This summer, some of the world’s best kiteboarders will hit Canadian waters. Among them will be a group of young athletes racking up a list of firsts – first time away home and first time putting on a wetsuit.
KiteClash – which includes the Canadian Freestyle Kiteboarding Championships – has attracted some of the biggest names in the sport to the smooth water and steady wind in Squamish, B.C. This year the event runs from Friday, July 6 to Sunday, July 8.
“This year is shaping up to become one of the most exciting competitions we have had to date,” KiteClash founder Steve Tulk says. “With the backing of community developer Solterra, we’ve been able to up our game. We have athletes flying in from England, South Africa and Spain. It’s going to be huge.”
British pro kiter Lewis Crathern – who placed third in the world-renowned Redbull King of the Air – will return to the three-day event. He’ll be joined on the water with the reigning men’s Canadian Freestyle Champion Sam Medysky.
“There are a lot of up-and-comers in the Canadian kiting scene,” Medysky says, making note of last year’s runner up Prince Edward Island’s Lucas Arsenault and North Vancouver’s Jack Rieder, who recently competed in the prestigious Triple-S. “They are definitely going to put on a show. The International Open is guaranteed to be just as action packed.”
While Canadian athletes have been practicing in the country’s chilled waters, for a group of athletes from the Dominican Republic the experience will be very new. Kiting was introduced to the small windsurfing town of Cabarete in 1998. Kiter Richard Diaz started the only Dominican-owned school – Go Kite Cabarete – after becoming an instructor in 2011. He launched a program to help local youth access the sport.
“Strict immigration laws and limited education mean that sport is the only way that most of these kids will ever have to get out and see the world,” he notes, adding being exposed to competitions around the world opens up doors the youth never dreamed of.
The team will be among 70 competing kiters hitting the water. KiteClash kicks off on Friday, July 6, with the 6th annual Canadian Freestyle Championships followed by qualifying heats for the TwinTip Kiter Cross – a kiteboarding version of snowboarding’s boarder cross.
The action continues on Saturday with the international Open Freestyle Competition. Sunday wraps up events with the popular Big Air Style Competition and TwinTip Kiter Cross finals.
A free shuttle provided by AmeriCan Adventures, will run throughout the event several times per hour from Backcountry Brewery to the event location – the Squamish Spit.
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