Expression events: A bridge too far?

Published on November 22nd, 2021

The diversity in the sport knows no bounds as new boats and new ways to use the wind push the imagination. For the most part, Scuttlebutt is an advocate, but not everybody is a fan of kiteboarding, particular now as the genre has two of the ten Olympic events.

The sport of sailing can take many forms, but the foundation has been an objective competition with a start line, a finish line, and a book of rules to get sailors from one to the other. However, the board sports also embrace expression events in which the competitor is judged based on subjective criteria.

This sector of the sport also falls under the guidance of World Sailing. Is this a bridge too far?

With the trend for the International Olympic Committee eager to attract a younger audience, with surf, climbing, and skateboarding added for Tokyo 2020, and breakdancing to debut in Paris 2024, how soon will wave jumping and aerial tricks be an Olympic sailing event? Here’s a report to consider:


Kiwi Marc Jacobs celebrated his 32nd birthday in style when he beat three-time champion Kevin Langeree and rookie Stig Hoefnagel in an action-packed final to secure the Red Bull King of the Air 2021 title in Cape Town, South Africa – the most extreme international event in kiteboarding.

Jacobs claimed the iconic trophy after 22 heats and six hours of competition spread over the two days. “I’m beyond stoked with the win,” he said. “It’s been four years of full-on dedication to make this come true. It feels so good. We had a really good training season in New Zealand from June to October, so coming straight here was perfect timing.”

Observed Event Commentator Jim Gaun, “It’s unbelievable how he has transformed his riding to perform in both directions – left foot forward. Clean, technical, powerful. He just keeps it coming, stomp after stomp after stomp.”

Jacobs won the event with two Frontroll Contraloop Boardoff, a Boogieloop Double Rotation, and a very high overall Impression Score of 9.08, to gain a total score of 32.28.

“I completely changed my game plan two years ago, it’s taken hard work and dedication,” Jacobs explained. “I’m no-one special, I just worked my ass off”.

The fact that he pulled off 16 landed tricks versus his competitors nine put pressure on his competitors early in the heat. He rode with incredible power and precision.

“The sport is growing and developing fast and we are keeping track with that,” said Event Director Sergio Cantagalli after the event. “They are fast! It is an exciting time for the sport,” he said, referring to how quickly the next generation is pushing the limits. “Also, we have a new King. He was consistent throughout and he brought a lot of technical moves with extreme height so he is so deserving of that crown.”

To watch this event, click here.

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