“I have had an interesting year so far, my career as pro kite boarder has suddenly kicked off, I now find myself traveling to all these places that I never even imagined I would get to see.
I just got home from attending the Ro Sham Throw Down which is a competition in Hood River Oregon.
I had an awesome time in Hood River, there is so much to do over there. You can kite, skate, mountain bike, Frisbee golf, slack line and even snowboard! And the way the hood river is set up, it seems to get windy nearly every day so it’s the perfect place for a kite junkie.
The actual competition was a blast, every single person there was really good. It was motivating to see all these other good riders and actually getting to ride and compete against them, coming from Antigua where most times it’s just me and a few friends out on the water.
Hood river is a pretty crazy place to ride, the water is a lot colder than what I’m use to mainly because the river gets a lot of run off from Mount hood which has snow year round, so the river is basically getting fresh ice cold water flushed into it all the time. And when you’re trying not to freeze you are trying to stay clear of the huge barges that go in and out of the river every day, there is never a dull moment riding in the Hood River.
I ended up buying my first ever wetsuit just to ride in the Hood River. It took me a while to get used to having to put on a wet suite every time I wanted to go out and ride, coming from Antigua where I’m always in board shorts and a shirt.
But it was great riding in the river and getting to hit all of the obstacles that were setup.
They had a total of 5 obstacles set up. A kicker, Funbox with an A-Fame, Dance floor, box to rail and a black pipe that was angled up like a canon.
The kicker was bigger than most kickers you see in a kite park, but I think it’s the perfect sized kicker it gives you plenty of height when you hit it but it’s not overly big that you’re blowing out your knees on every landing.
The FunBox was super fun, I enjoyed hitting the box and transferring up to the A-Frame that was loads of fun. But it was a little intimidating coming up to that thing full speed because it had a pretty nice sized Ollie on it, that looked like it was just waiting to eat you alive, but after hitting it a few times I got over that.
The Dance Floor, this is just a big wide flat box that’s pretty easy to hit and tech out on. I haven’t hit much sliders like this one though, so it took me a while to figure out what combos to throw on it.
The Box to Rail set up, this consisted of a box angled up with a gab to a handrail. This was one of the harder rails to line up because you had to line up the box hit and then also the gab on to the hand rail. But when it all came together it was a super smooth feeling rail.
The Black Pipe, this was super fun because it’s a pretty low risk rail, it’s not super long so it was more of a quick tech slide, I think my favorite trick on this rail was a toe side front board to back side 3 out.
So they had quite a variety of things set up and believe it or not all of these rails are set up year round!
It was good getting to test out all of my gear in different conditions, I found that the Tona POP handled the choppy river water very well; it still delivered a smooth ride and pop even though it wasn’t that flat. And I also got the new 2013 C4’s from Ozone just before the competition and they are awesome! They look way better and I find them a lot more stable than last year’s model, also the depower is phenomenal, we had some pretty crazy conditions during the competition and with just a little depower I was able to hold down my kite and feel comfortable in crazy wind speeds.
The competition had a great format, basically each rider would go one at a time and would get two attempts on each rail and flat water trick, with a format like this it keeps the crowd interested and pushes you as a rider to plan out your run and be as consistent as possible.
I made it through my first heat and all the way to the semifinals but then ended up getting edged out of the finals.
But even though I didn’t come back with a win, it was a great experience and I enjoyed getting to ride with some of the best riders in the world, which has really motivated me to stay focused and keep progressing my riding.
I just got to the Uk and I’m here for nearly a month, until the 5th of September doing a bit of a meet greet and shred for the guys at Ozone and Tona and also to attend the The Rhosniegr Park Jam which is on the 31st – the 2nd of September in North Wales. If any of you guys are in the UK you should come down and check it out!” Jake Kelsick
Photography. Lance Koudele