The Red Bull Kiteforce Team are one of the world's best kite-flying crews and to prove it, they've just won the French Championship, a feat that qualifies them for the World Championship in April next year. We caught up with them...
The team's philosophy is to revive the age-old dream of flying, to bring the skies to the people. They follow this dream by creating precise, stunning performances. Rhythm, precision and style are the defining factors in the sport and the conductors on the ground must be 100 per cent in tune to steer their kites in ballet-like shows.
With the development of their unusually shaped and super noisy new kite, the Red Bull Kiteforce Team stunned the crowds in France...
How many teams attended the French Championship?
We keep seeing more new teams coming along, but only those who competed in local competitions last year or earlier this year were selected for the French Championship. Six were selected and five attended. It's the same weird selection system for the Eurocup – we can't go because we didn't attend the French Championship last year (Richard had just stopped, and Samy wasn't ready). We should go next year, though.
What was the main challenge you faced at the French Championship?
Beating StartAir, a very good French team who have one more pilot this year and who are working hard. They were third at the last World Championship in 2010 and French champions in 2010.
What was your best moment during your performance?
Our new kites made a strong impact. They're so dark, sharp and noisy. They allow us to create new moves and we feel confident with them. But the wind was really very regular, shifting from low to high speeds in just a few minutes. Before our precision performance, we decided to change kites because of this. We managed to fix it up just two seconds before the end of the 90 seconds that allow for such things. But it put quite a lot of pressure on us and we didn't perform our best. For the Ballet, we also had to switch kites at the last minute.
We won the first round on Friday. On Saturday, we performed Ballet (choreography) even better than in the first round. Precision was postponed to Sunday because of bad weather. But on Sunday morning the weather was even worse, so the judges cancelled precision. We then won the second round too.
How creative do you have to be to win the World Championship?
There's only four of us in our team and we have to face some six-pilot teams. We have to be the best in precision, which is our strong point. But also in ballet, which counts for 50 per cent of the final points tally. We need to surprise the audience and judges, so we're already working on new moves. It's why we developed the new kite, which we've been working on for a whole year now. We must also work on the rhythm and the kind of music we need.
How often will you train between now and the competition in April?
The next six months will be very intense, indeed. We plan to meet on a regular basis during this time. Due to our day jobs it won't always be possible that we meet altogether. In those cases, Mathieu and I will take care of the new kite production, and Yasu and Samy will test some new tricks. They're also in charge of music and choreography.
- Check out the Red Bull Kiteforce’s Youtube channel to see Ramlal and the other pilots in action
- See the Red Bull Kiteforce Team's profile page
- Visit our Aerial Sports section