After a four-year wait for the perfect storm, one of the fiercest kitesurfing events in the world has been contested once again in The Netherlands.
Italy’s Andrea Principi has been crowned Red Bull Megaloop champion after 16 world class riders put on a spectacular kitesurfing show during an autumn storm in Zandvoort, The Netherlands.
With the brutal gusts swirling all around at wind force 8, Principi displayed a high level of style, creativity, skill, and strength to execute the tricks that landed him one of the most coveted titles in the sport.
Hundreds of spectators braved the tough conditions to support from the beach in what was the fifth edition of the fan favourite competition, and the first since 2019.
Here is all you need to know:
Red Bull Megaloop only takes place under the most extreme North Sea conditions. The riders require wind speeds in excess of 30 knots to attempt the most difficult tricks within the kiteboarding scene.
A team of weather experts only gave the ‘GO’ signal 32 hours before the event after monitoring the forecasts and being convinced that strong and stable winds are on their way.
16 of the best riders in the world rushed to Zandvoort Beach just 30 kilometres to the west of Amsterdam for the competition.
A ‘megaloop’ is the pinnacle of kiteboarding tricks and one of the toughest to land. It sees the rider jump more than 20 metres in the air before steering the kite aggressively so it’s horizontal over the water. The rider then initiates a 360-degree kite loop which produces such force the rider is flung a distance of up to 150 metres over the water before landing downwind.
Riders then add their variations and creativity to the megaloop by performing other tricks alongside it. A five-member jury judges the tricks on their extremity and style.
2022 Big Air World Champion, Principi, came through his heat and won his semi-final before overcoming Liam Whaley (ESP), Cohan Van Dijk (NED), and Jeremy Burlando (ESP) with a score of 8.04 in a captivating final for the ages.
“The conditions were absolutely perfect, my adrenaline was high! I have no words to say that I won here. It was a pleasure to compete against everyone. It was unbelievable. It’s a dream competition for me. Thanks to everyone who came out to see us.”The winner said after the 12-minute final:
The 18-year-old Italian revealed afterwards that such was his desire to win the competition one day, he got a tattoo of the Megaloop trophy four months ago.
Watch all the highlights and replays from Red Bull Megaloop on Red Bull TV HERE.
Red Bull Megaloop was first contested in 2013 but before this year, the last time it took place was in 2019 where it was won by South African Ross-Dillon Player.