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Stop 1 of the Philippine Kiteboarding Association (PKA): Lakawon

After three weeks Cuyo Island (ssst, secret training, I needed it, after the two months of not kiting in Holland – only participating the NK Big Air), time to make my way to Lakawon Island. Not without a reason: for the first stop of The Philippine Kiteboarding Association (PKA) Season 5, because that’s what this story is all about.

Lakawon Island
Photo Credit: Zander Servando

Getting there…..It only took me a trycicle, a boat, a trycicle, a boat, a taxi, another taxi, a bus, a trycicle, a local truck, a boat and a security guard (oke and a lot of other hands) to help me carrying my bags and reach my location  (don`t forget about how many times I had to tell what I was going to do and that I was not going to skate and no, I don`t need a porter…and yes, it’s a lot of luggage for a small girl)… easy! (thanks to the PKA – family who learned me how to travel the Philippines last year… just watch and learn)

Day 1 of the PKA was there for subscription and a welcoming evening. This day I arrived at Lakawon Island, a really small Island (or a big sandbar) with a history which the locals can tell you all about.  What impressed me the most was the kite flying on the other side of the island, but it seemed they were standing in the middle of the island, to mention how small this island is. Really nice to see all the Philippine competitors and non -Philippine competitors again and to meet all the new people. It almost feel like coming home. After the subscription, we got surprised with some wind, a great session until sunset.  Next was the welcoming evening on the other side of the island, kiteschool (westpoint), als a great kitespot (later more or ask the master of this island: Toti). Because of the tide the event was held on the other side of the island. From experience I can tell you the kitespot located at the kiteschool is way better!  So this evening, the new race format was pointed out, a lot of words and a little confusing, too late on the evening to understand.. luckily the hangtime and freestyle were still the same.

The wind-forecast was not looking really great for the rest of the days, but there was no internet for me anyway so … lets see what the days will bring.

Day 2 started with some waiting for decent wind to start the freestyle/hangtime and if the wind remains less, be ready for some racing. Turned out to racing after lunch and studying. I don`t know in how many knots but it was not that much. The race was supposed to be a downwind race. This means kiting upwind to the starting line, passing the starting line (in the right fleet, at the right moment, with the right flags) and a slalom of 4 (!) buoys downwind and a finish line (which was close to the beach). First a qualification round and then the final round of the different qualifications: or the winners final or the losers final. The track was a little hard to see with the sun but the hardest part today was to kite upwind and actually reach the start line and stay there until your start… (that is not even part of the race). So I pumped the 12m Bandit and there was some time left to untangle the 15m chrono. But I think… I am just not made for that (patient!), I tried my best but still when I launched it… Well, no time for that now, 12m it is and a long way upwind. I made it just in time for the start sequence, having a hard time staying upwind. Passing the start line, the wind dropped and I had to loop my kite already to keep on moving.. it actually felt like an upwind instead of downwind race, praying the whole way for the wind to not drop, pleaseeeeeeeeeee.

The good thing was that with a lot of wind I would never thought about downlooping my kite while turning around the buoy. Now I had to, in order to keep on moving. You can call it a miracle but I made it to the finish line as first one. Next will be the winners final for me. Still in mind the 15m lying on the beach, and I had to try it again… but not with any success. 12m it is again, this time it took a bit longer to get to that starting line, in between the 15m foil kites and 18m tube kites (and wind holes). I managed to stay upwind and the wind picked up just a little, just that little I needed to have a good start in front of the rest (suppose because the 12m was quicker than all the other big kites). The 12m was just enough with some effort to do the “down” wind race and stay in front, passing the finish line first again (miracles are still happening). Luckily back at the beach they announced it was done for today  . and that 15m …still on the beach..  maybe tomorrow.

Photo Credit: Zander Servando
Photo Credit: Zander Servando
Photo Credit: Zander Servando
Photo Credit: Zander Servando

Day 3 this day, since we already finished one elimination of the race, we were waiting for a little more wind for the hangtime and freestyle. It was a perfect day for studying and I could have better sticked to the studying this day. After a whole day of waiting and reading my books, we were going to start racing. Then I thought about that 15m … I might have to try it again in Dutch they say tree times is scheepsrecht (the third time it should be going right). With the wind dropping, I had to take the 15m. After setting up the Kite and asking second opinions everywhere… I actually launched it (a bit scared) and it was surprisingly working! Next step, now I need to downloop this big kite… there was some time to try it because now I will win some time staying upwind and getting back to the starting line.

Not sure if I liked the foil kite more, because its slower than a tube kite (or it might be my skills). So the starts where a little slow but the first race I won. The winner final.. is one to forget, to delete, the wind tended to be a bit stronger but after the start it dropped a bit. I saw the mark and I also saw a kite lying in the water close/before the last mark, after turning around the first mark, to the second mark (I thought the second mark-only mark I saw on the riding line), we were going downwind and we had to loop our kites…a little strange. Than we turned around the mark and there was only one left.. I just couldn`t figure out wat went wrong…after that I was totally lost, going back around the mark, but the wrong one.. than seeing the others pas and not understanding it.

Finally finishing but still confused what happened, well I and Jing riding second behind me, we missed the second mark… because the wind dropped a bit and we came out the first mark a little to much downwind, and I never looked upwind to find the second mark, only saw the last mark (and the marks are not that small…). Turns out we would get scored with full points and lose our first and second place. Well, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose learn. Fingers crossed for tomorrow (normally I would never wish for another racing day………). And that 15m… maybe I should have used the 12m 

Day 4 A skippersmeeting at 6 AM, because of good hope (experience of the last mornings). Well not this morning, no wind at all. After some waiting, a little breeze came up, next little thing was we need some water (low tide)… And well a bit of a different plan for the freestyle, big kites are for borrowing for everybody to compete in the freestyle competition. So even with less wind we could do the freestyle competition. This turned out well, actually the wind was picking up a bit. My first heat was against a good friend Jing (again), I discovered that it was really difficult the pop a trick with the chop. After this heat I advanced to the final, where I was planned to take the 10m but didn`t trust the wind and luckily took the 12m. Not the best heat ever and not the greatest tricks that I did , but at least some and enough to score all the tricks.

After the freestyle we went for Hangtime, unfortunately I didn`t take out the 15m because the wind picked up (and I never jumped with the 15m foilkite and a twintip). Just before my heat the wind dropped a lot. I could barely ride with my 12m. I did set out one jump of not even a second I suppose and went straight to the beach. If I tell people at home about this jump the wile never stop laughing… I had no other choice to borrow the kite that was in the air the 17m something (because the speakers told me to try again with a bigger kite since I had 2 attempts left). I took the kite and had still 1-2 minutes to make the most of the few knots of wind. I did realize jumping with a big kite was difficult, it’s like an elephant in the air… Struggling to land my last two jumps .. at least I had fun  after our heat .. I must say the wind picked up again.. thanks wind for letting me struggle out there.

But I got rewarded… more racing!!! Never was that happy to race again. A bit scared I launched the 15m again and it was up and running (no landing anymore  keep it flying for the rest of the day ). There was a bit more wind now, that made it a bit more fun, at least for me. The first qualifier I came in first, next up winners final. My start was not the best (still need to get used to the slower foil kite) so ending up behind Jing after the start, but when running into the first mark I got the change to overtake just around the corner, which made me first of this final. After this race we had another race, same story. And really happy to made up my mistake from the day before. Thanks to the wind!! It was a long day but definitely word it   And we got a nice tractor ride back to the rooms!

That night we had the prizegiving:

Couldn`t be happier with my first place in freestyle & a first place in race!!! 

Eeuhm and even a 4th place in hangtime (I already gave up on this).

Big congratz to the other winners and a big high five for the PKA and sponsors organizing another great tour stop. Fone, manera thanks for the winning gear 

I had a great time with everybody on the water, competing together at this beautiful island. See you at the next one!  Stay tuned for some more information about kiting at Lakawon Island, because I stayed some days extra………………………………….

First stop of the Philippine Kiteboarding Tour Lakawon
Photo Credit: Zander Servando
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