BIG AIR KITELEAGUE 2022 TOUR

BIG AIR KITE LEAGUE 2022 TOUR

Cedric Vandenschrik on beach at Full Power Kite event

For 2022, I decided to challenge my sanity and take on the role of tour Manager for the Big Air Kite League.

The tour is in its infancy and is still dealing with some of the issues one would expect from any such organisation, but one thing is for sure: It’s the best thing to have happened to Kiteboarding in a long time. 

I have always believed that the true soul of Kiteboarding is in the ability to send yourself into big jumps. No other sport can really do that, not in the controlled way kiters can.
So when Kiteboarding contests became driven by pure Freestyle (Which is more akin to Wakeboarding) and Racing (Which is closer to sailing) I was, to say the least, a little perplexed.

Then came Michael Macdonald who with incredible drive and enthusiasm decided to create the Big Air Kite League

It not only filled the void that existed for all upcoming big air kiters to compete and push each other, but it also created the spectacle that only the “king of the air” produced only once a year for a handful of riders. 

 

It’s for the riders!

It is with this in mind that the big air kite league was created.
All the people involved have a passion for riding big air kiteboarding style. Everyone has an understanding of how it works, what it takes and the respect the riders should receive for busting out those moves.

It’s a complicated process running a big air kite contest. It is risky! It is entirely reliant on the weather! It’s expensive and stressful. But when it all comes together it is quite a thing! 

Lords of Tram

After organising the Cape Town event, Michael had offered me to be tour manager for the next two stops. The first one was Lords of Tram.

Tristan Hattu, the local organiser had already contacted me to be Race Director at the event, so being used to jumping in the deep end, it is with two hats that I caught my delayed QATAR flight. 

First, by absolute chance I saw there was a problem with my flight and I had been re booked 2 days later than planned. That was followed by long discussions on the phone with Tristan… There was a massive forecast for the 1st day of the waiting period.

As a result of these coincidences, I traveled for 40 hours to reach the contest just in time. 

It was wildly windy, it was brutally cold, but what a great event! An amazing team on the ground and a great venue at BARCARES with an amazing welcome. Tristan and his team really did an amazing job! 

As race director, I had to deal with a contest with over 50 knots gust on the first day, and a fast disappearing wind on day two. But thanks to an amazing team of judges and head judge Philipos Tsamantanis we thundered through all the heats smoothly.  

One serious event! 

Full Power

Full Power Tarifa was a different event from my point of view. Not being Race Director, I was going in purely as BAKL tour manager. 

Once again encountered amazingly friendly people in the mecca of Kitesurfing that is Tarifa.
Ian Avera and Wladi Rodriguez were absolute champions in pulling this whole contest together. The venue lends itself to a spectacular show and the riders gave it their all. The images speak for themselves. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwWT8cOti58

 

TATAJUBA FEST

The next event is Tatajuba Fest in September. 

It will be my first visit to Brazil and I look forward to this next adventure! 

Running THE big air kite tour will continue to have challenges and push my stress levels a little higher than I would like, but on the other hand it’s an amazing experience to be at the forefront of kiteboarding. 

Rock on!

Italian exposure 22 years later

Italian Gazzetta article

Not many people know this, but my Kiteboarding experience (in the water) started in Italy. I was living in Rome at the time. Coming from my waveski days, I was desperate for some sporting activity in contact with the water. in 1999 Kiteboarding had just appeared and I was tempted. The cost kept me away, so I got close to it via a large foil kite to jump on the beach and get a taste. 

Kite Jumping on Land

From Beach jumping to the water

The kite was 5m Peel which at the time was a beast of a kite with handles and a really scary climbing harness with no release. After a few attempts with the harness, I realised that without a release, it was way too dangerous.
So it was with no harness and maybe a  backstrap that I proceeded. With time it got more adventurous with wilder conditions. After clocking a few 30m long jumps (around 6m in the air) on the beach, I decided to get in the water.  Somehow I managed with second hand stuff and building some bits myself. It was necessary before I did some permanent damage to my body.
And that is how I stepped into the world of Kiteboarding…

22 years later

22 years later I find myself as the Big Air Kite League Tour Director. I get approached by the Gazzetta dello Sport (Top Italian Sports Publication) for comments on the state of Kiteboarding today. Somewhat of a step up!  From the beaches of Fregene and Ostia jumping on my foil kite to comments on the state of Kiteboarding today! What a trip 

https://www.gazzetta.it/mare/storie/09-05-2022/kitesurf-big-air-voli-acqua-unica-disciplina-1652082951.

If you don’t speak Italian, you can just enjoy the images taken by Manu Borsato. 

Big air kiteleague – Cape Town 2021-2022

Big Air Kite League

Cedric Vandenschrik Headshot for Big Air Kite league

In October 2021, I started chatting with Michael Macdonald owner of Big Air Kite League (BAKL) about the event he wanted to organise in Cape Town  for the beginning of December. 

I had been following BAKL the whole of 2021 with interest. The concept of a contest concentrating on the big air discipline and the creation of a new platform for new up and coming riders to take part in was something, in my opinion, that had been missing in the fractured world of Kiteboarding.  With not much time to spare, I decided to jump in there and give Michael a hand to get this contest ready for the 6th of December.

The virus strikes

Once again the little virus, or rather the uninformed media panic that seems to follow it, struck and the contest had to be delayed. We had no choice. Flights were banned, and much uncertainty lay ahead with half of the permit requests process already done and the possibility of South Africa to be shutting down over the festive season. 

Resilience

But we kept our hopes up. Where there is hope there is life! After a few weeks, we decided to continue the permit application process with a window period running from the 17th of December to the 30th of January. 

Until now the forecast has not played along and as plagued us with much uncertainty, but we remain confident that the event will run before the end of the month. 

The venue is Dolphin beach and the contest will be run by some of the best people in the business with the best up and coming riders in the world.

Cedric Vandenschrik: Contest organiser
Olaf van Tol: Race director
Su Kay: Beach marshall
Dave Kay: Flags

 

So watch the BAKL website and social media network carefully over the next few days as the green light is coming soon!! 

Picture of Olaf van Tol, Dave Kay, Cedric Vandenschrik, Su Kay at dolphin beach cape Town with table mountain in the background
Picture of Olaf van Tol, Dave Kay, Cedric Vandenschrik, Su Kay

Cedric Vandenschrik Kiteboarding adventures