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Tough battle for Cohan

Worthy of a final

The wind may not have been in his favour, but there is no doubt the level of competition witnessed in Cohan's Round 02 heat against Andrea Principi was extreme.

As seen in the video above, Cohan pulled off an impressive Unhooked KiteLoop BackRoll Handlepass, scoring 5.7, followed by a KiteLoop BackRoll X3 Board Off to score 5.72. But it wasn't quite enough to beat the Italian's ContraLoop FrontRoll X2 Board Off score of 6.62 and KiteLoop BackRoll X2 Rodeo scoring 6.05. 

Says Cohan: 

Yesterday was a hectic day, and I already wasn't really feeling the conditions that were coming up where they were going to run in. I honestly didn't think they were going to run Round 02, but they did. I had a very hard heat ladder, which is fine if it's windy, very hard, if it's not too windy. I'm a powered rider, so I need wind to perform, and I really had to battle to make it happen, and yeah, just didn't get enough out of the wind and the waves. I just did my best and tried to make it work as much as I could, but it wasn't enough."

Adrian Kerr from Kitesurf 365 said it was a really tough result for Cohan: "He’s had such a great year. He’s been the form rider when it comes to the Big Air Kite League, and I guess he feels like he has to start again. Obviously, he didn’t have the conditions he was looking for, but this is kiteboarding - you’ve got to do it in all types of conditions. I know he’s bitterly disappointed, but hopefully, he can take something from this, push harder and come back stronger. He’s so young and has such a big future ahead of him. Hopefully, he can use this as motivation for the future."

One of the favourites going into this year's Red Bull King of the Air, Cohan van Dijk won the Young Capital NK Big Air in the Netherlands in October, and currently sits in #1 on the BAKL Leaderboard, after winning the Big Air Kite League Hood River event in August.

North Brand Director Mike Raper said expectations were high for Cohan after all his recent podiums. But Mother Nature had other plans and just did not deliver: "On almost every run in that 2nd round heat, the kickers did not line up, or the gust of wind was not there for him. Next time..."

Colin Colin Carroll posted the Handlepass trick on his Instagram feed, asking for thoughts on the scoring (5.7). Amongst the overwhelming number of responses that applauded the risk and extremity of Cohan's trick, were former King of the Air Champion Jesse Richman and North Team Manager Alex Vliege.

I think a well-executed 10m KL HP should score higher than a 20m KL board off. To do a proper high KL HP is so hard. However, the landing on this one is a heavy butt check or, more likely, a crash. So so so stoked to see you all pushing unhooked tricks more. I hope we see more of this. I don’t think someone should be able to win the comp without at least one unhooked trick." - Jesse Richman Former Red Bull King of the Air

Judge Alex Vliege also noted the landing: "Biggest and most ballsy move of the day imo 🥜. He would have gotten 2 points more if he didn’t lose some momentum after the landing. On a risky move like this, I would have called a max 0.5 to 1 point deduction, which would have ended up being a score above 7. At the skippers meeting, they did state clearly though that this year the clean landing with speed was more valued than in the past editions."

Watch the replay of Day One here