Jan 22, 2013
Author: Eva and Jens Knof
The Punta Cana Kitefest 2013 proved once again to be one of the premier kiteboarding events in the Dominican Republic, offering favorable breezes, amazing atmosphere, and organization second to none. It took place over the weekend of January 19th and 20th, 2013 on the stunningly-beautiful Playa Blanca Beach in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and was sponsored by a host of strong commercial brands such as Redbull, Miller 64, and Jack Daniels Whisky, plus a host of local companies such as clothing brand ‘Life is Good’ and Punta Cana Kite Club. Over 50 competitors from 9 countries enjoyed elite competition at this 4th annual event, which featured a number of kite-propelled disciplines, such as course racing, freestyle and rail riding, before a crowd of hundreds of spectators. SBC Kiteboard's DR correspondent, Jens Knof, reports.
Competitors were greeted by windy conditions on Day One, resulting in a full day of kiteboarding action. The day began with the ‘Redbull Sun Slide’ event, which offered much entertainment and spectacle, as top competitors showed off their best tricks after launching from a slide or a kicker. Aaron Hadlow from UK, the 24-year old five-time World Kiteboarding Champion dominated the top spot, trailed by Hendrick Burgers from Aruba in second and Felix Martinez from Cabarete, DR, in third. Pro rider Susi Mai from Cabarete, DR the only female competitor in this discipline, secured a strong fourth position.
As for the Amateur Freestyle competition, Patrick Agussol from France fought off tough competition from fellow countrymen Jonathan Goldschmidt and Teddy Gery to claim his first win.
The Cabarete hotshots Alex Soto, Nico Suriel and Luis Alberto Cruz were superb in the visually entertaining Men’s Pro Freestyle Competition, as they dominated the event with world-class aerial acrobatics, securing first, second and third spots on the all-Dominican podium.
The breeze lightened up for the next event of the day, the Women’s Freestyle race, in which Susi Mai once again put in a performance of incredible consistency, beating out her competitors Hope Levin from Turks and Caicos and Katie Bowcutt from Cabarete, DR for second and third place. The women were challenged again in the Course Race, with Imma Leal Martin clearly dominating the event, setting a cracking pace on the first reach and claiming clear victory by a photo finish, followed by Lise Shippam from France and Hege from Cabarete, DR.
On Day Two, the Men’s Pro Course Racing Competition started out in squall conditions; but after just a few heats the wind dropped off and the organizers were forced to postpone the race. Several hours later the abandoned men’s heat was repeated, resulting in a final showdown between Alex Soto from Cabarete and Patrick Agussol from France, as they powered their way to first and second spots in light NE winds. Ben Meyer from USA crossed the finish line in third.
Attention then swung towards a fun Stand-up Paddle-board (SUP) Relay Race, in which the sensational 3-men team of Luis Alberto Cruz, Joselito Del Rosario and Felix Martinez from Cabarete showed off their winning paddle-boarding skills in front of a crowd of cheering spectators.
The weekend event was well attended by the locals and international visitors alike, with professional photographers, local media, and even a remote gyroscopic helicopter camera capturing the action. The awards ceremony brought the event to a close on Sunday afternoon, with Arron Hadlow summing the event up in these words: “The Punta Cana Kitefest was such a fun event; it was my first time here and I couldn't believe how perfect the location was for kiteboarding. The atmosphere was amazing and I really can't wait to come back next year!"
If you are looking to participate in a fun kiteboarding event in the Dominican Republic, put this one on your calendar for next year!