The US Episode
Tom and Craig compete in russian Rail Masters contest
Tom and Craig headed over to Russia this past week to check out the Blaga Locals Park and compete in the Rail Masters contest! With 8 features and perfect wind though out the trip the level was high and hammers were going down. Craig advanced through his first heat taking out Aaron Hadlow and the top two Russian locals! Tom busted out a win in his heat as well against a surprisingly strong crew of Russians! The semis slotted the two NKB riders against each other and they definitely raised the level of their riding. Craig slightly edged the others for the win but the wind was a little light and the heat was called for a re-run. This time Tom stepped it up and took the win with Craig right behind him cruising into the finals! The level of the Blaga Locals is really high and they managed to have 2 of the 6 riders in the finals knocking out big names looking for a spot on the podium. The finals saw Aaron Hadlow, Sam Light, Tom, Craig and local riders Artem Garashennko and Geno Kirilov! The level just continuously kept being raised due to the 20 minute jam format and bangers we're going down all over the park! In the end Aaron Hadlow managed to knock previous Rail Masters winner Sam Light into 2'nd with Tom following him in 3'rd and Craig closely behind in the 4'th spot. Looks like this event is about as legit as it gets and the scene is ridiculously strong with the Russians really doing something cool with this spot. On any given day you'll see hundreds of kites lining the Blaga strip and 15+ solid Russians throwing down in the park… watch out for riders coming up out of here and Rail Masters blowing up next year!
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Craig Cunningham - AWSI Kiteboarder of the year?
Congrats Colleen! - Overall Winner Triple-S 2013
The 2013 Triple S Invitational just wrapped up. This year saw some big changes at SSS. The new format was introduced changing the event from a brodown jam format to heats with a scoring system and a panel of judges. This turned up the pressure on the competitors, who now had to not only throw bangers but throw them consistently. In sliders the riders had two runs through the park, taking a score from your best hit on each feature. Tom and Craig rode together in heat #3, along with Aaron Hadlow, Andre Philipp, Rick Jensen, BCS, Chad Worrall, Davey Blair and Joby Cook. Only three riders would advance through and unfortunately Tom and Craig were just slightly edged out of the finals by Hadlow (5x World Champ), Chad Worrall (pro cable rider) and BCS (local legend).
Mens slicks was going to be another tough heat for Tom and Craig with some really strong riders in heat #3. 8 tricks, 4 get scored and only 3 people would be advancing into the finals. With some major tricks going down from everyone it was super close but Craig managed to make his way through and into the finals. Respect!
On the womens side of the event, it was total domination by North Kiteboarding rider Colleen Carroll! She was riding super strong and made it through to the finals in every discipline! And she didn't slow down their either! She's worked really hard the last few years and it's paid off with a full sweep of the Triple S podiums! 1'st place in sliders, slicks and surf! Way to go Colleen!
Some other big changes came about at Triple S this year! The new NKB rooftop slider and NKB shotgun rails are a staple of the park! North Kiteboarding is not only keen on growing the team with Colleen, Tom and Craig but also putting dollars into making sure there is world class features to push it on!