The Triple S is the most iconic kiteboarding event on the calendar and once again the Duotone team riders were there in force. A week of action and progressive riding was coupled with nightlife and all-round good vibes at the legendary REAL Watersports, North Carolina.
Triple S original, TOM COURT, was there as part of the official REAL media team, capturing the behind the scenes action throughout the event.
Here’s what went down…..
What makes the Wind Voyager Triple S so Iconic?
For me it is because it is now one of the most longstanding events in the world, or ever!? I have personally been to it for eleven years and over its history it has defined a unique style of riding that has now become the Kite Park League. It is also the biggest kite competition in America and has been largely responsible for growing the US and European kiteboarding scene together over the years. This is a competition that has forged friendships, created rivalries, made movies and provided good times for all involved.
What makes people go back each year?
It is the good vibes, the mix of people and personalities and the energy that it gives to the sport. Every person that has ever been to this event, whether to compete or just to party — wants to come back due to the atmosphere that it has the ability to create. A meeting of minds from all over the globe, where the best, most talented and creative riders gather to push each other and share ideas on their riding, the direction of the sport and share time in the world’s best kiteboarding park at REAL Watersports.
What where you up to out there?
This year I was filming ‘behind the scenes’ content for REAL Watersports and representing the riders as they prepare for the competition, ride in the event and celebrate the wins and loses. After competing in the event for over a decade, I am one of the longest-standing ‘wakestyle’ pro’s that has been in the event and up there with a few names like Andre Philipp, Jason Slezak, Davey Blair and Aaron Hadlow. After recovering from my second ACL re-construction I wasn’t ready to compete again, so I wanted to bring something different and support to the event. I used my knowledge of all the riders to get the gritty behind the scenes interviews and natural filming that lets people from all around the world appreciate the unique vibe of the Wind Voyager Triple_S invitational.
Why do you think people like seeing what goes on behind the scenes?
For me it is often the most interesting part of an event, the people, the places and the dramas that unfolds as the pros go about their routines to get ready to compete. This has been the part that I have enjoyed being part of in my competition days, both on the world tours and at the KPL park events. All the people are unique with interesting perspectives on the world, so behind the scenes is an opportunity to show that to the people that can’t be there.
What about the progression in rail design?
Since the start this is one thing that has been in constant flux, with changes in construction, shape, use and size occurring each year; moving away from wooden fixed obstacles, to floating HDPE cable park style features. This year, 2019, we dropped in the Duotone Hot Box that had been delivered in a container from Asia. It’s the latest fun box to join what is now the worlds biggest kite-specific park in Cape Hatteras.
How has the level improved and what was being showcased this year?
The level of riding improves every year, last season we saw the first ever 900 flat rotation landed at this contest. This year, that is a staple trick for the top guys. Inverts and kicker move tricks are also developing, such as a Back Mobe 7 landed by Brandon Scheid and Moby Dick 5’s and 7s are becoming more common place when once they where considered un-landable. Progression is at the heart of this event and I think all the riders that attend are geared towards pushing the boundaries of themselves and the sport.
What were the judges looking for?
The judging criteria evolves to push the riders and this year they where looking for perfect execution. Sloppy landings, bad kite control and the infamous ‘Zeeching’ where penalised so the most technically perfect riders would shine through. Some years, technicality and progression is rewarded and others it’s about perfection!
How did the invited riders deliver?
As always they deliver with their attitudes and energy towards the sport, as well as their willingness to put their body on the line in the name of progression!
Can you give us a breakdown of the Duotone competitors and their riding styles?
The Duotone International team has a strong wakestyle representation. Over the years it has developed from the early days where it was just me pushing the development of the Gambler and a more ‘park style’ boards, to now where there are plenty of young and older shredders pushing the limits.
Noe Font, is young and hungry to win. He has become a benchmark in style across multiple disciplines.
Aaron Hadlow is good at every aspect of the sport. He lends his talents to some of the KPL events each season.
Craig Cunningham is a park specific rider who prides himself on perfect execution.
Colleen Carroll, for years has been the biggest US influence on women kiteboarding progression.
Zander Raith is new to the team. He brings his style from snowboarding into the kite park.
Artem Garhenkiso, representing Russia, is the Snow kite world champion and pushes park progression each season
The gear they used? VEGAS / DICE / Gambler / Hadlow TS
Over the years the VEGAS has been the go-to kite of choice for most competitors in the wakestyle scene. However, we are seeing a bit of shift towards the more versatile and bigger wind range of the Dice. This kite is so stable when hitting rails and its unique drifting ability makes control paramount. The Gambler is the board of choice, changing each year to reflect the latest trends. This year, we have upped the biggest size to 155cm, which coupled with the hard grind base, this board is the stick of choice.
Any up and coming riders to watch?
… All of them
Congratulations to all of our riders who competed in the event!