If you tuned in to the livestream for short periods you may have been underwhelmed, but if you stuck with it and knew what you were looking for, you’d have seen two things:
1. The connection that the top riders have with a wave and the ability to read it and remain positioned in the key section all the time is amazing, and is actually very difficult in small waves. The judges were still looking for riders using the power of the wave rather than the kite to maintain flow, and in smaller waves that takes a lot of subtle skill. When freeriding, most of us come way out the front of a small wave, send the kite back hard and smash the section mostly due to the power of the kite. That’s not how these guys do it… try it next time. It’s super difficult.
2. Today’s kite-surfing equipment is amazing. Even though the riders were slacking their lines during their turns we rarely saw any hint of back stalling in super light conditions. Instead, we saw riders stay impeccably in tune with their (mostly) 12 metre kites, finding power and drift on tap as and when needed. And that’s before we even think about the technology at play under their feet.