The KTA is coming to Town...sville
With a little over a week to go before the Nationals, excitement levels are going through the roof for what could be the biggest kiteboarding event Australia has ever seen.
Not only will the event host all the best freestylers in the country, but for the first time ever, the KTA (Kite Tour Asia) will be hosting a leg of their kite board racing tour in Australia. The racing scene has exploded since kiteboarding was accepted into the 2016 Rio Olympics earlier this month, and will most likely outnumber the freestyle competitors 2:1.
The KTA is a well established world tour, first starting out as a freestyle only event like all the rest of the tours, it now encompasses freestyle, wave riding and racing. With most competitors opting for course boards instead of twin tips, it begs the question whether the freestyle discipline is dwindling.
For years, the average punter has commented that high end kiteboarding freestyle isn't very entertaining to watch. Elite level tricks were scored based on the number of rotations a rider performed, rewarding unstylish and awkward looking tricks over smooth or higher tricks. For the crowds and the uninitiated these tricks got boring after a while, as nobody could tell the difference between them all. Racing, on the other hand is far more exciting for the crowds. Kiteboarders can race close to shore, and there's always action going on that the average punter can understand. Start lines are tense, close and there's usually some carnage. Buoy roundings spread the field and faster kiters can easily be seen overtaking the slower riders on the reaching legs. It's racing at it's best, and rivals the likes of F1 racing in terms of viewer satisfaction.
So with such a huge event coming our way - why Townsville as a location? Some say it's due to the wind being strongest at this time of year. Others say nobody but Marvin Baumeister could manage an event this huge, and he's proven himself with last years nationals at Alva beach, and various other big events in the past. Either way, as of now there's kiteboarders flying into the little aussie town of Townsville to begin training, and late next week it's going to be buzzing with hundred of kiteboarders from all over the world.
Stay tuned for updates on the event through next week, we'l bring them to you as they happen.