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Maelstorm Rider on the Podium At The KTA(Thailand) 2012

Asia has crowned its new Asian Kiteboard Champions and KTA Thailand tour stop winners and amongst them Maelstorm team rider Rebecka Maudal, who was to take second overall in the Course Race TT Class for the event.
It was an action packed week at the Kite Zone KTA Thailand combing a KTA tour stop that featured the Asian Freestyle Finals and the Asian Course Race Championships along with its normal tour round event winners.
The competition got underway in classic conditions that gave both racers and freestylers the best of events at Pak Nam Pran Beach in Thailand. In this combined Championship event there would be a lot at stake for a lot of the riders and certainly as the battles unfolded and positions swapped and changed during the week no one was disappointed.  A total of 69 riders from 24 countries had entered the KTA Thailand underlining that the KTA’s international appeal continues to grow.
The wind throughout the event was fairly consistent with each day starting to build in the late morning allowing the race boards to kick off proceedings before noon. Then as the wind filled in with the daily thermal the event would switch to TT racing and then finally over to the freestylers. Only the first and last days would break this pattern with day one being the extra day added at this event for the Asian Course Race Championships and the last only producing an between of 12-14kts in the afternoon due to an overnight storm. It was enough wind however though to give the RB Class perhaps fittingly the final outing of the event  (overall race tally of 20 races between the TT and RB) but unfortunately just not enough to finish the freestyle double elimination finals which had been left poised from the day before.
In the Open Course Race RB class it was to be front end scrap between  Bjon Jenson and Salih Cakir along with Thailand’s Yo Narapichit Pudla and another emerging Thai rider for the first time in the thick of things, Kookiat Sakulfaeng.  The men’s RB Class throughout was a hard fought affair with riders from Japan, China, Philippines and Hong Kong all putting in good performances, but the fiercest competition decided the two top slots with Bjon and Salih, who were to finished in the end in that order.
For girls RB Class the KTA Tour Race Champion Kathrin Borgwardt held onto the top slot but was being pushed hard by the two Swiss riders, Rachel Hollinger and Astrid Berz, but her biggest rival would be another of Thailand new racing prospects Fon Banyapa Jantawan, who in her first international event was showing great potential taking two wins over Kathrin during the week. In the end though Kathrin’s race experience showed through and she maintains her dominance in women’s course racing in Asia. For the Swiss attack it would be Rachel who would edge ahead of her team mate to take up the third medal position.
The finals of the Asian Freestyle Tour gave the event three days of high quality competition as the mid-afternoon winds cranked up and the flat water lagoons appeared along the beach front in the falling tides, you really cannot ask for more except perhaps just one more hour of strong enough wind on that final day to complete the doubles, but that’s wind sports for you, you go with what you given.
Freestyle in the KTA this season has attracted a lot more visiting riders than before and Thailand was no exception with riders from the UK, Poland, Germany, Holland and France in the mix. After the completion of the single eliminators first place was held by Poland’s Marek Rowinski, Japan’s Hiro Nakano was in second and that Yo Narapichit Pudla in there once again in Third. This was as we now know to turn out to be the overall results for the competition, but not before we saw some great fight backs in the section of the double eliminations that was completed.
For the women Kristin Oja took the top place in another well fought single elimination round, it was very close indeed though with Kiwi rider Su Kay in the finals. Kristin’s more powerful moves kept her ahead, but it was very good for us all to see Su back in action over in Thailand after her knee blow out at the KTA last month in Vietnam - the wonders of hi-tech braces what would the sport do without them. Aussie Ali Dudfield found herself once again in third, though due to the doubles she did share this time with Holland’s Nanette van der Snoek. 
It was another good registration for the TT Class which remains a firm favourite at KTA events. TT is now in its third season so well as attracting new riders into the sport it also has a very seasoned crew who concentrate on TT racing only and the standards and competiveness equals that of the RB riders.  In the men’s division Canada’s Max Rice created early controversy riding the Flysurfer dagger board which gave an added advantage to the upwind leg of the course. It’s not something that we have seen in KTA before, the board is TT for sure but not standard. So following protests and discussions with the riders, Max sportingly agreed to ride without the dagger board and showed that even without this added extra he could maintain the top slot. Up there with Max though was yet another of Thailand’s  good racers Suhaimee Modhammadksem, who was to gather the points to take him into second with Jay Otis out of the Philippines close in there as well taking in 3rd. For the women’s TT we saw complete European rider dominance with Michalina Laskoska from Poland winning each race outright and dropping only one race in which she did not go out, to save herself for her freestyle event. Michalina was racing so powerfully that she often led the whole fleet. Current TT Champion and Maelstorm rider Rebecka Maudal came through into second place keeping Ingrid Van der Heyden back in third.
Behind the scenes for all of this was KTA Competition Director Stephan Hertig, who along with his freestyle judging team was for the Championship event joined by two International ISAF Race Officers Simon James and Andy Curnow. For both these guys it was their first full kiteboard competition, so something new to add to their many years of sailing experience and for the KTA a great opportunity to learn from them. 
KTA Thailand Tour Stop Results
Course Race RB Class
Men’s Women’s
1. Bjorn Jensen (Den) (Cabrinha) Kathrin Borgwardt (Ger) (Cabrinha)
2. Salih Cakir (Tur) (Cabrinha) Fon Benyapa Jantawan(Tha) (Cabrinha)
3. Yo Narapichit Pudla (Tha) (Ozone/Underground) Rachel Hollinger (Sui) (North/Flysurfer)
Course Race TT Class
Men’s Women’s
1. Max Rice (Can) (Flysurfer) Michalina Laskoska (Pol) (Ozone)
2. Suhaimee Modhammadksem (Tha) (Slingshot) Rebecka Maudal (Nor) (Maelstorm/Cabrinha)
3. Jay Otiz (Phl) (Best) Ingrid Van der Heyden (Bel)(Airush) 
Men’s Women’s
1. Marek Rowinski (Pol) (Flexifoil) Kristin Oja (Est) (North)
2. Hiro Nakano (Jpn) (Naish) Su Kay (Rsa)(Cabrinha)
3. Yo Narapichit Pudla (Tha) (Ozone/Underground) Ali Dudfield (Aus) (Slingshot)
  Jonathan Bleiker (Eng) (Flexifoil) Nanette van der Snoek (Ned) (North)
Asian Course Race Champions – RB Class
Men’s Women’s
1. Yo Narapichit Pudla (Tha) (Underground/Ozone) Aya Oshima (Jpn) (Naish)
2. Kookiat Sakulfaeng (Tha) (Slingshot) Fon Benyapa Jantawan(Tha) (Cabrinha)
3. Chanon Phrakaew (Tha) (Slingshot) Liezl Tio (Phl) (North/Valhalla)
Asian Freestyle Champions 
Men’s Women’s
1. Ken Nacor (Phl) (Cabrinha) Aya Oshima (Jpn) (Naish)
2. Yo Narapichit Pudla (Tha) (Ozone/Underground) Paula Rosales (Phl) (Cabrinha/Liquid Force)
3. Long Nguyen Duc (Vie) (Kinn) Dorothy Serrano (Phl) (North)
For all the full event and Championship results, video’s and photo’s visit - 
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