Young water sport champ Christian Tio reached for the skies and the top spot, finishing third in the U19 (under 19) Men’s category, at the 2016 Kiteboarding Youth Cup (KYC) held from June 27 to July 3, 2016 at Camping La Ballena Alegre in the coastal region of Costa Brava, Spain. Maxime Chabloz from Switzerland and Roman Giuliano from France came in at first and second places, respectively.
The first four days saw Tio, a Boracay native and the Philippines’ first-ever Red Bull international sponsored athlete, weathering unfavorable wind conditions and rendered him initially unable to complete a full run on testy waters. In time, the tides turned and Tio pulled through with an impressive combination of his signature moves – easily knocking out his quarter-final competitor but failing to surprass the Frenchman Giuliano in the Semi-Finals due to sporadic winds and consistency.
Tio has competed and ranked number 2 in the world twice before: in the consecutive riding seasons of 2014 and 2015 at what was then dubbed the Junior Virgin Kitesurfing World Championships also held in Costa Brava.
Organizers of the KYC, recognizing 15-year-old Tio’s above average skill level, moved him up from the U17 (under 17) category to the U19. Despite the age discrepancy, the young athlete was still the number 1 seed among fellow competitors – further proof of his exceptional, world-class talent.
Tio’s KYC appearance is his first junior world championships since the loss of his father and coach, Chris Mohn, last February 2016. Since then, a team of experts have taken turns upgrading various facets of the first Philippine Red Bull athlete’s skills.
At the Ninja Academy, the Philippines’ first indoor parkour facility, trainers focused on tricking and flow. This was followed by a Human Performance program to further develop his stability, flexibility, and endurance at Fitfast Wellness Center. His pre-world championships preps were rounded up with the Philippine Street Workout and Calisthenics Association for calisthenics-based training.
On more familiar territory, professional kiteboarder and coach Fabio Ingrosso has taken the Filipino-Norwegian under his wing at Srilankakite – a kite school for professionals and beginners alike based in Sri Lanka.
Tio is already looking forward to making his mark at the Pro World Kite Tour and competing with big-name adult kiteboarders. With his recent success, though, the young talent deserves to go home to his beloved Bulabog Beach for a much-deserved break with his mother Liezl Tio, also a professional kiteboarder, and friends.
Relive all the kiteboarding action on the Kiteboarding Youth Cup’s page: www.facebook.com/COSTA-BRAVA-Kiteboarding-Youth-Cup-2016. For updates on Christian Tio, follow www.facebook.com/christiantioboracay.