Lorenzo Casati leads the changing of the guard at Red Bull King of the Air!
Western Cape, South Africa (28 November 2022) – Italian teenager Lorenzo Casati overcame fellow countryman Andrea Principi and Dutchman Jamie Overbeek to hail in a new area in the most extreme Big Air kiteboarding contest in the world.
“Just to be here and compete at Red Bull King of the Air was a dream come true for me already, but to win was a bonus,” said the ecstatic 17-year-old, who ascended the throne (a traditional African mask) after 22 heats and over seven hours of intense competition. “There were some really tough heats so I’m just super happy, thank you to my sponsors and my dad who has believed in me since I started kitesurfing.”
Red Bull King of the Air has served as the single biggest driver of progression in the sport of Big Air kiteboarding and the 10th anniversary in South Africa was a celebration of how far the discipline has come over the past decade. Capped off by featuring three rookies in the final, the day was one for the record books with winds over 40 knots making it one of the windiest ever and, with the highest single move and heat scores being set and broken various times throughout the early rounds.
Riders were judged on the amplitude, variety, execution, and difficulty grade of their tricks as well as given an ‘overall impression’ score by the panel of independent and highly experienced judges.
“The judging criteria and system are unique to Red Bull King of The Air and don’t conform any to any other kitesurfing or kiteboarding leagues or organisations,” commented Sportive Director Sergio Cantagalli.
He explained that the system and criteria have been specifically developed over the years in keeping with the evolution of the sport and the event’s needs and will continue to do so.
Keeping with the event’s philosophy of progression, the 10th year saw the addition of the Porsche Golden Ticket. The new entry category was open to video entrants between the ages of 16 and 25 who had never competed in the contest before. This exciting opportunity saw three rookies, eventual finalist Jamie Overbeek, Cohan Van Dijk (who went all the way to the semi-finals), and Evan Kiljn selected from the Red Bull King of the Air video entry portal. Each of the three received an all-expenses paid trip to South Africa to compete in a special pre-event qualification round. Van Dijk won the round and qualified for the main event, but due to the last-minute withdrawal of Airton Cozzolino (who suffered an injury in training the previous day), Overbeek also got his chance.
The Dutch teenager grabbed the opportunity and showed his class, convincingly beating world champs and previous event champions on his way to the final, as did the various other rookies, including Casati.
“It is an exciting time for the sport,” Cantagalli said, referring to how the new generation is pushing the limits. “Casati was the most complete, extreme rider on the day and that is what we aim to award,” he said.
The Mystic Move of the day went to Liam Whaley for a Double Kite Loop Back Roll Board Off that scored a massive 9.94. It is the second year in a row Whaley has taken that title.