“A lot of Filipino kiteboarders are older and they came from the windcrafting discipline, so they like going really fast, ” said Paula Rosales, a 27-year old experienced kiteboarder who started immersing in the sport way back 2009. Kiteboarding or kitesurfing is an extreme sport where aspects of wakeboarding, snowboarding, windsurfing, surfing, paragliding, skateboarding, and gymnastics are all rolled into one.
This 2017, the sole wakestyle competition called Blue Palawan Open will be in its second year and will be held at the Blue Palawan Kite Park in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines. There are some tricks which are the judges’ favorites like doing the 720, which is two full rotations. More points are usually given for more spins. In Palawan, they have a kiteboarding school. What happens is that you enroll, learn the kiteboarding basics, then learn which specific discipline to focus on. “It’s not a race where anybody who crosses the line is the winner. Everybody brings their own style and execution which makes it more exciting,” said James Boulding of Cabrinha Kites.
The initial cost for one set of gear is pretty high. It’s usually around $2,000-$3,000 but compared to snowboarding, it’s not expensive to ride because you just invest on the kite and wind for your kite is a free energy. On the other hand, a snowboarder pays $100 per day to be able to ride. “It can take someone 4 hours to get on the board but for some it can take just a few days,” said Manuela Jungo, a professional kiteboarder from Switzerland.
Other activities from last year include ziplining, surfing, boat trips to different islands, and catered dinners at different restaurants. This year, there’s a plan of including tinikling and parao sailing in the extracurricular activities.
Palawan is an ideal venue for the tournament because it’s pretty shallow and there’s constant wind. “Normally, when you have wind and water, the wind causes the water to form waves. It’s rare to find flat water,” clarified Eric Rienstra, a professional kiteboarder from King’s Beach, California.
For more information about getting there, accommodation, non-kiting activities and more, please visit http://www.bluepalawanopen.com.