Published: Friday, 14 October 2016

The final day of 2016 IKA Kiteboarding World Championships Pingtan Sept 21-25 in China saw a split of racers from their three coloured fleets into just two fleets (gold and silver), based on their combined results from racing the days previous. 

Chinas Jingle Chen Takes Kiteboarding World Championships Pingtan 1

(Photos: Alexandru Baranescu / IKA - Magaji, Chen, Jantawan)

The last day was the real test of all the competitors’ skills and determination, as previously it was possible that their direct competition had in fact been racing in a different fleet parallel to them. This had certainly been the case with Men's racers Yo and Julien Kerneur, who competed head to head, whilst in the Women’s fleet it would be yet another battle royal between Jingle Chen and Bibiana Magaji for the first place overall. 

Magaji managed to beat Chen to the line in the very first race of the day, Magaji was determined and it looked very possible that she could go all the way through the four heats and take Chen out for the overall first place. Chen, however, came back strong in the second race, showing Magaji that she wasn’t going to give up. After Chen took out the third race as well it was clear that Chen would be our overall Women’s TT Race champion this event. Magaji had the consolation of beating Chen to the line in the very last race of the day. Thai rider Jantawan was also heavily in the mix for all four races, taking out a solid third place just behind the top two women and securing a deserving third place overall. 

Chinas Jingle Chen Takes Kiteboarding World Championships Pingtan 2

Men’s Swedish racer Kappel managed to hold onto a very consistent of second place finishes, narrowly edging out Frenchman Lhotis, who had some very good results early on. Lhotis possibly could have taken Kappel out, had he kept his speed up, but it wasn’t to be as he faded in the final races of the day, the pair finishing up in third and fourth place overall respectively.

Men’s Thai racer Yo had a hard time during this event, injuring his ribs whilst competing in the big air. He was rushed off to hospital. Amazingly, Yo came back to the beach the next days, taping up his ribs with clear packing tape and competing in every race. Surely this must have hindered Yos racing speed a little but the Thai terminator somehow managed to continue pushing the eventual winner Kerneur hard until the very last race.

Chinas Jingle Chen Takes Kiteboarding World Championships Pingtan 3

Kerneur managed to take the first race of the day, with Yo coming back strong in the second at which point it still looked like it could be anyone’s game. In the third, Yo had what looked like a bit of bad luck with a boat blocking his fastest route to the finish line, making him change course slightly and possibly costing him the race. In the fourth, it looked like the pain might have got too much for Yo as he narrowly managed to hold on for a respectable third place finish, securing Thai racer Yo the second place overall for the TT race class. The Frenchman Kerneur once again used his excellent experience and gear choice to propel him to the front of the fleet, securing him the coveted first place finish overall.

The awards ceremony took place on the fifth floor of the riders hotel, where a massive banquet was organised for the competitors and guests. The Chinese riders were awarded their national rankings first, with the international IKA champions awarded their respective places in each discipline soon after. Good vibes filled the air as the competition commentator Willy played his eclectic selection of world music, everyone having a great time late into the night.

Chinas Jingle Chen Takes Kiteboarding World Championships Pingtan 4

The finals of the series will be held in Porto Pollo, Italy Oct 16-22. The kite-racing season is coming to an end with another finals event - the KiteFoil World Championship titles will be given away at The Pearl, Qatar Nov 15-19.