Canada’s new power couple Lucas Arsenault and Lauren Holman crowned champs!
By Rebecca Aldous
Prince Edward Island’s Lucas Arsenault and Ontario’s Lauren Holman showed everybody what it takes to be crowned Canada’s best at this year’s KiteClash.
Having had no wind for the first two days of the event, riders were itching to get on the water in last Sunday. Arsenault was up against the reigning Canadian champion Sam Medysky in a high-action heat. Arsenault had successfully stolen the national crown from Medysky once before in 2016.
West Vancouver’s Jack Rieder and Winnipeg’s Daniel Koenig also gave Arsenault a run for top place. But as KiteClash MC and British pro rider Lewis Crathern said, Arsenault unloaded his arsenal with high-flying tricks, like his smooth KGB5.
“The talent this year definitely took a step up again,” Arsenault said. “It seems like every year you have to come into the event with a few extra moves to be in the top rankings. Everyone is riding great.”
In the end, 18-year-old Rieder landed second place and Medysky snagged third. Both riders were in KiteClash having just finished competing in the Wind Voyager Triple-S Invitational in North Carolina.
Watching seven-time national champion Medysky hand the torch over to riders like Arsenault and Rieder was a highlight for KiteClash organizer Steve Tulk.
“I feel like I was watching a new chapter open in Lucas’s life,” Tulk noted.
All three kiters found themselves to the podium again after the Canadian Freestyle Championships. Arsenault rode into second place in the Open Freestyle Championship. The field was heated with Dominican Republic rider Luis Alberto Cruz throwing down some powerful Kite Loop 7s.
“Watching Luis do a kite loop double handle pass was unreal,” Tulk added. “The level of kiteboarding was amazing.”
Australian pro Ewan Jaspan answered to Alberto Cruz’s showdown with a few smooth grabbed KGB5s. The man from Down Under landed on top of the Open Championship Podium, while Rieder squeaked by Alberto Cruz to capture third place.
The Men’s Open was incredibly close – top four riders were separated by less than four points, KiteClash’s top judge Geoffrey Waterson said.
“The lighter wind played a part as the riders needed to time their tricks with the gusts, but some seriously impressive tricks were still thrown down,” he added.
Rieder also placed first in the Juniors Open Freestyle. Hood River’s Vetea Boersma landed a solid second place, followed by Ontario’s Shaymus Finlay.
Thirty-four competitors brought out their large kites as winds dipped to 18 knots for the Air Style showoff. Jaspan knocked reigning champ Seattle’s Philipp Schonger of the podium, taking first in the Men’s Air Style. Third place finisher at this year’s King of the Air came in second, completing the heat while on microphone and speaking to the crowd. Medysky snuck in a third place finish. Schonger had the highest jump in the light conditions, reaching 10.2 meters.
The women also put on an amazing performance in the Canadian Championship, despite the light conditions. Holman demonstrated why she’s Canada’s reigning number one with another solid final. The talent in the women’s pool helped push her to stick her tricks, Holman noted.
“It’s so inspiring to see all the ladies out on the water, motivating each other and progressing together,” she said. “The heats were close and the competition was super tight.”
London Ontario’s Sam Chilvers and Squamish’s Andrea Ross followed Holman to the podium. Both had solid rides, landing clean tricks, Waterson noted.
The Women’s Open Freestyle was packed with non-stop action. Holman was up against New Zealand rider Katie Potter, Dutch champion Annelous Lammerts and Chilvers. After a 10-minute final Lammerts’s point won her gold, with Potter claiming silver and Holman with bronze.
“It’s awesome to see the level shoot up every year,” Holman continued.
The women’s Air Style competition saw tricky conditions as winds dipped to 17 knots. However, Lammerts was able to put on a go show earning her another gold. Her top jump measured 7.8 meters. A tight competition unfolded between Holman and Calgary’s Marie-Eve Mayrand. The heights of their top three jumps ranged between 7 to 8 meters.
Canada’s got a new power couple, Tulk says in regards to Holman and Arsenault. His son Jordan placed third in the Canadian Freestyle Juniors. Finlay stood on the top podium and Nic Farrar was second in the final.
On the other end of the age spectrum, Albert’s Mark Koenig held his crown in the Open Freestyle Masters. He was followed by Claudio Barbura in second and Scott Degelman in third.
Thanks to the competitors, volunteers and spectators, the event ran incredible smoothly considering three days worth of action was packed into one day, he adds.
Looking ahead, Tulk hopes to expand KiteClash, involving more of the local community and growing the social aspect. This year Solterra Development Corporate jumped onboard as the main sponsor.
“I would love to see a big type concert event similar to the Triple-S and KiteClash working with other promoters,” he says. “That is were I see the real expansion.”
Canadian Freestyle – MEN
1 Lucas Arsenault
2 Jack Rieder
3 Sam Medysky
Canadian Freestyle – WOMEN
1 Lauren Holman
2 Sam Chilvers
3 Andrea Ross
Canadian Freestyle – JUNIOR
1 Shaymus Finlay
2 Nic Farrar
3 Jordan Tulk
Open Freestyle – MEN
1 Ewan Jaspan
2 Lucas Arsenault
3 Jack Rieder
Open Freestyle – WOMEN
1 Annalous Lammerts
2 Katie Potter
3 Lauren Holman
Open Freestyle – Masters
1 Mark Koenig
2 Claudio Barbura
3 Scott Degelman
Open Freestyle – Junior
1 Jack Rieder
2 Vetea Boersma
3 Shaymus Finlay
Big Airstyle – MEN
1 Ewan Jaspan
2 Lewis Crathern
3 Sam Medysky
Big AirStyle – Women
1 Annalous Lammerts
2 Lauren Holman
3 Marie-Eve Mayrand