Cape Town - BAKL 3rd edition


Words & photos by Kyle Cabano
Well done to Ross Dillon-Player for taking the win at the 3rd edition of BAKL held in Cape Town last week, the 25th of February. The finals took place in 45 knot SE conditions paired with an unfortunately small swell, making the take-offs tricky and the landings even harder. It was an incredible day on the beach and all of the riders put on memorable performances. A special mention goes out to our event sponsors and group of volunteers who pulled together to make this event such a success.

The day started nice and early with the team riders and crew all gathering at 10h00 for the riders registration and briefing for the day. At this point of the morning the wind was already nuking! It was amazing to have the riders together again and frothing to compete, the energy of the crowd was high. What a tone to set the day!

The event entry system required riders to enter via an online video submission. All of the 18 available entries in the Pro division were quickly filled up. We also received entries from some of the younger talent and we were able to create a Semi-pro division for these riders to compete in. It is amazing to have a platform that allows for up-and-coming riders to compete alongside legacy riders and previous world champions.

With the first heats of the day set to kick off at 12h00, the riders got started setting up their kites for the day of competition ahead. The consensus among the competitors was between 5 to 9m kites, with the younger riders rigging their smallest piece while some of the Pro riders went big looking to ride powered and go massive! First up for the day were the Semi-pro riders. This division is SUPER important as it gets the young riders exposure to competing. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a contest strategy!


Learning to fall is as important as learning to fly, and to confirm this you can ask the young Nick Faure who took a massive wipeout while going for a backroll kiteloop in the opening heat of the day. Nick took the title of the Biggest Crash of the contest. Luckily he did not sustain any injuries. Get well soon bro! 

 You can view the full event heat ladders below:

Pro Division

Semi-pro Division

As the day proceeded the Pro riders had their turn in the round 1 heats. By this point in the afternoon the wind was around 30 knots and growing!  Winning your first heat would mean jumping straight into Semi-finals, while the 2nd and 3rd place riders would need to work their way through rounds 2 and 3. 

 The competitors all rode like gladiators in the nuking Cape Doctor conditions. A big surprise to the event was when Janek Grzegorzewski, the champion of Tatajubafest 2020, was knocked out in the semi-finals by the GOAT, AKA Aaron Hadlow. It comes only as a surprise because of Janek’s space age riding style that places him miles ahead, but if anyone in this event was to surprise us it would be the GOAT himself. 

This let the crown open for the pickings! The final was not short of a world class standard with all three riders of a different nationality: Steven Akkersdijk from Holland, Aaron Hadlow from the UK, Ross Dillon from South Africa. Each of these riders have a wealth of experience behind them! The heat started and the riders got to work with some incredible Big Air action. 

 When three riders of this calibre go head to head it can sometimes be difficult to see a clear winner, especially with all three riders on top form. In the end it would be Ross Dillon-Player who took home the title. His jumps and tricks were performed with added height, flawless style, and ample variety. Well done Ross!

 The Big Air Kite League is on a mission to bring you more competitions! We are doing this because Big Air kiting has reached a tipping point where there are so many competitors that are capable of competing at a high level, but there are just not enough spots in competitions. Not to mention, when there is a big competition like Red Bull King of the Air, the riders that get in haven’t had enough competition experience to perform at the best of their ability, in the brief few minutes that their heat lasts. Our mission is to give these riders more opportunities to compete!

 This video done by Rob Claisse from Progression Sports shows some of the action of the day. Beautifully filmed action shots! 

 Photos from the days action are accessible through the links below:

Photos by Thomas Burblies

Photo by Kyle Cabano

Thanks for the amazing support from our event sponsors: - The Heat Scoring app

Core Kiteboarding South Africa - A podcast for kitesurfers - Kitesurf Coaching

Dolphin Beach Hotel

As well as the following prize sponsors:

Remax (wwproperties_remax)

Naish Kiteboarding

Dirty Habits

Stay tuned for more updates coming soon!