Report By: Holly Keenan   Photos by: Samuel Cardenas

What a spectacular finish to the Qatar Airways GKA Big Air World Championships. Today we saw the women twin-tip riders pushing big air to the next level, whilst also witnessing Airton Cozzolino completely dominate in the men’s strapless. 

Nathalie Lambrecht Tarifa

Women’s Twin-Tip Big Air Competition

This morning was a bright and early start for riders as the first women’s twin-tip heat kicked off around 8 am. We had lighter winds than the previous day, but conditions were still looking optimal for big air. 

We flew straight into round two of the women’s, with Hannah Whiteley and Nathalie Lambrecht putting on incredible performances. The women were making this heat look like a final, both performing some extreme megaloops and boogie loops.

In the last few minutes of the heat Hannah managed to pull off a magnificent frontroll contraloop. But, it was Nathalie from Sweden who claimed the victory in this heat, as in the final minute of the heat, she landed a clean, powerful double backroll megaloop that left everyone speechless. 


On the other side of the women’s ladder multiple world champion Mikali Sol started to work her way up the rankings, building on her heat scores and making her way into the semi-finals, taking out her good friend, Karli Thoma. 

In the semi-finals, we had some very tight heats between the women, in particular, Zara Hoogenraad and Nathalie Lambrecht. It was down to the wire for these two ladies as Zara took the win over Nathalie by only a 0.3 difference. 

Mikali Sol also had an incredible heat in the semis against the American newcomer to the tour, Michaela Pilkenton. Mika cranked into 5th gear in the heat as she landed the first-ever doobie loop in a competition! This move advanced her through to the finals, where she would face the dangerous dutchy, Zara Hoogenraad. 

Mikali Sol Big Air Tarifa
Women finalists GKA Tarifa Twintip

Finals of the Womens Twin-Tip

We had an exciting women’s final on our hands with current BAKL Full Power Tarifa champion Zara Hoogenraad vs multiple disciplinary world champion /rider of the year Mikali Sol.


 Mika commenced the heat with all guns blazing, landing a nicely executed double front roll board-off.

Zara answered back with a textbook boogie loop, which she lands consistently throughout her heats. 


But, this only seemed to spur Mika on even more as she went on to pull off another doobie loop. Mika emerged victorious in this heat, showing us that she is undoubtedly the most diverse female rider kiteboarding has ever seen.  After only training big air a few days before this event, it was incredible to see Mika take the win in the big air discipline, throwing down moves that her other components had trained months for. 

Overall Results Women’s Twin-tip: 

1st: Mikali Sol (BRA)

2nd: Zara Hoogenraad (NED)

3rd: Nathalie Lambrecht (SWE)

4th: Michela Pilkenton (USA)

Men’s Strapless Big Air 

The wind began to drop a little towards the beginning of the men’s rounds one and two, and it was borderline as to whether the competition would continue.

Nevertheless, these experienced strapless riders managed to make things happen in the 20-knot winds, and boy did they put on a show for us! 

One rider who surprised everyone during the men’s strapless competition was rookie on tour Gabriel Benetton. In round three, Gabriel managed to take out the favorite for this event, James Carew. James appeared to be struggling in the lighter winds and couldn’t seem to get into his flow. 

On the other hand, Benetton had the heat of his life putting together some spectacular maneuvers such as a crontaloop, front roll megaloop and back roll megaloop. He took home the highest score of the day with 25 points in the semi-finals against Camille Delannoy. His win against Delannoy secured him his first ever final on the GKA World Tour. 

Gabriel Benton: 

“This is my first ever GKA event, and I am over the moon to place second place. I did not expect this going into this event and yet, here I am, in the final!”

Gabriel Benetton GKA Tarifa 2022
Airton Cozzolino GKA Tarifa 2022

Joining the young prodigy would be the one and only Airton Cozzolino! 

Airton had been consistent throughout the day landing pretty much all his tricks and sending the crowds crazy on the beach with his soaring megaloops. He had his game face on for this competition, and he wasn’t going to let the championship title slip away from him again. 

The Finals

The last finale of the competition kicked off with Cozzolino airlines flying through the sky, landing a textbook megaloop. Airton had his feet firmly glued to the board during the heat, landing trick after trick.

 It looked like the pressure might have gotten to the young Brazilian slightly as he struggled to land all his tricks. Gabriel put on an incredible show tofay but could not match Airtons style, and power. 


Airton once again adds another Strapless Big Air World Championship Title, and the smile on his face when receiving his award said it all. 

Podium strapless mens Tarifa 2022

Men’s Strapless Final Results: 

1st: Airton Cozzolino 

2nd: Gabriel Benton 

3rd: Lorenzo Casati 

4th: Camille Delannoy

Thats A Wrap! 

Thats a wrap for the Qatar Airways GKA Big Air World Championships and we are beyond happy to have crowned all our champions. After two weeks of intense action, riders and crew are looking to celebrating a very successful event together with a night out on Tarifa Town! Stay tuned for more video highlights coming your way!



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