YOUNG Christian Tio edged reigning Asian Tour champion Dylan Van der Meij in their hotly-contested freestyle duel to rule the fifth and final leg of the first ICTSI Philippine Kiteboarding Tour at the Emerald Playa beach in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan on Sunday.
Tio, a 12-year-old Norwegian find and member of the powerhouse Boracay team, put on an impressive performance to humble Van der Meij, the hot favorite following his title romp in Kiteboard Tour Asia in Boracay.
But Tio, who dominated the Tour's kick-off leg in Calatagan, Batangas late last year, proved his worth to clinch the crown with Van der Meij settling for second. Reynard Gajisan bucked a hand injury to finish third in the event capping the five-leg circuit.
Van der Meij, however, wowed the big Sunday crowd, which included Puerto Princesa Mayor Lucilo Bayron, as he topped the Cabrinha Hangtime Challenge, posting the highest clocked jump to win the Cabrinha kite in the event backed by Boracay Greenyard, the official distributor of Cabrinha equipment, Stoked, Dakine, Aloha Boardsports, and supported by Tanduay Ice, Colt 45 and Summit Water.
Swede Atte Kappel finished second while Ronel Mateo of Pinas Kiteboarding placed third in the three-day meet supported by local sponsors Printhub, Kuyba Almoneca, Hotel Centro, Blue Palawan, Inc., Fluidsurf and Puerto Princesa City Government,
Liezl Tio, also of Team Boracay, topped the women’s Hangtime and won a Cabrinha Board in the event which drew 52 participants from Cuyo, Puerto Princesa, Manila, Caliraya, Puerto Galera and Boracay, as well as from Sweden, France, Norway, Australia and the United States.
Australian Ali Dudfield took the freestyle women’s crown, besting Paula Rosales of Team Roxy and Norweigian Rebecca Mudal while ICTSI-backed Doque delos Santos bounced back strong from a black flag disqualification (BFD) to top the men’s Twin Tip Race category of the event
Delos Santos, who ruled the event in the third leg in Laguna, led in the first two days but was disqualified in Race 4 when he was found in the no-sail area before the start of the event. But he struck back in the next two races to beat Louie Fernando of Greenyard Cabrinha for top honors. Mark Jae Cahilig from Pagudpud placed third.
In the TwinTip Race Masters category, Kappel and Jay Ortiz’s kites got tangled up in Race 2, eventually disqualifying Ortiz by virtue of the starboard right of way rule.
Kappel went on to firm up his lead in the final day with two aces of the last three races to capture the crown with Ortiz settling for second and Carlo Leongson finishing third.
Ateneo’s Kara Leongson, from Soloviento, took the women’s crown with an impressive wire-to-wire triumph marred by mix-up with Finn Viola Kaukonen in the last race. Jhing Gajisan of Team Boracay snatched second place, relegating Kaukonen to third place.
For details and results, go to the Facebook page of Philippine Kiteboarding Association or email PKAtour@yahoo.com