Wind up: RedBull King of the Air is Live
The Red Bull King of the Air is a favorite online feature for some of our editorial team. Today the 5th edition is going off. In the limelight is Ruben Lenten, who’s back from a long journey through cancer recovery and a British kitesurf rockstar Aaron Hadlow. With expected gusts of close to 30 knots and the most insane airtime of the year, this is RedBull King of the Air.
This is the fifth year that RedBull’s King of the Air competition goes off at Big Bay, South Africa with 18 of the top Big Air riders going head to head on a new “flag out” format. The 12 top ranked riders from 2016 compete alongside four video entrants and two wildcards. Each of the riders is assigned a coloured lycra vest, and when that colour flag is shown by judges, that rider is disqualified.
RedBull King of the Air all started in Ho’okipa on the Hawaiian islands of Maui in 2000. But it wasn’t all smooth sailing for Big Air Kitesurfing. The winds of change blew in favour of technical tricks, with equipment allowing riders to do quicker maneuvers closer to the waters.
It wasn’t until 2007 that riders like Ruben Lenten (The Netherlands) began to take things to the next level that the popularity in Big Air grew once more. Ruben started going out in storm-force winds, seeing just how high he could push himself. This gave rise to the never before seen ‘mega loop’ and the rebirth of King of the Air.
This year, Ruben returns with five other riders from The Netherlands. The UK’s Aaron Hadlow has his heart set on his third consecutive win, hoping 2017 will be his hattrick year. The swell is rising, winds are high, and this year’s edition of RedBull King of the Air is now live.
Ok, get to work now. Open that screen and enjoy: