American kiteboarder Jesse Richman got the better of fellow former Red Bull King of the Air champions Nick Jacobsen and Aaron Hadlow to win for the second time after seven hours of intense competition at Kite Beach in Cape Town.
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The elite field headed to Blouberg in South Africa’s legislative capital city looking to use monster waves and wind to produce stunning tricks for the judges and fans.
The event featured a new format with Rounds 1 and 2 (video entry winners, wildcards and the four ‘Fly to Red Bull King of the Air’ winners) completed before lunch.
The top six from 2019 then joined the fray as seeded competitors in Round 3 for the 10,000-strong crowd with the iconic Table Mountain in the background.
Richman was runner-up to three-time champion Kevin Langeree last year and used that to fuel his later progress against Dane Jacobsen and Briton Hadlow.
The 27-year-old won after 34 heats and seven hours with consistent winds from early on in the biggest single day of Red Bull King of the Air competition ever.
The Hawaii native, who won back in 2013, said: “This feels incredible. This is magical. It is amazing to have my newborn daughter here and share it with this crowd. I’ve had really good heats leading up to the finals in many years and usually kind of crack in the final, having peaked too early. So this year I adjusted a few things and was really confident in my plan and my strategy. It was really cool to see it play out. To have it all run in one day was kind of just like 2013 – just one epic day.”
Sportive Director Sergio Cantagalli added: “We managed to score the perfect day. It was arguably the best day we were going to get during the weather window. It is very unusual that we could start so early on in the day and have consistent conditions throughout.”
New Zealand’s Marc Jacobs won the ‘Woo Highest Jump of the Day’ after soaring 22m into the air, while ‘Mystic Move of the Day’ went to Jacobsen for a kite-loop board-off that scored a 9.02 out of a possible 10.