CHRISTIAN Tio maneuvered his kite as he flew through the air on his board. Twisting and flipping, he impressed judges and onlookers with his cool and confident moves.
This was the 2016 Kiteboarding Youth Cup in Costa Brava, Spain, and the 15-year-old had faced four days of rough waters, making him unable to complete a full run. But he was determined to win.
A combination of his signature moves—a result of his intense kiteboarding training—pulled him through with a third place win, after Maxime Chabloz from Switzerland and Roman Giuliano from France, who finished first and second, respectively.
His talent is no surprise as he is the son of professional kiteboarders Chris Mohn and Liezl Tio. He started learning how to kiteboard at age 7. Christian admits that kiteboarding was not something that he particularly liked at first.
“As I got better, it made me try harder. I like flying through the sky—I feel like I’m free,” he said.
Today, Christian is one of Asia’s top kiteboarders, having won multiple times at the Kiteboarding Youth Cup (formerly known as the Junior Virgin Kitesurfing World Championships) held in Costa Brava. Originally a competitor in the U17 (under 17) category, he was moved to the U19 category because of his talent and extraordinary skills. Even if he was up against older competitors, Christian still came out number one.
“I don’t mind competing against older kiteboarders, I’m used to competing against adults all the time,” he said.
Since the loss of his father and coach last February, Christian has been trained by Fabio Ingrosso at Srilankakite, a kiteboarding school in Sri Lanka.
This teenager maintains a rigorous schedule: He kiteboards before school and in the afternoons, then does calisthenics with a personal trainer in the evenings. Christian also takes up parkour at Ninja Academy and a human performance program at Fitfast Wellness Center to develop his stability, flexibility and endurance.
“My training helps a lot with my flow and power. There’s plenty of upper-body strength and balance.”
A Red Bull athlete, Christian looks forward to shooting a video with the energy drink at the end of the year. He will also compete in South Africa and Norway next year, and is determined to win the Kiteboarding Youth Cup.
For all his passion for kiteboarding, Christian is a very laid-back kid. A Boracay native, he enjoys waking up to the sight, sound and scent of the beach every morning.
“I like it, island life. There’s lots of wind in the backyard,” he said.
During his free time, he plays Call of Duty with his best friend. “If I wasn’t kiteboarding, I’d be a professional Call of Duty player,” he said. Christian is ranked in the #20,000 range in Zombie Mode of the popular game.
With his determination to win and his genuine passion for his sport, Christian is sure to fly high for a very long time.
Photography Maika Anthoni Styling Luis Carlo San Juan Grooming Mayesa delos Santos for Makeup Forever Hairstyle Kierlo Velasco SHOT ON LOCATION, HOLE IN THE WALL, 4/F CENTURY CITY MALL, KALYAAN AVE., MAKATI CITY SPECIAL THANKS TO VERONICA INFANTE
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