King of the air
big bay, blouberg
21st Jan - 5th Feb 2017
Red Bull King of The Air is the most prestigious big-air kiteboarding contest in the world. The event sees Cape Town’s Big Bay play host to an elite selection (invited and through a rigorous entry process) of the world’s best kiteboarders as they go head-to-head in a unique ‘flag out’ competition format. The competition has a two-week weather window, within which riders face-off only once conditions are perfect – a consistent south-easterly wind of over 30-knots and enough swell running from which to boost their mind-bending aerial manoeuvres. Their challenge – to master the elements and rule the sky, with the ultimate goal of being crowned king of the air.
The field for this fifth year of Red Bull King of the Air in Cape Town features the most established and experienced big air, big wind kiteboarding specialists. They will line up alongside several wildcard riders making their debut, but all 18 riders have their dedication to this very specific style of extreme kiteboarding in common.
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. For five years Red Bull King Of The Air staged the biggest one-off annual event at a phenomenal spot. After an eight year hiatus which saw massive developments in kite technology, 2012 saw the 'Red Bull Len10 Megaloop Challenge' take place at Big Bay in association with Ruben Lenten. It was the predecessor to the relaunch of Red Bull King of the Air, which has run at Big Bay since 2013.
The 2017 event will also see a new ‘compact’ format.
This will see all 12 top ranked from the previous edition along with the best four video contest entrants, as well as two wildcards. These will compete in a “FLAG-OUT” format schedule of heats – All riders will have different coloured lycra vest on when they hit the water. Each rider/colour is related to the same colour flag. As a rider gets flagged-out, that colour flag will come down.
What to expect
The best kiteboarders in the world pushing the limits of altitude and flight distance in high winds. Big Bay beach, with Eden On The Bay constructed craftily around it, forms the perfect amphitheater to witness the most extreme kiteboarding competition. Then there’s iconic Table Mountain as the backdrop…even if watching guys with kites fly impossibly high is not your thing, it’s an idyllic place to spend the afternoon.
- To get to the venue, head north by west out of Cape Town on Otto du Plessis and follow the signs to Blouberg/Big Bay
- Parking is extremely limited. Share lifts or take the MyCiti Bus
- Take the MyCiti bus all the way to Big Bay.
- Arrive early as space is limited on the Grand Stand.
- Bring sunscreen, a hat and warm gear as the chills can set in with the wind toward sunset.
- Expect to leave in the dark.
Stay tuned to @RedBullZA for the latest updates. We'll keep you updated on the date and possible start time, but it will run until sunset, so come out after work if it happens on a weekday.