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Olly Bridge has taken out his third Red Bull Lighthouse to Leighton title, crossing the Indian Ocean from Rottnest Island to Leighton Beach in Fremantle in 21 minutes and 8 seconds in the race’s 10th year.
The three-time Men’s European Champion and seven-time Under 21 World Champion won the race in 2014 and 2017 and has won the title back from his brother Guy Bridge who continues to hold the race record of 18 minutes, 49 seconds for the 19km crossing.
The slower speed of the crossing in today’s race was reflected in the high winds of over 20 knots, making the ocean notably choppy for the 138 starters.Olly, aged 22, said it was one of the toughest Red Bull Lighthouse to Leighton races he’s competed in.
“It was the most amount of seaweed I’ve ever seen in the channel so it was about just jumping, getting seaweed off, but trying to go fast at the same time and not crash and it was nice and windy at least. Yeah, a good race,” he said.
21-year-old Jean de Falbaire from Mauritius came in 2nd fastest at 23:11 and the fastest West Australian competitor was Lincoln Sullivan in a time of 23:22.For Lincoln it was his sixth and most successful attempt.“It was a beautiful day! The conditions were right for the equipment I was using and, yeah, no complaints.“I had a custom-made slalom board and an inflatable kite. So, yeah, it was a bit different to the guys on the foils, today it was the right gear for the job.“I knew that one day it was going to work out, and it turns out today’s the day,” Lincoln said.Queensland’s Breiana Whitehead, a regular placegetter in World Championship kiting events, took the trophy for the fastest woman, crossing the line at Leighton Beach in North Fremantle at 28 minutes 7 seconds. It was the 19-year-old’s first attempt at the Red Bull Lighthouse to Leighton race and she did it with a sore ankle.“I hurt my ankle about a week ago so it’s a bit unstable but luckily I still managed to do the race. I’m pretty happy that I was out there, it was heaps of fun.”She said it was a different race to what she is used to.“It’s just completely different. Just doing one straight reach, I’ve never done that before as a race and it’s really cool just to try something new.
Current GKA Kitesurf World Tour World Champion Airton Cozzolino-Lopes, 25, from the northern African island of Cape Verde raced his first Red Bull Lighthouse to Leighton today.“The race was pretty fun,” he said. “It was my first time of doing it. It was a bit of a mission, was a bit tricky but it was fun. It was a lot of people and my first race like it.”
First, second and third place getters in each category shared a total A$7000 in prizemoney, plus a GoPro Hero7 Black for the winners.The race was originally scheduled for Saturday but organisers moved it to Sunday for improved weather conditions.The Red Bull Lighthouse to Leighton is made possible thanks to Red Bull, Mrs Macs Pies, GoPro and Action Sports WA. Generous community support is provided from Rottnest Island Authority, Fremantle Sailing Club, Kiteboarding Western Australia, Rottnest Express, Fremantle Ports and Royal Life Saving Society.
For full results, visit:
MENS OVERALL & MENS FOIL
1 Olly Bridge (Devon, UK) 21:08
2 Jean De Falbaire (Mauritius) 23:11
3 Lincoln Sullivan (Bicton, WA) 23:22
MENS TWIN TIP
1 Daniel Anderson (Coolbellup, WA) 25:33
2 Charlie Wise (Cottesloe, WA) 26:43
3 Jason Lewis (Safety Bay) 27:25
1 Breiana Whitehead (Townsville Qld) 28:07
2 Natalie Broughton (Palmyra, WA) 40:25
3 Claire May (Trigg, WA) 40:28
WOMEN’S TWIN TIP
1 Rachael Hughes (Shoalwater, WA) 32:09
2 Rebecca Bury (North Fremantle WA) 35:04
3 Megan Barnett (Devon, UK) 35:22
We love to have this logo back in the Family Skies and a superb opportunity for Tom who at age 18 has become part of the North Kiteboarding Group & Mystic International. Check the video
They say that competing is all about the taking part but this time 2019 Redbull Ragnarok was about finishing the 5 laps within the time limit of 5 hours.
The 250 competitors arrived on the Hardangervidda plateu for the start of this 150km snowkite race. 5 gates, 5 laps, 5 hours and it’s a physical and mental challenge with each decision being critical to your speed, performance and position. Olly started on the 15mtr VMG , Eric on the 15mtr and Steph 12mtr. Joining us from the youth Academy, Ben Daffin riding in his first snowkite event. The first 4 gates went well with Olly top 5 and Steph around 10th until the dreaded happened! Steph felt a drop in wind and was climbing higher to get the last of the breeze before it completely dropped out. The front of the fleet got ahead through the hole while Steph ended up walking up for 30 minutes however the wind then came in stronger from the lake so this cost alot of time and she got overtake by many kites.
A quick change for the 15mtr and Olly on the 18mtr while Eric hooked up the ozone Chrono 18mtr. We all had fire in our bellies and calories to burn, there was some catching up to do. Steph’s goal was just to finish and not actually bothered about the other competitors. Some good tactics upwind and downwind took Steph back on target time until the final beat to the finish with the wind dropping again. Steph climbed high and went around 3 mountains to keep the wind , sailing a far longer course but keeping moving forward and skating to get to the finish. The last 100mtrs Steph skated to the finish with no wind at all. Meanwhile 35 minutes later the yellow kite appeared from the same mountain. The main man Eric also made the great tactical decision and came out smelling of roses. Just missing the cut off time by 3 minutes, however still an incredible 16th position overall. Meanwhile, Olly had legs on fire having hung on to his 18m VMG with a set of race skis and totally maxed! An impressive time of 3hrs 40mins while Steph came in 4hrs 40mins and Eric 5hrs 18mins. Ben completed 3 laps and an impressive 32nd overall. The 2019 RedBull Ragnarok, another huge mental and physical challenge and a must for any snowkiters out there.
Check the action here
Check the full Bio & Video Here
CH: Hey Olly, thank you for taking your time, you joined the team two years ago, focusing on racing and help developing the VMG product line.
OB: It’s been a great experience, working closely together with the kite developers and see how my input was used helping to make great products like the VMG or SOUL and the upcoming gear.
CH: After the event in China last year, you are pushing the limits on our SOUL closed-cell foil kite and did an extreme jump over a sand spit. How did that radical change of disciplines happen?
OB: I’ve been nonstop training, traveling and racing for almost 6 years now. Last season the tension between the riders on the course hit a point, where I felt uncomfortable, the pressure was so high and we were shouting at each other, some questionable protest happened and some of us got so lucky, not ending up in a wheelchair or even worse. In short… I needed to take a break and do what it is all about, jumping as high as possible!
CH: The amount of stress on the course and especially at the starting line is probably the most underrated situation by the audience and young racers. For any athlete on the globe it’s hard to stay focused, fit and motivated for more than 6 years. I think it’s a good call to take a break and get back some freedom and enjoy other sports and the variety kiting offers.
OB: Exactly. I met Benni Boelli (FLYSURFER R&D) in Denmark, while he was on vacation and we went paragliding at the dunes and I fell in love with the sport. Now I am a proud owner of a skywalk ARAK wing, so when the wind blows, I’m out on the water, when the air is calm, I’m up in the air.
CH: Sounds convincing to me, saying in general, you like to be as much in the air as possible is this the reason you got addicted to foil kites?
OB: Definitely something both sports offer and I like to show what’s possible on foil kites. I tried my best to enter the KOTA event, to show everybody how massive the hangtime and insane kiteloops can be on my SOULs, frustrating that I couldn’t be there, but I am motivated for next year. My main competition focus remains on racing and I will attend all major events, like the World Championships. I need the thrill and see how the field adapts to be ready for the Olympics in 2024.CH: Can you explain me, why you prefer the SOUL over any other kite for your record attempts?
OB: Every kite has its purpose, for me the SOUL 10 on 20m lines is the perfect kite for boosting, such a solid and stable wing I can rely on. I don’t think there is any kite out there, on which you go above 24m from flat sections. I prefer the SOUL 8 on 17m lines to do the mega loops.
CH: Loops on foil kite have been there for ages, especially on snow and with upwind. You started to send them hard with technical rotations. I know it’s scary to do them mid air in free fall, how do you practice them?
OB: I practice my “Boogie Loops” and late back rolls on the STOKE prototypes, the new one is recovering very good, afterwards I transition to the SOUL and try them again. It’s also important to have a good board under your feet, especially when you land hard (laughs).
CH: FLYSURFER just won the “The Kite Mag – Best Freeride Board Award” with the RADICAL, but you prefer the RUSH, why is that?
OB: 140cm is my favorite size and I personally like more rocker than the RADICAL offers. The RUSH cuts very good through chop, which is important to hit the perfect timing before takeoff. In the end if you are landing hard (laughs again) a board with good flex helps a lot.
CH: Glad you haven’t been injured, thinking about danger, a lot of people struggle with the idea to use a small foil kite in strong wind, any tips or tricks?
OB: I had to get used to it, but now I am confident like launching the kite in light winds. While rigging, use a lot of sand on the wing so it doesn’t flap, make sure the mixer and bridles are sorted and launch it obviously on the wind window edge. For sure an educated helper is the best thing you can have, but I prefer to launch the kite alone.
CH: You did some gnarly things in autumn like the 200m jump over a sand spit and grabbing the European WOO record. How do you prepare for those record attempts and is there more to come?
OB: Be confident in yourself and the gear, study the weather forecast and hit the right time. That sandspit jump was in my head for years, sometimes you need to stay calm. There is much more to come, but my projects need more preparation time and a good support team. I am ready to send it