Red Bull King of Air Qualifier
The Slick, Waves NC
August 15-17th, 2003
By Kirk Peterson
The Red Bull King of the Air Qualifier took place at The Slick, right behind REAL Kiteboarding’s Lesson Center in Waves, N.C. The location couldn’t have been better with nice spacious landing and launching areas, a crew of dedicated kite caddies at both locations, jetski support and full music and event mc to lead the show. The breeze arrived like clockwork with SW winds at 15 to 25 knots for the entire event. With sunny skies and warm temps, this was a contest that riders dream about attending!
Quite a few riders showed up from all over the country for the Red Bull Qualifier eager to ride at one of the best places in the world and get a chance to win a flight and accommodations to compete in the main Red Bull King of the Air event on Maui , Hawaii. To add further challenge to the field, the REAL kiteboarding crew set up their “Triple S” slider and newly constructed slider/ kicker known as the “Death Star” which got the all the riders including myself super stoked to ride!
Florida young guns Zack Kleppe, Damien Leroy, and the Foght Brothers stepped the level up right away by sticking a variety of handle pass mobe tricks. Slider standout Jason Slezak busted silky smooth s-bends and raleys off the new Death Star, while Big Ted Bautista was throwing down some sick monkey grabs. In his first contest, Sam Bell wowed the crowd with fully committed kite loops and a multitude of wake and slider tricks. The mens heats started in lighter conditions with kites in the 16-18m range and ended with men riding 10m kites fully juiced.
The woman’s field of 8 riders where stepping the level up as well with Morgan Skipperdene laying out huge kite loop 360’s, Kristy Moller doing some powerful s-bends and raleys, and Brittainy Wright busting some massively big 7’s. Another lady to keep your eye on is Julie Simsar from Charleston, SC, who consistently took some of the biggest airs and later took 1st place in the Big Air contest. Women started the comp with 14m kites and finished riding kites in the 6 and 8m sizes. Nice breeze!
Saturday night, REAL Kiteboarding hosted a huge party for the competitors and spectators on their back deck overlooking The Slick. Food, drinks, 10ft screen movies and dj’d music sent this outdoor party pumping into the Hatteras evening sky! At 10pm the party was silenced for the awards ceremony on the deck with Red Bull Podiums to crown the winners. Afterwards, Gregg Gnecco unveiled his latest video creation, a fully edited production of the entire event completed only hours earlier!
The strong SW winds continued on Sunday but the competitors were looking a little bit slower and less organized. Maybe it was Red Bull and vodkas that slowed them down? The riders organized a free ride session with a downwinder through “The Planet of the Apes” and “The Slick” with smoothest water I have ridden and not crowded at all. This was the sickest session I have had in a long time, no contests just riding with your friends, with tons of slicks and butter everywhere along the way.
Later that day we started a Big Air contest with the perfect wind conditions. All the men and woman sending huge airs, hanging forever, and making the crowd go off! After the Big Air, we headed to the “south side” of the island for sunset ocean downwinder. Here the wind was lighter but still totally steady, perfect for 16m kites. 8 miles of nice little bowly waves to smack all the way down the coast. This just showed me that this place has the best of both worlds. Smooth butter water and the endless waves with nice steady wind. It was totally worth the trip out here!
We would like to thank the sponsors that helped make this event go so smoothly. Red Bull for their vision and production efforts. REAL Kiteboarding for letting us use their location at The Slick, plus the help of their staff, skis and sliders during the event, Flexifoil and 12 for their generous contributions to the grab bags, Outer Beaches Realty for sponsoring all the food for the parties and Kinnakeet Corner Convenience Store for the cold beer.
Also, special thanks to the massive staff from Red Bull and REAL kiteboarding that flawlessly pulled this event off!
1st Place Damien LeRoy
2nd Place Dimitri Maramenides
3rd Place Ted Bautista
4th Place Ken Earley
Big Air : Dimitri Maramenides 6.1 seconds
1st Place Morgan Skipperdene
2nd Place Julie Simsar
3rd Place Kristy Moller
4th place Brittainy Wright
Big Air : Julie Simsar 4.7 seconds
Kirk Peterson made his first trip to Cape Hatteras, NC to compete in the Red Bull Event. Hailing from Santa Barbara, California, Kirk is sponsored by Flexifoil, 12 and Bolle.