Langeree lands first Red Bull King of the Air hat-trick

Courtesy of Red Bull Media Service Team

Dutchman delights 9,000 fans in South Africa with stellar kiteboarding tricks.

Kevin Langeree rotated brilliantly through the air in high winds on Wednesday in South Africa to become the first person to win kiteboarding spectacular Red Bull King of the Air three times. Here is all you need to know:

– This year’s action started on January 31 with two-time winner Aaron Hadlow (UK) crashing out in round two with a rib injury, while South Africans Joshua Emanuel and Ross-Dillon Player also exited in round four.

– The famous ‘Cape Doctor’ wind then rolled into Cape Town’s Kite Beach on February 6 to hand the world’s best kiteboarders the chance to unleash big air tricks.

– Only six remained out of 18 for the last two rounds with Dutchman Langeree drawing on his two titles in 2014 and 2018 to triumph – thanks to breathtaking rotations in ferocious high winds – with American Jesse Richman second and Spain’s Liam Whaley third.

– Langeree, 30, said: “This feels amazing! I put so much time into training and coming out on top is just magical as there was a lot of pressure on me as defending champ. Jesse and Liam were on fire and went big. I had to pull everything out of the bag. I couldn’t be happier!”

– Head judge Alex Vliege added: “The action was mind blowing. You can see this is the best big air event of the year – it shows in the combinations. They’re innovating tricks and combos year-on-year, evolving the sport.”

– The Mystic ‘Most Extreme Move’ award went to 2013 champion Richman for his powered ‘kung fu 1080 handlepass’ on the first day and he took home $1000.

Red Bull King of the Air fact file

– The very first Red Bull King of the Air ran at the hallowed windsurfing spot, Ho’okipa, on the Hawaiian islands of Maui in 2000 with the event evolving into how high and far competitors could go in storm force winds.

– Riders like Ruben Lenten began throwing ‘mega loops’ up to 40 feet high, which saw the event move to Cape Town in 2013 where it has stayed ever since.

– Crowds up to 13,000 pack the shoreline to see riders hit speeds of around 30 knots, often aided by a south-easterly wind known as the ‘Cape Doctor’.

– Judges look at Extreme Big Air and Overall Impression with height (70%) favoured over extremity (30%) and the three best tricks of a run counted.

– A fourth unique score for overall impression is determined by considering technical difficulty, style, variety, execution, risk, show and innovation.

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