Denmark and the United Kingdom’s Aaron Hadlow to win his second Red Bull King of the Air title in a tightly-contested final.

“This feels incredible,” said the ecstatic Richman, who last won the event in 2013. “This is magical and it is amazing to have my newborn daughter here and share it with this crowd,” he said.

Richman was runner-up to three-time champ, Kevin Langeree in 2019 and learned 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.”

Richman ascended the throne after 34 heats and some seven hours of competition, in a day that saw consistent winds from early on and was the biggest single day of the competition ever. “To have it all run in one day was kinda like 2013, just one epic day,” said Richman.

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 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 the event, featuring a new qualification and event format. Rounds one and two, which were made up of video entry winners, wildcards and the four ‘Fly to Red Bull King of the Air’ winners were completed before lunchtime. 

From there, the top six riders from the 2019 event joined the fray, seeded into Round three, providing a spectacular day of action for the 10,000-strong crowd who lined Kite Beach with Cape Town’s iconic Table Mountain in the background.

Marc Jacobs of New Zealand won the ‘Woo Highest Jump of the Day’ (22m), while ‘Mystic Move of the Day’ went to Nick Jacobsen for a kite-loop board-off that scored a 9.02 out of a possible 10 in one of the earlier rounds. 

Cape Town Tourism chief executive, Enver Duminy said the city was proud to again welcome and host the world’s best for the event. 

African News Agency (ANA)

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