Posts Tagged ‘kiteboarding’

All photos: Svetlana Romantsova   Report: Gemma Hamaini

It was another perfect day for the GKA Hydrofoil Freestyle World Cup in Fortaleza, as the wind was pumping at 20-22 knots and the top hydrofoil freestylers in the World were ready to put on a show for the completion of this competition. The criteria remained the same, with the athletes given 15 trick attempts, with the top 4 scores counting. Congratulations to Charles Brodel from France for taking the event win and becoming the Men´s Hydrofoil Freestyle World Champion and, also,  Maike Elisa Mueller from Germany for taking the event win. 

Women’s Elimination

Yesterday we did a single elimination for all four women. Where Maike Elisa finished first, Samuela Mule second, Kylie third, Aurore Gineste fourth. These were not the final results as they would all have a second chance today to climb up the double-elimination ladder and win the event.

Kylie Zarmati from the USA managed to defeat Aurore Gineste in Round 2, and then went on to face Samuela Mule for Round 3. Samuela started strong, gaining good scores for her first-ever competition, but Kylie managed to gain the advantage with some good tricks that allowed her to advance to the next round.

The women’s final was action-packed as Kylie Zarmati battled with Maike Elise, both athletes wanting to steal the crown here in Fortaleza. Maike managed to fight her way to the very top, gaining an overall score of 12.57 points, and securing a first place on the podium.

“I’m really tired,” said Maike. “The wind really dropped during my heat, so it was hard work but I really did my best. I’m so excited about this result. Thank you to all of my friends who have helped me get here today.”

Men’s Elimination

Men’s Round 3 was completed yesterday, where Robin Stewart from the USA advanced over Joselito del Rosario from the Dominican Republic. Robin advanced to the Semi-Finals joined by Charles Brodel from France, Cesar Natoly also from France, and Maxime Desjardins who defeated Fred Hope in an extremely close heat. 

Men’s Semi-Final 1 was first in sequence today, where Charles Brodel went up against Robin Stewart. Charles was unstoppable with solid scores throughout his heat. He finished with an overall score of 24.54 points and locked down his spot in the final. 

The second semi-final was between Cesar Natoly and Maxime Desjardins, both young riders from France. Maxime was smashing out trick after trick and gaining a strong lead at the start. Natoly was riding strapless, so both athletes were really adopting a different style during this heat. Finally, it was Maxime Desjardins who pushed that little bit harder in the final moments and advanced to the final, with his powerful moves really gaining the judge’s attention. 

The Small-Final between Cesar Natoly and Robin Stewart had to be re-run due to a technical issue. Both athletes were riding strapless which added an extra dimension of difficulty. It was an extremely close heat with both riders performing with control and style. It all came down to the final moments, where Natoly could unfortunately not catch up in points, and Robin won the heat giving him the 3rd position finish for this event.

Men’s finals

The final was an intense match-up between
Charles Brodel and Maxime Desjardins. As Maxime had explained earlier in the competition, Charles has always been a big inspiration for him and one of the main reasons that he got into Hydrofoil Freestyle. This made the final even more exciting. Charles showed his experience and confidence from the very start. He rode with plenty of control and showed great speed and variety in his array of tricks. Young athlete Maxime battled his way through with some impressive trick attempts but failed to land several of his tricks. It was a valiant effort but it was Charles Brodel who stole the win, throwing out trick after trick, and having a great time whilst doing it. Charles Brodel is our new GWA Hydrofoil Freestyle World Champion, with a winning overall score of 30.02 points. 

“I’m super stoked to win this event. I’ve been training a lot for this,” said Charles. “I loved sharing the final with my close friend Maxime, and I know he is going to continue doing really well.”


GKA Hydrofoil Freestyle World Cup Fortaleza top 4 results:


Women:

1st Maike Elise Mueller

2nd Kylie Zarmati

3rd Samuela Mule

4th Aurore Gineste

 

Men:
1st Charles Brodel

2nd Maxime Desjardins

3rd Robin Stewart

4th Cesar Natoly

It’s been an incredible week of action for this new, rapidly-evolving discipline, and we look forward to seeing even more incredible tricks next year, as each rider is really helping to push the sport further and further each season. 

Thank you to our event organizers, crew, and amazing athletes for making this year’s event such a success, and we look forward to returning to the shores of Fortaleza next year once again.

Tomorrow, the action continues with the GWA Wingfoil World Tour and on Sunday we will have the Best Trick Session. So keep an eye on our Socials as we will have more action coming soon!

The post GKA Hydrofoil Freestyle World Cup Fortaleza | Superfoil Brazil | Day Four appeared first on GKA Kite World Tour.

All photos: Svetlana Romantsova   Report: Gemma Hamaini

Hydrofoil freestyle is still a relatively new discipline that is evolving rapidly and allows riders to kite at unique locations where the wind is much lighter. 

There are 12 men and 4 women of 9 different nationalities registered to participate at this event this week, where the forecast is looking very positive for each day of competition. Last year it was Fred Hope from the USA who topped the podium and won the GKA Hydrofoil Freestyle Championship title, and this year he will again have to face accomplished athletes such as Charles Brodel and Maxime Desjardins who will each be looking for a podium finish here at this event. The men will be competing here for the GKA Hydrofoil Freestyle World Championship title. 

 

“I started kiting at age 13. I rode a twin-tip, then switched to a surfboard, and then finally started hydrofoiling in 2015,” said Fred Hope. “I started doing jumps, riding with straps, and then started riding strapless in 2017, and I never really went back. I love just trying to figure it out, as it’s such a new discipline. I live in Hood River and then travel to Baja in the winters. They are both really great spots.”

 

“I started kiting when I was 13 years old, and then started foiling just a few years ago,” said Maxime Desjardins. “I started because my father and sister started. Then my sister’s boyfriend, Charles Brodel, started doing Hydrofoil Freestyle which I thought looked really spectacular. I decided to try it and loved it. This is my first competition, and I want to show the world what I can do on the water. I think that this discipline is going to get bigger and bigger, as we can do so much in really light wind.”

On the women’s side there is Samuela Mule from Italy, Aurore Gineste from France, German rider Maike Elisa and Kylie Zarmati from the USA who will all go face to face to battle the podium positions. The women were released from the competition today, and they will commence during tomorrow’s competition. As there are only 4 women registered to compete at this event, they will not be able to compete for a World Championship title, as that requires a minimum of 6 participants. 

“I started hydrofoiling about 1.5 years ago,” explained Maike Elisa. “I was living in Cabarete, and the wind was often quite light. This allowed me to ride with a lot less wind, and really have fun with it. I started and after a while, I really fell in love with this discipline. I was inspired to start with freestyle as there were so many good riders in Cabarete, such as Joselito del Rosario, who is also here competing. To see what is possible on a hydrofoil is amazing, because anything that you can do on a twin-tip or a surfboard, you can do on a hydrofoil as well.”

“I started kiteboarding about 15 years ago, but I started hydrofoiling about 5 years ago, just because it looked like a really fun new thing to try,” said Kylie Zarmati. “I got into freestyle because I want to inspire more women to get into it. I ride strapless and it’s so fun. This is my first competition. Hydrofoiling is great as it gives you the opportunity to ride in much lighter wind.”

 

 

JUDGING CRITERIA

Rounds 1 and 2 for the men were completed for this first day of competition. The action commenced at 2.30 pm local time, with wind speeds of 12 to 18 knots. The riders were given 9-minute heats, with 15 trick attempts, and the 4 top scores counting. The judges were looking for height, execution, commitment, and innovation. 

“So we are mixing two different styles since we have strapless and strapped riders battling in the same heats,” explained Head Judge Mallory de la Villemarque. “We’re looking at the technicality of the moves riders do, the speed they have in and out of the moves, the height they get (especially for strapped riders), and landings are quite important as well. When riders manage to land moves with their board not touching the water they get rewarded especially when the trick is technical.”

 

ROUND ONE AND TWO

For Round 1, the winning athletes advanced directly to Round 3. The remaining riders got a second chance in Round 2. Locking down their positions directly to Round 3 were Joselito del Rosario, Charles Brodel and Oliver Pasche and Fred Hope. The most spectacular performance of the day went to Charles Brodel in Heat 2, where he achieved an overall score of 24.07 points, including 8 points for his Double Front Board-Off. Fred Hope from the USA also showed some innovative tricks, including his Lazyboy, a front roll landing seated on his board, which scored him 7.43 points.

The eliminations started during Round 2, where riders had to win their heats in order to advance. This is where the riders started to feel the pressure to perform if they wanted to remain in the competition. It was Robin Steward, Reed Brady, Cesar Natoly, and Maxime Desjardins who managed to advance over their competitors. All four riders will now prepare to continue the battle in Round 3 tomorrow.

Tomorrow, the action continues with the first possible start for the Hydrofoil Freestyle at 1 pm local time. 

Be sure to follow our live-stream, live-ticker, and live-scoring on our website: www.gkakiteworldtour.com/live/

Check our Instagram stories for regular behind-the-scenes updates throughout the competition.

The post GKA Hydrofoil Freestyle World Cup Fortaleza | Superfoil Brazil | Day One appeared first on GKA Kite World Tour.

Report: Gemma Hamaini   All photos: Svetlana Romantsova

Finals day in Cumbuco, Brazil, was nothing short of spectacular! The top riders in the World gave a breathtaking performance for both the Men’s and Women’s finals. The battle for the Cumbuco podium positions was a fierce one, which saw the athletes give their all on the water.

Men’s Semi-finals

Men’s semi-final 2 was first in sequence, with the men riding on 13-14m kites. The judging criteria remains the same as previous days, with 7 trick attempts and the top 4 scores counting. Maxime Chabloz was once again unstoppable for the semi-final, locking down solid scores trick after trick. Gianmaria Coccoluto started strong but struggled towards the end of his heat, crashing his last 4 trick attempts. Juan Rodriguez also had a good start but was unable to keep the strong rhythm going on his final trick attempts. He, unfortunately, was unable to advance. Manoel Soares missed only one trick attempt and performed a well-executed array of tricks. He finished in 2nd position and clinched his spot in the final together with Maxime Chabloz. 

Men’s Finals

The finals saw Swiss rider Maxime Chabloz go up against the top three Brazilian riders: Carlos Mario, Erick Anderson, and Manoel Soares. The action was outstanding from the start, with each rider opening with massive tricks. Slim 7’s, Double Heart Attacks, and 319’s were all thrown out, and that was just the warm-up. All riders remained so close together in points right until the last round of tricks. The crowds on the beach of Cumbuco were going absolutely crazy for the final moments of the heat, where the podium positions would be decided. Carlos Mario left everyone speechless with his final trick, an outstanding Heart Attack 7 scoring a perfect 10 points. Carlos once again showed the World that he is the king of freestyle kiteboarding, and he is back on top. Maxime Chabloz was so close to claiming the win, but his final trick score fell slightly short, and he had to settle for second place here at this final event of the season. Erick Anderson finished in 3rd, delighted with his podium position, and Manoel Soares, who rode incredibly well during this ultra-competitive final, finished the event in 4th position.

“I’m really happy with second place,” said Maxime. “I mean, you always come here to win, but Brazil is such a challenging place to actually win. There are so many amazing riders here. The conditions are always good and everyone always shows their best. I’m definitely going to work hard for next year, and I will work on my big air skills.”

The final results for this event are: 

1st Carlos Mario

2nd Maxime Chabloz 

3rd Erick Anderson

4th Manoel Soares

Women’s Finals

The Women’s Final was an exciting mix, with our current World Champion Mikaili Sol looking to defend her title, going up against Rita Arnaus, Nathalie Lambrecht, and 3x former World Champion Karolina Winkowska. All four women rode consistently for the final, pushing each other to go further with each trick attempt. Mikaili Sol managed to gain a lead above her competitors, landing a Slim 5 scoring 9 points, as well as a massive 315 amongst her trick attempts. Rita Arnaus pulled together a spectacular heat, scoring 9 points for her powered Heart Attack. Karolina Winkowska landed several clean tricks proving how very experienced she is in competition. Her scores, however, were not quite enough to catch up to Mika and Rita. 

Mikaili finished the heat with a spectacular 317, scoring another perfect 10 points. It was an outstanding heat, where she cruised back to the beach as the 2021 GKA Freestyle World Champion and the winner of the GKA Freestyle World Cup Cumbuco. Yet another impressive accomplishment for this young athlete with a very bright future ahead of her. Rita Arnaus claimed 2nd place, a great reward for all of the hard work and commitment that she has put into her training this year. Karolina Winkowska claimed the 3rd podium position, an unreal come-back to her first freestyle competition in many years. Nathalie Lambrecht may not have made the podium, but she rode solidly for her first-ever final and finished this competition in 4th place.

For Mikaili Sol, it is yet another title, even though this final was a close call as Rita could have snapped up the win with her last trick attempt. “I was feeling a bit of pressure, and wasn’t getting the scores I wanted, “ explained Mikaili. “It all came down to Rita’s last trick, where she didn’t get the score she wanted. From there, the pressure was off, so I decided to go out and do a 317, and it was one of the best ones I have ever done in my life. I’m super stoked and happy for everything that has happened here at this event.”

“I felt really good,” said Rita. “That’s the most important part for me. I just wanted to do my best and enjoy the final to the maximum. I didn’t really realise that I was so close to Mika until my last trick, when I realised that I really had to just go for it. I went for a KGB, I missed the pop a little bit but I did my best. Mika is riding so well, it really inspires me to push myself. I hope to beat her one day, not too far away!”

 

The final results for this event are:

1st: Mikaili Sol

2nd: Rita Arnaus

3rd: Karolina Winkoska

4th: Nathalie Lambrecht

So once again, 16-year-old Mikaili Sol takes the win of both the GKA Freestyle World Cup Cumbuco together with the 2021 GKA Freestyle World Championship title, and Carlos Mario claimed the win today for this event, celebrating with hundreds of fans on the windy shores of Cumbuco. This location is always a spectacular place to finish the final event of the season. 

The action is not over yet, as we will again be LIVE tomorrow with a super-session. Be sure to follow our live-stream, live-ticker, and live-scoring on our website: www.gkakiteworldtour.com/live/

Check our Instagram stories for regular behind-the-scenes updates throughout the competition.

The post GKA Freestyle World Cup Cumbuco | Super Kite Brazil | The Finals appeared first on GKA Kite World Tour.

The action continued in Cumbuco, Brazil, as we progressed through the semi-finals, and crowned our new Men’s GKA Freestyle World Champion.

It was a rainy and stormy start as we headed into Day Three of action in Cumbuco, Brazil. The full Men’s and Women’s Eliminations were completed in 16-18 knot winds, showcasing the World’s very best freestyle talent, and with a new World Champion crowned.

Women’s Elimination 

Women’s Round 4 was first in sequence, where Nathalie Lambrecht advanced to the semi-finals together with former World Champion Karolina Winkoska. 

Rita Arnaus has been unstoppable since the start of this event, and her heat today for the semi-final 1 was another reflection of all of the hard work and effort she has been putting in her training. She advanced to the finals with a solid overall score of 26.07 points, together with Nathalie Lambrecht from Sweden who had a close fight with Pippa van Iersel for that much-desired spot in the finals, which is the first final ever for the Swedish rider. 

Semi-final 2 saw another dominating performance from Mikaili Sol, who blasted right into the heat landing a Slim 5 and scoring 9.50 points. She locked down her spot in tomorrow’s finals, and will be joined by former World Champion Karolina Winkowska, whose return to freestyle competition has been well rewarded. Karolina gave us a glimpse of the talent and style that gave her 3 x World Championship titles, and it will be exciting to see her performance in tomorrow’s finals. This unfortunately left another former World Champion, Bruna Kajiya, eliminated from the competition as she struggled to land various trick attempts, costing her valuable points. 

The battle right now for the World Championship is between Rita Arnaus & Mikaili Sol. In Sol ends up in 4th position, Mika can become World Champion.

Men’s Elimination

Round 5 was full of surprises, as only two riders from each heat could advance to the semi-finals. Heat 1 was all about the Brazilian super-duo – Multiple World Champion Carlos Mario and Manoel Soares, who boosted trick after trick, with Carlos winning the heat and clearing the way to the semi-finals. Manoel Soares dropped an outstanding 9.33 Heart Attack 7 to finish things off. 

Heat 2 continued with another strong Brazilian performance, this time for Erick Anderson, who pulled out a great overall score of 31.7 points, securing his spot in the semi-finals. The drama however was high between the remaining three riders of the heat, as Jeremy Burlando fought hard in order to remain in the competition and still have a shot at the World Championship title. Sadly, his final Slim 7 left him short of points, and Juan Rodriguez from Colombia advanced over him. Juan has been riding well since the start of the competition, and this heat really solidified his position as one of the top current athletes. One of the major upsets of the day saw the current World Champion Valentin Rodriguez eliminated from the competition in Round 5, a strong contrast from his winning performance here two years ago. 

Gianmaria Coccoluto from Italy showed significant evolution in his riding for Heat 3, where he advanced to the semi-finals joined by Louka Pitot from Mauritius, who performed well despite the fact that he is suffering with a foot injury.

All focus shifted to Heat 4, where Arthur Guillebert needed to place himself in the top three in order to be crowned World Champion. This was not an easy feat given the top contenders he was facing. Maxime Chabloz dominated the heat opening with a massive score of 9.03 points. Arthur struggled to find his focus, and dipped in and out of 4th position, but on his final trick attempt, he managed to catapult himself into 2nd place, allowing him to claim the 2021 Freestyle World Champion title, a well-deserved first for this well-rounded French rider. 

Men’s Semi-Finals
It was an intense match-up of powerful riders for semi-final 1. The wind conditions were lighter than the previous rounds, with the men riding 13-14m kites. The level was extremely high throughout with each rider throwing down powered trick after trick, each trying to go harder than the other. Carlos Mario was absolutely on fire, proving that he is back in action and fully recovered from his previous injury. Always receiving immense support from the public here at his homespot of Cumbuco, his riding today was a classic Bebe performance that reminded us of why he has won so many World Titles in the past. He advances to tomorrow’s finals, and is joined by fellow Brazilian Erick Anderson, who came in 2nd close behind him, landing all but one of his trick attempts. Arthur Guillebert, our new World Champion, unfortunately, crashed 4 of his 7 attempts, and could not advance further in this event. Louka Pitot also struggled during this heat with his current injury that made it hard for him to successfully land all of his attempts.

The wind, unfortunately, dropped during the second men’s semi-final, but the action will be back on tomorrow, with the first possible start called for 12:30 (GMT-3). Today we crowned our new Men’s Freestyle World Champion, but we will have to wait until tomorrow to see who will be our new Women’s World Champion. The event will continue with the men’s and women’s finals, so we can see who will become King and Queen of Cumbuco! Re-watch the Livestream of day 3

Be sure to follow our live-stream, live-ticker, and live-scoring on our website: www.gkakiteworldtour.com/live/

Check our Instagram stories for regular behind-the-scenes updates throughout the competition.

The post GKA Freestyle World Cup Cumbuco | Super Kite Brazil | Day Three appeared first on GKA Kite World Tour.

Report: Gemma Hamaini   All photos: Svetlana Romantsova

The riders were pumped and ready to go for an early start during day 2 of the GKA Freestyle World Cup Cumbuco, with approximate wind speeds of 14 to 17 knots. First in sequence was Men’s Round 3, where the winners of each heat advanced directly to Round 5, and those placing 2nd and 3rd would get a second chance in Round 4. The judging criteria remained the same as yesterday: Pure freestyle format. Riders had 7 trick attempts, with the top 4 scores counting. 

Men’s Round 3

The freestyle action was intense from the start, with the riders ecstatic to be back competing in Cumbuco. Men’s Round 3 saw Carlos Mario proving that he is back in business, landing an outstanding Double Heart Attack 5 scoring 8.60 points, and advancing directly to Round 5. Joining him were Manoel Soares, Jeremy Burlando, Valentin Rodriguez, Louka Pitot, Gianmaria Coccoluto, Maxime Chabloz, and Arthur Guillebert. With the top riders having locked down their Round 5 positions, the focus turned to Round 4 where the remaining riders needed to finish 1st or 2nd to advance.

Men’s Round 4

The battle intensified for Men’s Round 4, as riders had to qualify in 1st or 2nd position if they wanted to remain in the competition. Heat 1 was a tight race between Juan Rodriguez from Colombia and Dominican rider Posito Martinez. Both athletes finished with almost equal points, allowing them both to advance but eliminating Ewan Jaspen whose great style and execution, unfortunately, weren’t quite enough to top the scores of the other competitors. Veteran competitor Val Garat was also eliminated after crashing 4 of his 7 trick attempts. This means that both Val and Ewan are now out of the title race. 

Round 4, Heat 2 saw Erick Anderson put on a strong performance showing how comfortable he is riding on home territory, landing an impressive Slim 7 scoring 8.47 points. Anderson has always achieved good results at this event, and this year seems to be no exception. He was joined by fellow Brazilian Guilherme Costa with both advancing to Round 5. 

Alex Neto is another veteran on the World Tour, and for Heat 3 he stormed his way through landing all of his trick attempts. He advanced to the next round joined by another young Brazilian rider, Matheus Mendez. 

For the final heat of Round 4, Italian rider Matteo Dorotini advanced and passed through to Round 5 together with Egyptian rider Karim Mahmoud, who just managed to advance over 13-year-old Davi Ribeiro.

The pressure is high as the World Championship titles are still up for grabs, with the closest race being between Arthur Guillebert and Jeremy Burlando. If both of these riders reach the semi-finals, whichever one of them places higher will be crowned World Champion here in Cumbuco. If neither of them advance to the semi-finals, then the door opens for Posito Martinez and Karim Mahmoud. With all of this still at play, the stage is set for an intense few days of action here in Cumbuco.

Women’s Round 3

The winners of Round 3 advanced directly to the semi-finals, making it a highly competitive round from the very start. Rita Arnaus from Spain wasted no time and grabbed her spot in the semi-final beating 3x World Champion Karolina Winkoska during Heat 1. Rita landed a powered Heart Attack scoring 7.57 points, which boosted her overall score to a solid 27.61 points.

Pippa van Iersel always performs well at this location, and today was no exception as she advanced over local rider Estefania Rosa and Holly Keenan from the UK, by throwing down a clean KGB scoring 7.30 points.

Former World Champion Bruna Kajiya stormed through Heat 3, with her Slim Chance scoring 7.76 points, allowing her to advance over Claudia Leon and Alejandra Torres, who will have to fight for the second chance in Round 4.

The highlight of the day came during the final women’s heat of Round 3, where current World Champion Mikaili Sol scored a perfect 10 for her 317, a first landed for women in competition. She cleaned up with a total heat score of 33.43 and secured her spot in the semi-finals. All other competitors from this round get a second chance in Round 4.

“Honestly, I did not think I was going to make that!” said Mika. “I missed the pop completely, and just thought, okay, I’m going to go for it anyway. I was just as surprised as you guys were!”


The first possible start for tomorrow has been called for 10.30am, as the action continues here in Cumbuco, Brazil. With the World Titles still up for grabs, anything can still happen!

Be sure to follow our live-stream, live-ticker, and live-scoring on our website: www.gkakiteworldtour.com/live/

Check our Instagram stories for regular behind-the-scenes updates throughout the competition.

The post GKA Freestyle World Cup Cumbuco | Super Kite Brazil | Day Two appeared first on GKA Kite World Tour.

All photos: Svetlana Romantsova

The GKA Kite World Tour is excited to be back in Brazil for the final Freestyle stop of the year. The GKA Freestyle World Cup Cumbuco at Superkite Brazil is taking place next to the Duro Beach Hotel in Cumbuco.

In total 43 riders, 29 men and 14 women of 19 different nationalities registered to compete at the second and the last stop of the GKA Freestyle World Cup in Brazil

To everyone’s surprise Karolina Winkowska (POL), three times Freestyle World Champion, signed up to compete at this event after taking a long break from the competition scene. Tour veteran Paula Novotna (CZE), will not be competing at this event as she decided to focus on the wingfoiling and competing at GWA Wingfoil World Cup in Fortaleza straight after this event. Also, Hannah Whiteley (GBR) has decided not to compete, even though she finished third at the last event in Tarifa.

At the moment, any of the top five women Mikaili Sol (BRA), Pippa Van Iersel (NED), Rita Arnaus (ESP), Claudia Leon (ESP), and Nathalie Lambrecht (SWE) can be crowned as the World Champions this year.

Let’s not forget that the GKA Freestyle World Cup Tarifa was the first competition with Pure Big Air Format due to extreme weather conditions (40+ knots wind). In case you want to look back at the event in Tarifa click here to read the Aftermath article.

On the Men’s side, we can expect to see some well-known Freestyle riders like Valentin Rodriguez (COL),  Gianmaria Coccoluto (ITA) and Carlos Mario Bebe (BRA), fighting for the top positions here in Brazil. Even though, Arthur Guillebert (FRA), had shown that he can handle any conditions thrown at him as he claimed the first World Cup title of his career in Tarifa. Keep an eye on Jeremy Burlando (ESP), Ewan Jaspan (AUS), Posito Martínez (DOM), Valentin Garat (FRA) as they have enough points to get to the top and claim the World Champion Title.

“We are definitely going to see a very exciting last freestyle event in Brazil and we are not used to getting to the final stop of the year with so many different possible scenarios for the World Titles.” – says the Head Judge, Alvaro Onieva.

At this event, we have a pure freestyle format due to the lighter winds. Meaning that 4 tricks from 4 different trick families count from 7 attempts. Riders take turns to perform one trick in 45 seconds. 

Men’s Round 1 and 2

Today we started with the Men’s heats first at around midday. We saw a great performance from 13-years-old Brazilian groom Davi Ribeiro (BRA) who was throwing 319’s during his first heat allowing him to advance straight to Round 3 along with Carlos Martinez (DOM), Manoel Soares (BRA) and Jack Rieder (CAN). In Round 2, riders got a second chance to regain their positions, where Guilherme Costa (BRA) and Matheus Mendez (BRA) showed their best and managed to get through to Round 3.

Women’s Round 1

Women’s heats started in the late afternoon with a bit lighter winds than during the Men’s heats so ladies were on 10-13m2 kites. We managed to complete only Round 1 where a newcomer Holly Keenan (GBR) surprised everyone with some great riding and advanced straight to Round 3. Also, 3 times Freestyle World Champion Karolina Winkowska (POL) signed up for this event and scored the highest trick score of the day 7.73 by landing an Inverted Slim Chance. Tomorrow, we’ll continue with the Women’s Round 2 where a Brazilian Luiza Crispim will face Nina Font from Spain.

Skippers meeting has been called for 7:30 am tomorrow, with the first possible start at 8:00 am. 

Unfortunately, all live-stream gear and crew bags got lost on the way from Morocco to Brazil so we are trying to find a solution and do our best to get the live-stream started as soon as possible. Meanwhile, follow the live-ticker and live-scoring on our website: www.gkakiteworldtour.com/live/

Check our Instagram stories for regular behind-the-scenes updates throughout the competition.

The post GKA Freestyle World Cup Cumbuco at Super Kite Brazil | Day One appeared first on GKA Kite World Tour.

Sunday 27th June

Report: Sasha Jade / All photos: Samuel Cardenas / Video: Mintautas Grigas

The GKA Freestyle World Cup Tarifa 2021 was the first competition where the GKA Judges announced the Mixed Format introduced in 2019, where Freestyle and Big Air tricks count towards the final score. Depending on the given conditions, the weight given to each category shall be modified.

Light wind: Strong focus on Freestyle. 

Good wind: Mix of Freestyle with Big Air

Strong wind: Strong focus on Big Air. 

This was the first competition that the conditions that allowed this format to be run since it was introduced. The Judges are looking at: 

  1. Height and Amplitude: How much you project yourself – airtime traveled.
  2. Technical difficulty of maneuvers.
  3. Innovation
  4. Flow and Style: Inversions, tweaks, etc. 
  5. Kiteloops: Sent on the critical moment. (If not it’s considered a regular jump) 

This format allows judges to find the most complete rider, capable of performing in any conditions. It intends to push all aspects of riding, pushing the athletes out of their comfort zone to open up and express themselves. 

“I remember we had Tarifa 2008, where the conditions were nuking, and everybody was struggling hard with their freestyle tricks. We saw an unavoidable downgrade in the quality of maneuvers, so I’m very happy that we can adapt to the current conditions adding this given reward finally to big air that it deserves.”- confirms the GKA Head Judge Alvaro Onieva.

This may seem controversial to those pure freestyle fans, however, the judges ensure they are not trying to overpower the freestyle out of the tour. They intend to preserve the athletes and keep the innovation of the sport progressing to a new level of innovation.

‘It’s super important we have something we can adapt to all kinds of conditions. We experienced this in the past with strapless, and it was a tremendous success. It helped the tour to grow and athletes to innovate.” – explains the GKA Head Judge Alvaro Onieva.

By day three we were down to the final heats, ready to take on the final battle and claim the first crown of the year. As we went through the heat and the competition rhythm, we saw that although hesitant at first, riders were adapting incredibly well to the new format.  

“They were even scoring higher than we all expected, not only from the technical side but from all aspects” – confirms Alvaro Onieva.

As you have all probably experienced at some stage, there is no guarantee of smooth sailing with any introduction. The unfamiliar often feel’s uncomfortable until it’s not. 

“It’s more mentally challenging, but once you do it you’re like; oh that was easy.” – affirms the GKA Freestyle World Cup Tarifa champion Mikaili Sol (BRA).

By the finals, the brave ladies had been watching the men struggle to hold on to their smallest kites all morning, building their nerves heat at a time. 

“It was more stressful being out of the water and seeing the guys go in with that wind… But once you go out there you realize that you can hold it as long as you’re confident of yourself.”- confirms Rita Arnaus (ESP).

Young Mikaili Sol (BRA) showed her dominance in the sport once again, totalling 20+ point averages back to back. Without looking back, Mika fearlessly claimed her way to the first place on the podium!

Pippa Van Iersel (NLD) looped back strong, giving the Brazilian a run for her money. She managed to gain enough height to take her up to second place.

Hannah Whiteley (GBR) held her ground throughout the competition, consistently pulling powerful executions that gave her what she needed to progress to third place. 

Rita Arnaus (ESP) coming in with Spanish fire from the semi-finals, but couldn’t quite maintain the heat that Sol was emitting this time, leaving her in fourth place. 

These ladies proved to us the only limits are those you set in your mind as they took on the battlefield throughout the event. Mad respect for all of these incredible women. 

The Levante may have driven us crazy on the nuking shores of Tarifa, but what we just saw in the following was downright INSANE. By the men’s final, the riders took the scores stratospherical.

Arthur Guillebert (FRA) had been in flames since the beginning of the event, showing that he can handle any conditions thrown at him. The flipping Frenchman hasn’t messed a beat since the first green flag that rose, and proceeded to claim the first World Cup title of his career! 

Jeremy Burlando (ITA) taking an early lead, a new rookie on tour pulling a move from move-in his dance with the big names in the final. Italian Stallion had got glimpses of the glistening crown as he boosted his way up the ladder to second place.

Ewan Jaspan (AUS) clearly had no jet lag from his journey from Australia staying wide awake whilst taking a very smooth lead, really impressing the judges with the technical difficulty of his executed tricks throughout the competition claiming his way to a solid third place. 

The Dominican Adeuri Corniel (DOM) throwing kite loop after kite loop, taking him up above the skylines of Morrocco all the way to fourth place. 

The wind was nuking beyond the pro’s anticipation and the spectators were in between excited and nervous, as they attempt to keep their eyes open through the blasting sand storm. The primary battle was between the Riders and the wind but they adapted and performed to the new format above and beyond our expectations taking the level of riding to whole new heights.

Ewan Jaspan (AUS) originally coming from a freestyle background began venturing to the Park riding scene seeking variety was extremely stoked with the implementation of the Mixed format. 

“It was kind of narrowing into one category of freestyle where all you could do was focus on going huge and spinning lots. The guys who were at the top were getting younger and younger cause that’s the only age you can cop that kind of stuff. I’m not old but I’m 27 and I can’t do that kind of stuff anymore…

It’s nice to see the judges rewarding not just the spin to win stuff, but being able to go out and focus on different things. And hopefully, they keep that up!” – says Ewan Jaspan.

Although it may not seem it, the risk of riding Freestyle in strong conditions is higher than Big Air. 

“Every landing is like grinding you don’t in freestyle, whereas Big Air is mellow unless you have a really bad crash.” – explains Ewan.

“If they wanted us to do Freestyle in that wind, I would have been like; no, let’s do big air. Freestyle would have been an even bigger risk.” – confirms Mikaili. 

These riders have been persevering to climb up the ladder for 2 solid days hanging on strongly through the gnarly Levante. Up and above their comfort zone from the first day with the pure Big Air format the conditions required.  Each and every one of them showed up with courage, bringing everything they had to the roaring shores of this event and invited us to be entertained.

Meet The GKA Freestyle World Cup Tarifa 2021 | BIG AIR podium! 

MEN:
1. A. Guillebert (FRA)
2. J. Burlando (ITA)
3. E. Jaspan (AUS)
4. A. Corniel (DOM)

WOMEN:
1. M. Sol (BRA)
2. P. Van Iersel (NLD)
3. H. Whiteley (GBR)
4. R. Arnaus (ESP)

Thanks to all of the sponsors, organizers, and crew for hosting the GKA Freestyle World Cup Tarifa event. Despite the challenging wind conditions, it was amazing to have all the riders coming together at this iconic spot. See you next year Tarifa!

The next stop is the GKA Kite-Surf World Sylt, in Germany, 17-22 August. 

The post GKA Freestyle World Cup Tarifa 2021 | THE AFTERMATH appeared first on GKA Kite World Tour.

Friday 25th June

Report: Sasha Jade / All photos: Samuel Cardenas / Video: Mintautas Grigas

Happy Friday Ladies and Gentlemen! Currently Reporting to you sheltered in a container as the sandstorm continues to blast. The angry wind has coated the remaining blue of the ocean with whirling whitecaps to the shoreline.

The Atmosphere on the beach is intense as the riders huddled behind the gear container, in an attempt to hear the judges over the loud Levante in the first skippers’ meeting.

Due to the dangerously overpowered conditions for any form of Freestyle, it was no surprise to the riders when the judges announced the format of the day to be pure Big-Air. The talk went straight to safety measures.

Judging by today’s conditions the primary battle would continue to be between the Riders and the wind. With that in mind, the Judges decided on changing the rules to one man on the battlefield at a time to ensure the safety of the riders.

The athletes competing in the heat would conquer the battlefield 7 times, returning to the shore after each trick attempt, to clear the competition area for the next competitor to take the stage. The judges will be counting the best 3 tricks.

We shortly followed into heat 16, and all eyes are on the battlefield as the warriors are known to conquer. Initially, the battle was between Carlos Mario (BRA) and Valentín Rodriguez (COL) as they answered each other back with their Loops. 

By the third trick, Lorenzo Calcano (DOM) stepped up overtaking Mario as he one-upped his previous Kiteloop Backroll. 

Mario worked his way back with his next trick attempt, pulling the first board of the day. But Calcano didn’t give up then, responding with one of his own. Not quite managing to get the Frontroll in, he fell behind. 

Gianmaria Coccolutto (ITA) silently shadowed his competitors throughout the heat, not calling any attention to him until he unexpectedly took center stage with a HUGE Kiteloop, reaching the highest score of the Heat! 

You could tell Rodriguez who was confidently holding his first place, wasn’t so sure anymore as he began to defend his position. 

Calcano wasn’t going to let Coccolutto claim the overtake as he looped his way back up and over to second place. Mario Followed right behind him, consistently landing his remaining tricks.

Silent but deadly Coccoluto was far from silent in this re-run. Italian stallion rode those white caps like a boss, terminating the battlefield from the green flag get-go. He must be hiding some deep pockets in his suit to store all those moves. He finished us off taking one foot out to step his way over to the next round.

The judges continued to progress into the women’s competition, ensuring they got their time on the battlefield to climb up the ladder. Te brave ladies had been watching the men struggle to hold on to their smallest kites all morning, building their nerves heat at a time. 

But the show much goes on! And these queens proved to us the only limits are those you set in your mind as they took on the battlefield throughout the day. Mad respect to these inspiring woman.

 Rita Arnaus (ESP) kicking us off with a solid heat, game face on as she fully focused on timing finding the perfect moments to show her confidence in her abilities.

Estefânia Rosa (BRA) hasn’t had easy heats’ this competition, but once again she held her ground nicely throughout the heat. Arnaus spun her way to the Semi’s with an uncannily smooth backroll, that made us question the hectic conditions for a split second. 

Nathalie Lambrecht (SWE) had been training hard under Luca Pitot’s (FRA) wing and was disappointed she didn’t get the chance to show us what she’s learned in her challenging heat yesterday. 

Although the conditions were tougher, she took her second chance with a smile and came back with a bang! She must have been taking good notes from Pitot, as she dominated the battlefield with confidence, variety, and power taking the scores up and over the men’s category. The queen continued her climb to the throne in the Semis.

Promptly flipping straight back into round 5 of the men’s, we had a chance to understand Lambrecht’s progression, as Luca Pitot (FRA) boosted straight up and away to the dunes capturing the judge’s attention consistently throughout his heat. 

Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to maintain it, as Fellow French man Arthur Guillebert (FRA) made all of us dizzy drawing our eyes to his unmissable Kiteloop Frontrolls he kept banging out like a machine gun. 

Ewan Jaspan (AUS) fired back and hit the target with the highest-scoring one, securing himself another shot in the Semi’s.

In the following heat both Dominicans, Adeuri Corniel (DOM), and Joselito Del Rosario (DOM) brought their spice back to the battlefield each determined to be the one to take the crown back to their homelands. 

Jeremy Burlando (ESP) splashed that dream out of the water for Del Rosario, as he overtook both Dominicans by just a few winning points! 

After Gianmaria Coccoluto’s (ITA) last performance the eyes were peeled on him as the audience wondered if the Colombian had anything left for them in his secret pocket. 

He clearly wasn’t expecting the stash of front rolls the flipping Frenchmen spun out. Between Paul Serin (FRA) Valentin Garat (FRA) they spun their competitors dizzy for the following few trick attempts. 

As the time ran out and Valentín Rodriguez (DOM) fell behind, realizing it was time to whip out what he had been storing for us in his back pocket, doubling up the Kiteloop Backrolls of the heat. 

But doubling up wasn’t enough to overtake the French men. 

Garat and Serin tailed each other closely in the lead, Serin’s total score leaving him one step closer than his teammate to the finish line. 

He flipped straight to the Semi’s, but it’s not over for Garat just yet, as he gets another chance to overtake Serin there!

The Levante may be driving us crazy here on the nuking shores of Tarifa, but what we just saw in the following was downright INSANE. 

The riders took the scores stratospherical.

Karim Mahmoud (EGY) clearly found the portal to another planet down in Egypt. He was the first to set the bar with his Kiteloop Double Frontroll, raising the trick score to a high 8.43! With Posito Martinez (DOM) right behind him, he maintained his position till the end pulling a Double Boogie-loop so big that he ran out of comp ground. The entire shore was boogying to that one as they cheered loud enough to reach the Alien.

Martinez must have found another portal in DR, flying through it with his last 2 tricks, also defying gravity with his unexplainable Kiteloop Frontroll scoring a 9.7 highest scoring trick of the day so far!
Unfortunately for the audience, Mascher of mischief Oswald Smith (ZAF) wasn’t feeling mischievous enough to follow them up to space. 

We were flying up the ladder with this wind. By 17.00 pm we reached the women’s Semifinals! The Ladies took their turn with a smile on their face as they now knew what they are up for and know they can handle it. 

What a show they put on, answering each other back consistently throughout the heat. Claudia León (ESP) was the first to turn the heat up a notch with her Double Backroll, but both Rita Arnaus (ESP) and Bruna Kajiya (BRA) showed they were used to the warmth as they met the Spanish Señorita there without breaking a sweat. 

It was Arnaus who cranked the heat up all the way in her last 2 trick attempts looping the backrolls to another level scoring her a fiery 7.5, the extra spice that she needed to make it through to the final battle. 

Pippa Van Iersel (NED) attempted to loop up there with her in her last trick, proving that she too can handle the heat of a queen. It wasn’t enough to prove herself worthier than Arnaus that time, but it was enough to give her another chance, and take her through the final battle!

It didn’t get any cooler in the next heat. We’re all scorching by the end of it! The conquering queens that caught our attention in their previous performance were drawn to face each other in the last heat of the Semis. 

Mikaili Sol (BRA) showed her confidence upon entry, as she kicked the heat off with a Double Frontroll Board-off without breaking a sweat. She must have made her rivals nervous as they all struggled to answer back at that volume. Sol didn’t stop there as she looped her way even higher, scooping us speechless with her smooth execution. 

Hannah Whiteley (GBR) held her ground, slowly adapting to the heat Sol was emitting. Sol continued to roll over her competitors, landing another double smoothly once again, but Whiteley bit back with a substantial board off, showing she wasn’t ready to roll over yet. 

Sol clearly wasn’t expecting that, as she struggled to locate that confidence in her next three attempts. Whitely continued to hold her ground, gaining points on the undefeated Sol. Whiteley looped her way up to Sol’s level in the final minutes of the heat, nearly overtaking Sol’s previous attempt. But Sol wasn’t having any of it, looping back into action to ensure she could claim the crown of the Kiteloops.

We’re almost there folks, all the warriors have managed to power climb up the ladder to the finals! Valentin Garat (FRA) was back to kick off the first heat of the men’s Semi’s with a Double Frontroll Kite loop that made a statement that he was ready to take his second chance to the crown.

Each rider proceeded to answer back, reminding Garat wasn’t the only one that was ready. Arthur Guillebert (FRA) showed just how ready he was, surpassing Garats Double, continuing to boosting up his score flipping the audience all over the place as they couldn’t keep their eyes off the machine! 

The remaining riders continued to climb their way to the new heights guillotine Guillebert was flying to, but as they were gaining ground so was he, determined to be the first to the crown. Garat persistently looped his way closer, not ready to give up, but Jeremy Burlando (ESP) managed to gain the height he needed doubling the altitude of his previous double Backroll Kiteloop at the last moment to take him to the finals!

With only 2 spots left in the final battle, the pressure was on in the next heat. Looks like it was enough to crack young Serin as he came crashing off the ladder. The warrior took a gnarly beating from a gust, leaving him defeated after a long tiring climb.

The remaining riders in the heat kept their game face on as they chased each other up the ladder. Ewan Jaspan (AUZ) was in the lead after adding a double to his first Backroll. Posito Martinez (DOM) was right behind him, Tic taking his way up, but as the time ran out, Adeuri Corniel (DOM) flipped his way in front of him sending us all squinting into the sun with his massive Kiteloop Frontroll. 

Posito persisted, answering back with one of his own, but it wasn’t enough to overtake his fellow Dominican. Corniel nearly looped his way past Jaspan with his last Kiteloop of the heat, but Jaspan held his ground giving the audience one last thrill with the variety of his Frontroll Contraloop. 

We were down to our final warriors, ready to take on the final battle claim the first crown of the year.

The Women’s finalists put back on their armor and head back to the water. Wind still neuking, and the girls continued to battle the conditions move to move. Young Mikaili Sol (BRA) showed her dominance in the sport once again, totaling 20+ point averages back to back. Without looking back, the queen fearlessly claimed her way to the crown!

Pippa Van Iesel (NED) looped back strong, giving the Brazillian a run for her money. Unfortunately, missed her last reach to the crown but strongly secured the second position.

 Hannah Whiteley (GBR) pushed through some tough Levante gusts pulling together a decent part of her repertoire secured her third-place position on the power podium.  Rita Arnaus (ESP) coming in with Spanish fire from the semi-finals, couldn’t quite maintain the heat up as she struggled to land her bigger moves.

The queens head back to the shores of their kingdom as the final gladiators head out for the last battle of the day! Although the Spanish summer sun remained up, it was already 20.00 o clock! 

Jeremy Burlando (ITA) taking an early lead, a new rookie on tour pulling a move from move-in his dance with the big names in the final. Italian Stallion had got glimpses of the glistening crown as he boosted his way up the ladder to the final. He knew he was getting closer and continued full speed ahead to claim it.

The Dominican Adeuri Cornieu followed a different strategy, leaving the best till last. In the final moments of the heat, he gathered all his remaining energy, throwing Kiteloop above the skylines of Morrocco! But it wasn’t high enough to take the 3rd position from Ewan Jaspan (AUS) who solidly held his ground throughout the heat

Arthur Guillebert has been in flames since the beginning of the event, showing that he can handle any conditions thrown at him. The flipping Frenchman hasn’t messed a beat since the first green flag that rose. He politely removed his board stepping over Burlando, his last obstacle to the crown, and proceeded to claim the first World Cup title of his career!

Meet The GKA Freestyle World Cup Tarifa 2021 | BIG AIR podium! 

MEN:
1. A. Guillebert (FRA)
2. J. Burlando (ITA)
3. E. Jaspan (AUS)
4. A. Corniel (DOM)

WOMEN:
1. M. Sol (BRA)
2. P. Van Iersel (NLD)
3. H. Whiteley (GBR)
4. R. Arnaus (ESP)

These warriors have been perservering to climb up the ladder for 2 solid days hanging on strongly through the gnarly Levante. Up and above their comfort zone from the first day with the new pure big air format the conditions required.

Each and every one of them showed up with courage, bringing everything they had to the uninviting shores of this event and invited us to be entertained.
They all head back for a well-deserved drink. But we’re not celebrating yet as they will be returning at noon (12.00 pm-CET) for one last chance to express themselves on this battlefield, in case they left anything behind!

The official celebration will be held Sunday Afternoon. Stay tuned!

The post GKA Freestyle World Cup Tarifa 2021 | FLIGHT TO THE FINALS appeared first on GKA Kite World Tour.

Thursday 24th June

Report: Sasha Jade / All photos: Samuel Cardenas / Video: Mintautas Grigas

Good morning from the nuking shores of Tarifa! The wind blew the riders into action right away as the riders began to set up their quiver and are blast their zone-in playlist upon arrival. 

Rules: 7 trick attempts, best 4 counting (2 freestyle 2 big air tricks) We want to take into consideration some big air elements but keep in mind this is a Freestyle event. 

We promptly picked up right where we left off, planning to power through as much of the ladder as the conditions allowed. Based on yesterday’s feedback from the riders, the judges have decided to thread the women’s heats between the men’s, intending on preserving all of the athlete’s energy throughout the day to ensure their best performance. Although the wind was nuking beyond expectations, bearing in mind this was a Freestyle competition the judges tried to maintain the Freestyle element as primary as they continuing into the Mixed format applied the previous day ( 7 trick attempts, best 4 counting: 2 Freestyle 2 Big Air tricks). 

“We will adapt to you, giving you more time based on the conditions. We are open to feedback about the new mixed format, and insist on open communication between us.” – Emphasises Juan Antonio (Race director) in the first skippers meeting. The Judges are doing their best to give freedom to the Riders as they introduce this new format into the tour. 

“Make sure you focus as much as possible in every category (Technical difficulty…). We are looking for the most complete rider; Quality over quantity. How much you stretch, how much you rotate, how much you grab, how much you tweak out. We really focus on the individual element, so express yourself to the fullest.”Alvaro Onieva (Head Judge)

Due to the light conditions, the judges decided to not rush into the competition today, and preserve the rider’s energy for the big forecast ahead. By midday, the women were released, keeping the men on hold in case of the wind’s early arrival.

The riders took advantage of this time to get familiar with the judging criteria and arrive on the same page before heading to the battlefield.

Judges have already introduced the Mixed format, where Freestyle and Big Air tricks count towards the final score, the weight given to each category will be announced by the Head Judge (Alvaro Onieva) and in the Official Notice Board at least thirty (30) minutes before the start of the heat. There will definitely be prevailing elements of big air in the judging by the purple forecast.  

This format will allow the judges to find the most complete rider, capable of performing in any conditions. They are intending to push all aspects of riding, pushing the athletes out of their comfort zone to open up and express themselves. 

This may seem controversial to those pure freestyle fans, but judges ensure they are not trying to overpower the freestyle out of the tour, their intention is to preserve the athletes and keep the innovation progressing to a new level of innovation.

“Our idea is to keep some meaning of freestyle in the criteria unless the conditions simply do not allow it. We’ve seen many injuries and we want to protect the riders.” – Confirms Alvaro Onieva (Head Judge) 

Riders have 7 attempts at pulling their best tricks in the given conditions, but only the best 4 will be counted by the judges.

By 14.00 pm the sun came out, and buoys were placed as the wind slowly continued to fill in and the whitecaps made their appearance. 

By 15.00 pm The wind was filling in enough to raise the first green flag of the competition, powering up the electric energy here on the stadium shores of Tarifa.  

The first appearance back on the freestyle battlefield and Christophe Tack (BEL) is already taking the center stage pulling an impressive slim 7 as his first trick. Robin Goetgebuer (BEL) played it safe, getting his variety in but safe was not enough to take on Steeze Maestro Tack, who continued to spice up his tricks with grabs and power.

He definitely proved he’s still got it taking the first win of the day with a high score of 24.61! “I’m nervous about tomorrow as I haven’t ridden my small kites in a while, but I’m definitely having fun back out on the battlefield, and that’s always a good sign for me, fun is where the magic happens.”– Says Christophe Tack fresh out the water with a smile spread across his face.

The wind continued to blow us through heat 2, where local boys Jerome Cloetens (ESP) and Nico Franco (ESP) turned their training spot into the battlefield thrilling us all. Cloetens continued to claim his local beach with an impressive KGB right on the shore, really amping up the volume in the audience with his Double Hinterberger Frontside 3. You could really tell this is his home spot, as he continued to land his 7 tricks, taking the win with great confidence and variety. His bestie Franco was right there behind him taking second place, unfortunately, Luca Seer (AUT) could not steal the spotlight from the pair of them leaving the stage for this round.

The wind took a quick power nap during the 16.30 pm siesta, keeping us on hold for a while, but the Poniente came back to say its last goodbye for a final blow before completely changing directions, which was enough to get us through the following 2 heats of the Men’s division. 

Ewan Jaspan (AUS) clearly had no jet lag from his journey from Australia staying wide awake whilst taking a very smooth lead, really impressing the judges with the technical difficulty of his executed tricks. Lorenzo Calcano (DR) managed to hold his place landing 7 different tricks but unfortunately, it seems Matteo Doronti (ITA) didn’t come on his Italian Stallion to this event and couldn’t quite reach the next round. 

In Heat 4 another local legend Manu Depfyffer (CHE) woke up the crowds with a massive KGB and continued making his hometown proud performing consistently throughout the rest of the heat. You can tell the support is strong when the local boys are on the water, as the cheers crank up a couple of notches.

Julian Krikken (FRA) definitely earned some of the noise with his Double Hinterberger FS3, but he struggled to keep his confidence up over the loud cheers of De Pfyffers friends and family on the shores. Looks like Michele Berti (ITA) had a tough one as he struggled with the light wind, not able to make it through. 

As the wind continued to change direction, the Poniente continued to fade. The judges released the riders early for the day, sending them home to rest for the big day up ahead of them that followed. We will be resuming where we left off with Men’s heat 5, with an early first possible start at 10.00 am (CET). 

Although the wind was teasing us throughout the day, nobody is stressed here at the competition as the next days are looking solid. The energy is cranked up high from the shores to the battlefield and everyone is looking forward to the rest of the event. 

Make sure to get your rest to stay tuned for the full day of action tomorrow!

Check out the Highlight video for a visual depiction of today’s action. 

The post GKA Freestyle World Cup Tarifa 2021 | DAY TWO appeared first on GKA Kite World Tour.

Tuesday 22th June

Report: Sasha Jade / All photos: Samuel Cardenas / Video: Mintautas Grigas

After a long wait, the GKA Freestyle World Cup Tarifa is back! What better place to hold the first event of 2021 than the OG Mecca of kiteboarding. Sitting on the most southernmost tip of Spain where the Mediterranean and Atlantic meet. Because of its unique position, Tarifa is the wind capital of Europe and is constantly buffered by two conflicting winds: the Levante from the east and the Poniente from the west. The energy of Tarifa is electric. Kilometers long white sandy beaches, and through the kite dotted sky, the outlines of Africa lie. The percentage of top riders who’ve grown up here or chosen to make Tarifa their home is high. Over the years it has manufactured many of the biggest names in the sport, giving them the opportunity to train in a wide variety of conditions which we will be seeing over this week!

It looks like it will be a slow start today here at the Tarifa Kite pro, the wind is living up to the local laid-back southern schedule. But don’t you worry, if there’s one thing I know about my hometown, is that when Tarifa shows up, it always comes with full force. The Poniente is politely turning itself over for the Levante to blow our minds. With the forecast in the purple zone, you better strap in, we’re in for a treat!  

A total of 40 riders raging across 16 different nationalities registered to take their skills to the electric shores. Aside from the young emerging talents that have claimed the stage over the past couple of years, we have a few unexpected appearances from riders who have earned their respect from the early stages of the tour. 

Steeze maestro Christophe Tack (BEL), power woman Hannah Whitely (GBR), and mischief-maker Oswald Smith (ZAF) have rocked up here and we’re all curious to see what they have for us in their back pocket this time! 

Due to the light conditions, the judges decided to not rush into the competition today, and preserve the rider’s energy for the big forecast ahead. By midday, the women were released, keeping the men on hold in case of the wind’s early arrival.

The riders took advantage of this time to get familiar with the judging criteria and arrive on the same page before heading to the battlefield.

Judges have already introduced the Mixed format, where Freestyle and Big Air tricks count towards the final score, the weight given to each category will be announced by the Head Judge (Alvaro Onieva) and in the Official Notice Board at least thirty (30) minutes before the start of the heat. There will definitely be prevailing elements of big air in the judging by the purple forecast.  

This format will allow the judges to find the most complete rider, capable of performing in any conditions. They are intending to push all aspects of riding, pushing the athletes out of their comfort zone to open up and express themselves. 

This may seem controversial to those pure freestyle fans, but judges ensure they are not trying to overpower the freestyle out of the tour, their intention is to preserve the athletes and keep the innovation progressing to a new level of innovation.

“Our idea is to keep some meaning of freestyle in the criteria unless the conditions simply do not allow it. We’ve seen many injuries and we want to protect the riders.” – Confirms Alvaro Onieva (Head Judge) 

Riders have 7 attempts at pulling their best tricks in the given conditions, but only the best 4 will be counted by the judges.

By 14.00 pm the sun came out, and buoys were placed as the wind slowly continued to fill in and the whitecaps made their appearance. 

By 15.00 pm The wind was filling in enough to raise the first green flag of the competition, powering up the electric energy here on the stadium shores of Tarifa.  

The first appearance back on the freestyle battlefield and Christophe Tack (BEL) is already taking the center stage pulling an impressive slim 7 as his first trick. Robin Goetgebuer (BEL) played it safe, getting his variety in but safe was not enough to take on Steeze Maestro Tack, who continued to spice up his tricks with grabs and power.

He definitely proved he’s still got it taking the first win of the day with a high score of 24.61! “I’m nervous about tomorrow as I haven’t ridden my small kites in a while, but I’m definitely having fun back out on the battlefield, and that’s always a good sign for me, fun is where the magic happens.”– Says Christophe Tack fresh out the water with a smile spread across his face.

The wind continued to blow us through heat 2, where local boys Jerome Cloetens (ESP) and Nico Franco (ESP) turned their training spot into the battlefield thrilling us all. Cloetens continued to claim his local beach with an impressive KGB right on the shore, really amping up the volume in the audience with his Double Hinterberger Frontside 3. You could really tell this is his home spot, as he continued to land his 7 tricks, taking the win with great confidence and variety. His bestie Franco was right there behind him taking second place, unfortunately, Luca Seer (AUT) could not steal the spotlight from the pair of them leaving the stage for this round.

The wind took a quick power nap during the 16.30 pm siesta, keeping us on hold for a while, but the Poniente came back to say its last goodbye for a final blow before completely changing directions, which was enough to get us through the following 2 heats of the Men’s division. 

Ewan Jaspan (AUS) clearly had no jet lag from his journey from Australia staying wide awake whilst taking a very smooth lead, really impressing the judges with the technical difficulty of his executed tricks. Lorenzo Calcano (DR) managed to hold his place landing 7 different tricks but unfortunately, it seems Matteo Doronti (ITA) didn’t come on his Italian Stallion to this event and couldn’t quite reach the next round. 

In Heat 4 another local legend Manu Depfyffer (CHE) woke up the crowds with a massive KGB and continued making his hometown proud performing consistently throughout the rest of the heat. You can tell the support is strong when the local boys are on the water, as the cheers crank up a couple of notches.

Julian Krikken (FRA) definitely earned some of the noise with his Double Hinterberger FS3, but he struggled to keep his confidence up over the loud cheers of De Pfyffers friends and family on the shores. Looks like Michele Berti (ITA) had a tough one as he struggled with the light wind, not able to make it through. 

As the wind continued to change direction, the Poniente continued to fade. The judges released the riders early for the day, sending them home to rest for the big day up ahead of them that followed. We will be resuming where we left off with Men’s heat 5, with an early first possible start at 10.00 am (CET). 

Although the wind was teasing us throughout the day, nobody is stressed here at the competition as the next days are looking solid. The energy is cranked up high from the shores to the battlefield and everyone is looking forward to the rest of the event. 

Make sure to get your rest to stay tuned for the full day of action tomorrow!

Check out the Highlight video for a visual depiction of today’s action. 

The post GKA Freestyle World Cup Tarifa 2021 | DAY ONE appeared first on GKA Kite World Tour.