Kiwi kitesurfer fly­ing high af­ter champs

Central Leader - - SPORT - By TOM CARNEGIE

Af­ter suf­fer­ing a sea­son end­ing in­jury last year, pro­fes­sional kite­boarder Marc Ja­cobs is now reach­ing new heights in the sport.

Ja­cobs, 25, who lives in the Auck­land sub­urb of Mt Eden, won the sec­ond round of the Vir­gin Kitesurf World Big Air Cham­pi­onships on June 13.

Big air is a new event on the world tour, with Ja­cobs be­ing only the sec­ond per­son to have won a stage.

Ja­cobs also com­petes in freestyle on the tour, he says the two events are quite dif­fer­ent from one another.

‘‘Big air we have our kites high as we are judged on 70 per cent height and 30 per cent tech­ni­cal dif­fi­culty. While in freestyle we ride fast and try to keep our kite low as it’s more dif­fi­cult ... the higher the kite is, the eas­ier it is to do our tricks,’’ he says.

Ja­cobs has been kitesurf­ing for nine years, how­ever his first year was a rather dry one.

‘‘I couldn’t af­ford a board for a year so I used to play around jump­ing off sand dunes, flip­ping on the land, and get­ting used to fly­ing and han­dling a kite.’’

From these hum­ble begin­nings Ja­cobs went on to win the New Zealand na­tional ju­nior di­vi­sion when he was 16 years old and the men’s open di­vi­sion two years later.

‘‘I am cur­rently still un­de­feated, hav­ing won seven na­tional ti­tles so far.’’

Ja­cobs started com­pet­ing pro­fes­sion­ally in 2011 and in the same year fin­ished third over­all on the world tour.

In­jury ended Ja­cobs’ 2014 tour when he rup­tured his menis­cus in his knee half-way through the sea­son.

‘‘That was su­per hard for me as I was cur­rently sec­ond over­all and still in the run­ning for the ti­tle,.’’

Train­ing for kitesurf­ing is sim­i­lar to gym­nas­tics. You need great mus­cle mem­ory and re­flexes while ro­tat­ing and flip­ping, he says.

Ja­cobs’ goal this year is to win the big air world tour and to place in the top three for freestyle over­all.

Photo: DANIEL KAJAVALA

Marc Ja­cobs has just won the Vir­gin Kite surf Big Air event held in Venezuela.

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