Reno´s insight view about Red Bull King of the Air!
Oozing style both on and off the water, Reno Romeu is North Kiteboarding’s Brazilian smooth operator. Residing in Rio De Janeiro he first started kiteboarding in 2002, progressing at lightning speed hitting the PKRA tour a few years later. Having cruised through the heats in last years event, he was invited to participate in the Red Bull King of the Air in Cape Town, South Africa for a second year running. Always looking to improve his performance on the water and push the boundaries of the sport we caught up Reno after the event.
How is it coming from the PKRA into a competition like the Red Bull King of the Air?
It's truly great! All year I’m travelling on the PKRA tour and there is a lot of pressure that comes with it. It’s refreshing to participate in an event where I feel so relaxed. The Red Bull King of the air is one of the best events around with such a great atmosphere, hype and extreme conditions. It’s great fun and I get a lot of enjoyment out of doing it with friends and other riders.
Do you rate this style of riding even though you are more technical?
I would say that the this event requires technical riding, just in another way. The PKRA requires a certain style and the tricks are very technical so you really have to be focused for the duration of the event, even when you are not in the water. The Red Bull King of the Air is more like a momentum. It is a competition but, you are just trying to go bigger then the other riders on the water. With all the adrenaline pumping through your body your mind set is different, it’s almost like you go a little crazy. You just have to go for it!
You chose to ride in boots for the competition. Why is that?
I actually tried riding straps in the first heat as I was afraid of hurting myself and compromising my year ahead on the PKRA, but it was awful. After only using boots for a longtime now I couldn’t ride as I wanted. I still made it through the heat but as soon as I got out of the water I put the straps to one side and grabbed my boots. In this event, you go big or you go home. There’s no doubt that with boots I have more control of the board, can ride faster, land harder and hold more pressure from the kite. All important factors for the King of the Air.
What was your set up for the event?
I rode the 10 meter and 8 meter Vegas with the back lines on the ‘wakestyle’ setting. My bar had 22m lines which was great for high jumps and aggressive kiteloops and I rode the 137cm Team Series with the NKB Banana Boots, of course.
How does this ‘hangtime’ set up differ from your usual wakestyle set up?
I didn’t actually change anything. I love to go big anyway, so often after a training session I go for a freeride and catch some big airs. The Vegas is a great kite for both styles, the key for this event is to take a bigger kite then normal and hit the water totally overpowered.
How do you prepare for an event such as this?
Drink a Red Bull. It gives you wings!
Do you think we will see a return of the ‘old school’ riding as there has been so much emphasis on ‘wakestyle’ over the past years?
I don’t think so. In my opinion, every activity you do, you look to improve the technical difficulty of it. It’s the natural progression of sport and I don’t see big air doing this. Big air is a show and I don’t think it can become something like a World Tour as its not really that technical or difficult, it’s extreme!
The US Episode
Welcome to China! By Mario Rodwald
Since I am on the NKB international team I´ve spent quite some time in Asia, but never in China though. This massive country and it´s “communism” always brought some mystery to my imagination and it was really nice to get an insight. On some of the webpages Hainan Island was announced as the Hawaii of China, but it must be more the south of the island. Anyhow Chinese people are truly great at organising and tried to help as much as possible. It seems that in their culture the official meetings and dinners are very important, but can also turn out very funny as alcohol is a must have at these ceremonies!
The first day the wind did not quite kick in but was enough to show the Chinese crowd some of our tricks. All of them were pretty stoked on kiting as they invented the kite 2000 years ago. Furthermore they took hundreds of pictures, just as you would imagine. One day later the wind picked up even more and the race director Eric decided to run the Slalom Worldcup. It is the first time since many years that the PKRA is running this kind of downwind race again. Powered on 14 meter kites and locked into boots, racing against four of your mates/competitors is really really good fun! A head start can give you quite a lead, however in some of the races I could overtake one or two riders. Also the turns at the buoy can decide about winning or loosing the whole race. Most of the time I sent the kite for a downloop some meters before the turn, so you just make it around the buoy without loosing any speed. My start in the final was not that great, so I was fourth at the starting line. On the first downwind I could overtake Ewan (AUS) and Victor (FRA) and finished second behind Kevin (NED).
The Freestyle Single Elimination took place in nice 14 meter weather and some quite choppy water, with some small kicker waves near the beach. I was quite happy with my heat for these conditions, landing an F-Mobe blind, switch Slim, Double S-bend blind but unfortunately I lost quite close against Alberto Rondina for two points. My teammate Stefan Spießberger went one round further and also lost in another close heat against Alberto. After one day without wind and many hours in the hotel´s hot tub, the wind slowly started building up again on Saturday. It was quite rainy and a bit chilly in my shorty, but I wanted to make it at least into the price money and pushed Eric a bit, by some freeride sessions on the 14. Due to the light wind I had to re-run two of my first heats, but made it to the ninth place where my teammate Ariel Corniel kicked me out - in the end he got 7th. Reno and Stefan had some really decent heats as well and both finished 9th. Stefan’s heat against Christophe was a thrilling one as both are really close in the overall ranking. Unfortunately Stefan was really unlucky and broke his board on his Mobe5 and Christophe passed to the next round. The wind didn´t stay all the way through the double elimination and Youri could take this one home without going again. Right now everyone is pumping the kites for the trials in New Caledonia. Can´t wait to shred the blue water in paradise!
Reno in Rio - part III
Reno: "After traveling all over the world I realized the best kiteboarding spot is actually a little over one hour away from my house. This spot is called Arubinha."
shot and edited by Andre Magarao