Posts Tagged ‘Tarifa’

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.

Sessions – From Above featuring Oswald Smith

Posted: 23rd Dezember 2019 by Paula Pintão in Allgemein
Original Post: http://kitemovement.com
Tags: , , , , , ,

Watch Oswald Smith shredding at the world-famous kiting destination of Tarifa, Spain. Enjoy 3 and a half minutes of pure action!

Filmed & Edited by
Kyle Cabano

Music
Francis Peve – Wild Pogo

Watch Nobile team riders, Katarzyna Lange, Gosia Kolacz, Maxi Gomez, Wojtek Andrzejewski, Jan Korycki and Michal Kamyk, playing in Tarifa with the new 2020 boards collection.

Video by Alexander James Lewis-Hughes Knot Future Media.

Travel to Tarifa with Robby Naish, Kevin Langeree and the boys: Clement Huot, Lucas Ferreira, Stig Hoefnagel, Cohan Van Dijk, Tom Seager, Rene Barner and Davide Fontanesi. Enjoy watching “Naish House Tarifa”!

Filmed and edited by: LightBros Creative

Stig Hoefnagel // Tarifa

Posted: 11th August 2019 by Paula Pintão in Allgemein
Original Post: http://kitemovement.com
Tags: , , , , , ,

Stig Hoefnagel going big in Tarifa! Check out his short clip packed with some massive jumps.

The GKA Kite World Cup 2019 is now in Tarifa. Check out the highlights of Day 1.

From 2nd-7th July, GKA Kite World Tour returns to the European Mecca of kitesurfing, Tarifa. Stay tuned for all the action at Valdevaqueros beach! Watch the teaser of the event.