KTA Asia Pacific Hydrofoil Series Malaysia - Day 2
The second day of competition at the KTA Asia Pacific Hydrofoil Series Desaru Coasthas come to a close, with a grand total of 4 races having taken place today on the brilliant blue waters of Johor's eastern shores.
This event marks the second stop of the KTA's brand new hydrofoil tour, the first of which was held in Koh Samui early this summer. This weekend's event sees 40 riders from 18 different countries gathering on Desaru Beach to take part in the competition, including a solid show of KTA regulars mixed in with some faces entirely new to the regional kite competition circuit.
At the beginning of the day, thick fog covered the beach and rain clouds threatened to pour down at any moment, but the deluge held off and was instead replaced by beaming blue skies and sunshine by lunchtime.
Crowds of spectators gathered onto the golden sand on Desaru Coast to soak in the atmosphere and watch the competition take place. With music, food stalls, and entertainment in the form of acrobatics, trainer kite flying lessons, and sand buggying, spirits were high amongst the spectators.
That said, the wind was all but absent until 2:30 PM. It wasn't until then that a welcome 10 knots of stable breeze began to blow across the event site, allowing the first race to commence around 3 o'clock.
In contrast to yesterday's rough and stormy conditions, today's racing brought its own set of challenges, with riders doing their best to fly their kites and make it past powerful sets of waves in light wind.
The first race of the day saw current Asia kite foil champion, Max Maeder (Singapore), take a comfortable lead over Thailand's Whatcharpong Juntham and local Malaysian rider Daniel Leow, which he maintained with little difficulty for the rest of the day.
As the afternoon progressed, winds dropped just shy of 7 knots, causing Korea's Soon Ho Kwon to struggle to match the performance he put on in yesterday's choppy waters, today faltering in the frustrating conditions.
Meanwhile, Peng Li (China) and Kazumasa Sugihara (Japan) are nipping at the heels of the Top 3 in the men's division, putting the pressure on for the final day of racing. Leading into tomorrow's proceedings, the first position is already looking rather clear - but as for the remainder, it's still anyone's game.
In the women's division, it was Japan's Emi Hirada that came out on top, proving her technical abilities and riding skill in the face of extremely light winds and big barrelling waves. Thailand's Fon Benyapa Jantawan is sitting in second place for the women, having struggled in today's conditions and allowing her Japanese competitor to snag an even wider lead.