Courtesy of Red Bull Media Service Team
South African kitesurfer comes out on top on a wild day in Zandvoort, Netherlands.
After a two-year
wait, wind and waves finally aligned to create perfect conditions for
extreme kitesurfing competition Red Bull Megaloop, with young South
African Ross-Dillon Player claiming the 2019 crown. Here is all you need to know:
– The event was only confirmed on Thursday, when the weekend weather forecasts predicted winds of over 40 knots would hit the Dutch coast at Zandvoort. This gave the invited field of 16 international kiteboarders just 48 hours to make their way to the venue.
– The 16 participating athletes this year came from France, South Africa, Poland, Denmark and the Netherlands.
Over 8,000 fans defied force-nine gale conditions to turn out to watch
the action from the beach at Zandvoort’s The Spot watersport club.
The competition format pits riders against each other in heats of four,
with each trying to perform the biggest tricks using the megaloop
– Judges award points based on height, distance, style and performance of the megaloops, so one perfect jump within the heat’s time limit could see a rider progress to the next round.
Conditions were initially difficult for the riders, with wave selection
key on the choppy waters, but we were soon seeing them boosting up to
15m vertically and 50m in distance.
Player laid down a strong early marker and held on to top spot
throughout what was an extremely close finale. He eventually finished
with a 7.90, just 0.3 points ahead of compatriot Smith. Walker’s 7.47
was enough to claim the final podium spot.
– Speaking after the event, a clearly emotional Player said: “Coming from the first round I thought I was going home, but after that I won every heat. That’s four heats. I can’t believe it, it just went so well.”