Once again the KLB Open sets the benchmark as the biggest Landboard event of the year. Having attended last year as a judge, I was able to watch all the action from 50 riders across Europe, along with an unusual audience of thousands of spectators. This event was a big reason for my competition come back as it gives competitors the opportunity to test their ability against some of the best riders in the world in front of the biggest crowd too. The second round of the European Championships is hosted on an idle airport located in Tempelhof-Berlin, Germany.
With the top 8 riders from the last European competition advancing straight into the main event it was down to the rest of the non-seeded riders to fight it out for the last 8 remaining places. I was seeded number 1 for this event after winning the first event and was drawn against non-seeded rider and fellow UK competitor Will Rose who had already advanced through the trials.
The main event started on the final day of the competition following multiple wind delays, conditions were still far from ideal with the wind ranging from 5mph to 12mph max, making it tricky to keep the kite in the air let alone perform your best tricks. I did not really put things together as planned in the first heat, crashing way too many tricks, the pressure was on however it was tricky for Will also and luckily I also landed some higher scoring tricks in front of the judges, scraping through to the next round to ride up against Dutch rider Jeroen Pigmans. Having had such a shocking first heat I knew I had to pick my game up and the next round was back on track landing every trick I attempted. Not a bad round considering I don’t think I did a single trick over 6 foot due to the lack of wind, but having spent years riding in low winds this wasn’t so much of a problem. I even managed to land a Double Frontroll Invert to Blind towards the end of the heat. I advanced into the semi final to be met by last years 3rd place, Nick Stimpel where again I had a good heat to set up a final with last years European Champion and fellow Flysurfer team mate Laurent Guyot.
This final was set up to be a classic having never ridden against each other despite both of us competing in previous European events and winning, just at different times. We both have similar aims in kiting and our trick range is also very similar in that we both love to throw down a handlepass over land but alway keep pushing our old school riding at the same time. The heat started well for me with a quick little Backmobe (back to wrapped) just after the horn, followed by a Shifty 3, Front Blind and Slim Chance. During the heat I never had the power to jump hooked in but gave a Double Frontroll Invert a go in the middle of the heat only to land still due to having no time to redirect the kite. I went straight back into some more low level handlepasses and finished off with a No Comply 360 Handlepass, wrapping up another fairly good final.
An hour later and the results were announced, I had increased my lead in the European Championships by winning the second event of the year, and with just one event left in Ijmuiderslag in Holland it’s still all to play for. Check out this sweet little video from Yannick Schwickert of the final against Laurent Guyot.
1st Lewis Wilby
2nd Laurent Guyot
3rd Nick Stimpel
Pictures by Stilbrand