Lancing Big Air 2014
On Saturday 9th August fifty plus competitors gathered for the first inaugural Lancing Big Air Comp'. The premise was simple, three or four competitors in seven minute heats and he or she who jumps and lands the biggest jump within that seven minutes shall progress through to the next round. Three judges marked us and Lewis Crathern compered for the day.
A good breeze was building, so it was time to hit the water. Andrina Kelly (Best kites), Lara Pearce and I were scheduled in Heat 1 of the whole event, not too nerve wracking! Nerves certainly showed for the first few minutes of the heat, with all three of us getting up high in the air, but landing on our backsides! I remember thinking “Well if I just land a jump I'll be leading!”. So next jump I went a bit easier on sending the kite and made sure I got one landed jump under my belt. It was a tight heat, but Lara and I got the nod from the judges through to the final, which would be run at the end of the mens first round, plus quarter finals.
Next up the second women’s heat. Emily Thomas and Natasha Stipp were matching each other jump for jump, even throwing in a synchronised jump at one point, both looking stylish and in control. Annelies Simon was also going for it, an incredible effort considering it was only the second time in a year she had ridden since having her baby.
Next up the men. The KiTE, SURF & SUP Co. and Flexifoil sponsored rider Ben Archer, riding Flexifoil Hadlow ID kites and a Stryder Halo board was slightly unfortunate to meet former multiple British champion Kev Maguire (Best kites) and eventual second overall rider Rich De Silvo in the first mens heat of the whole event. Rich and Kev were putting in some huuuuuge boosted jumps and it was interesting to note Rich had chosen the Airush Lithium to ride, perhaps the plan shape making for a faster kite, better suited to boosting, than some of the more freestyle or C-shape orientated kites. It was an exceptionally high quality opening heat and Ben was narrowly edged out of the runnings. Being young and talented I'm sure he'll be back doing his stuff in another competition soon.
I believe there were twelve mens heats to get through, then four quarter finals, so I figured I had time to get warm and cosy in some dry clothes whilst waiting for the women’s final. I also took the opportunity to watch the men competing, which was awesome to watch and I can highly recommend it as a spectators event for next year! Sadly the wind started to drop as the afternoon wore on, which made for less than ideal boosting conditions by the time it was time for the women’s final. Even big kites couldn't really help as we struggled to stay upwind and you could see the sorry sight of us running upwind on the beach with our kites, as this was more effective than attempting to ride upwind. However Emily Thomas made the most of the dwindling wind to style out some nice jumps, followed by Natasha Stipp and Lara Pearce, with myself in fourth place, but pretty stoked to have made the final.
The mens final was a close run affair between Jezmondo 'Hangtime' Jones, Rich de Silvo and local Lancing Kitesurf Club rider Al Sellick, who'd knocked sponsored rider Ollie Sweeney out to make the final. Jez and Rich had been looking invincible all day and it was really between these two who would take top honours. The judges pipped for Jez, who rides RRD kites, and apparently kites by day and DJs by night, not a bad life style! Congratulations to him.
It was a really great day, big thanks to the fantastic organisation of Lancing Kitesurf Club, The British Kitesports Association, the judges, the safety support crew, including Mark 'Fingers' Rose who injured another finger in the call of duty, and Piers Fearick who didn't get to take photos all day as he would have preferred, the manufacturers that supported the event and demo day, the photographers: Eunice Bergin, Gary Levitt, Howard Kearley, Piers Fearick & Mike Guns and to Lewis Crathern for compering.
1st. Jezmondo 'Hangtime' Jones. RRD.
2nd. Rich De Silvo. Airush.
3rd. Al Sellick
1st. Emily Thomas. Cabrinha.
2nd. Lara Pearce. Naish.
3rd. Natasha Stipp. Best.
You can join the British Kitesports Association here: http://www.britishkitesports.org
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