Today was the third and final day of competition for the KTA Asia Pacific Hydrofoil Series Desaru Coast, which has been held from the 14-16th of December along the sandy shores of eastern Johor, Malaysia. Following on from the first ever leg of the series - which was held in Koh Samui, Thailand early this summer - this event sees 40 registered riders from 18 different countries go head to head to compete for the title and 5,000 USD of prize money.
Among the competitors is Daniel Leow, a local Malaysian and Desaru sponsored athlete, who is here to defend his current title as the series leader. His toughest challenger throughout the weekend has been Maximillion Maeder, who - at just 12 years old - is the current Asia Formula Hydrofoil champion.
The past two days of racing have brought a mixed bag of conditions - each challenging in their own way. Friday's races took place on rough, choppy waters matched with moderate gusty wind, while Saturday brought very light breeze and strong shorebreak.
For today's final day of competition, the event was blessed with 8-9 knots by 12.30pm which allowed for the first races to commence. Throughout the day, a total of 5 races took place on the sparkling blue waters of Desaru Coast, with wind building briefly to 12-13 knots and dropping back to 8-9 by the end of proceedings.
With the winds blowing more directly onshore today, Race officer Simon James and his team brought the course closer to shore, much to the appreciation of the Sunday crowds that had gathered to see the kiters in action. The atmosphere throughout the day grew as the excitement of each race unfolded, with the riders all charging towards each start together on a starboard tack, making for a dynamic spectacle for everyone gathered Desaru Coast Beach.
The leader of the weekend in the men's division, Max Maeder, maintained his overall lead throughout the day, coming in first in every race but his last, when he miscalculated his position for crossing the finish line and ended on the wrong side of the finish boat. Even so, Max's near flawless performance across the weekend has secured him the number one spot for the competition.
Coming in second overall, Daniel Leow pulled off an excellent performance throughout the day, achieving second and third place for each of his races. He was closely followed by Thailand's Whatcharpong Juntham, whose efforts today have earned him a well deserved third place on the podium. Daniel also sits at the top of the leaderboard in the Master's class, followed by Korea's Soon Ho Kwon in second and Japan's Kazumasa Sugihara in third.
In the women's division, it's Emi Hirada who will be walking away with first prize after a well-fought battle in the challenging conditions, closely followed by Thailand's Fon Benyapa Jantawan in second place.
The evening closed with a prize giving ceremony right on the golden sands of Desaru Beach, along with a relaxed social evening which saw athletes, spectators, and staff enjoying a collective wind down after the full weekend of action.