Cape Town is playing host to the highly anticipated Red Bull King of the Air competition this week as wind picked up on Blouberg Beach, giving the event its wings.
Cape Town, South Africa (05 December 2023) – Cape Town is beautiful in the summer but it also adds a touch of wind which for some can be too much however, not for the kite surfers and windsurfers that fly in from all over the world to experience the thrill of being launched into the air. Every year, hundreds of athletes arrive in the hope that the wind picks up so they can compete in the annual Red Bull King of the Air competition.
This week, things have been getting gusty which means the competition can begin. And begin it has. The event’s weather window spans from November 25 to December 10, requiring wind speeds of 25 knots or higher as well as a decent swell to kickstart the action.
The Red Bull King of the Air has been a pivotal event in the evolution of big air kiteboarding since its inception in Hawaii in the early 2000s. Moving to Cape Town in 2013, it has been the single biggest driver of progression in the sport, with riders continually pushing the boundaries of amplitude, variety, execution, and difficulty of trick.
Steve ‘Spike’ Pike, weather guru and founder of Wavescape.co.za, sheds light on the prevailing summer weather patterns. The South Atlantic High pressure system’s counter-clockwise flow forms the basis for the summer southeast trade wind, bringing warm, sunny days and consistent winds to Cape Town. This interplay between high and low atmospheric pressure shapes the ocean weather patterns, creating the ideal conditions for the southeast wind to strengthen, particularly in the afternoon.
The west coast section of Cape Town, from Milnerton to beyond Big Bay, aligns well with the southeast wind, allowing riders to utilize the wind parallel to the shore. This creates excellent wave-riding opportunities, with the consistent summer swell offering a stark contrast to the often flat summer seasons in European countries.
As the riders prepare to harness the power of the Cape Doctor, fans from around the world, especially from Germany and the Netherlands, flock to witness the thrilling spectacle, making Kite Beach a hub of international kitesurfing culture this summer.
This year local competitors include Jason van der Spuy, Luca Ceruti and Josh Emanuel. Good luck gents!