Report By: Holly Keenan   Photos by: Samuel Cardenas

Tonight saw the opening of the Qatar Airways GKA Awards night with GKA Riders, crew and sponsors all gathered together to celebrate some of the most monumental moments in kitesurfing!

This event was a very important night for the GKA as it marked the official partnership with Qatar Airways as headline sponsor of the GKA Kite World Tour.


Lewis and Jo Comentating GKA Awards

 The Qatar Airways GKA awards were hosted at Teatro Municipal Alameda, in the heart of Tarifa, with over 230 people attending. 

We were delighted to have some very special guests at this event with Senior Vice President of Discover Qatar, Steven Reynolds, Mayor of Tarifa, and CEO of the GKA World Tour, Jorgen Vogt.

Our presenters were the master duo, Jo Ciastula and Lewis Crathern who made for a very enternating night indeed. 

It’s safe to say that kitesurfers make for a noisier audience than normal! The energy was electric, with huge cheers from the audience all night long. 

We had six awards to be presented tonight and they were as follows: 

  • Women’s Move of the Year Award
  • Men’s Move Of the Year Award
  • Men’s Rider Of the Year Award
  • Women’s Rider Of the Year Award
  • Rookie Of the Year Award
  • Best Social Contribution of the Year Awards


The first award of the night to be handed out was the women’s move of the year. This award was presented by GKA Tour Manager, Tom Hartmann. The move of the year award is about having all the kitesurfing disciplines combined and discerning which move stood out the most across the board. 


The Nominees for Women’s Move of the Year Award were as follows:

  • Therese Taabbel
  • Mikali Sol 
  • Capucine Dellannoy 
  • Therese Taabbel 
  • Pippa Van Earsal 
  • Karolina Winkowska
  • Camille Losserand 
  • Moona Whyte 

Mikali Sol is the official winner of the Womens’ move of the year award! 

Mikali is continuously pushing womens’ kitesurfing to the next level and this spectacular S-mobe 7 was by far the best move we have seen by a female rider this year. Not only is Mika the only female to ever pull off this trick but, her style and perfect execution has no doubt set her in a league of her own.

GKA Awards Mikali Sol

The Nominees for Mens’ Move of the Year Award were as follows: 

  • Maxime Chabloz 
  • Andrea Principi 
  • Joshua Emanuel 
  • Airton Cozzolino 
  • Charles Brodel
  • Camille Delannoy
  • Giel Vlugt 
  • Gianmaria Coccoluto 
  • Tom Bridge 
  • Janek Grezegorzewski
  • Jesse Richman 

Giel Vlugt, the official winner of the men’s move of the year award! 

Giel Vlugt has been training big air kitesurfing for only two years and has already shown himself to be one of the best big air riders in the world! Giel’s magnificent S-loop has set itself apart from the other nominees’ moves. This trick requires a tremendous amount of risk factor and technical ability. Giel is without a doubt, a well-deserved winner of this award. 

  • “To be here with all these legends just felt insane, I don’t think I have ever felt anything like this.” 
Giel Vlugt GKA Awards

After the announcement of the move of the year, we moved on to the social contribution of the year award which was presented by Jaime Herraiz. 

This is about celebrating riders who have shared the beauty of the sport,not only in the kitesurfing world but also outside of it. It’s about giving back to the sport that riders have gained so much joy from. 

The Nominees for the Social Contribution of the Year Award were as follows: 

  • Willow River Tonkin 
  • Graham Howes 
  • Mitu Montiero 
  • Lewis Crathern 
  • Marcella Witt

Willow River-Tonkin was the winner of the Social Contribution of the Year award!

Willow is much more than just a  ‘professional kitesurfer’. Willow has been a part of countless charity ventures and uses his social media as a platform to showcase his fundraisers and encourage people into the crazy world of kitesurfing. The ultaristic kitesurfer took the well deserved win for this award! 

Willow River tonkin

Rookie of the year award was all about those groms. This award wants to celebrate all the amazing young talent we have in kitesurfing.

The Nominees for rookie of the year award were as follows:

  • Fin Flugel 
  • Daivide Ribeiro 
  • Keanu Mertens 
  • Pierfrancesco Rizzelo 
  • Maxime Luan Desjardin 
  • Robbie Stewart 
  • Guilherme Costa

Fin Flugel took home the win for the Rookie Of The Year Award 

From freestyle to big air, surfing to winging… this kid is a jack of all trades, master of all! It seems like everyone has had their eye on Fin at this event as he has been on the water performing for us in front of the GKA Testing site at Valdevaqueros beach. His progression has skyrocketed over the last few months and we are excited to see what is to come of this kitesurf prodigy.

Fin Fugal GKA Awards

Our final, most prestigious award of the year, the one everyone had been waiting for, was rider of the year award.

This award is not just looking at the talent and skill of a rider but also what they are doing for sponsors, what projects they have been working on, and most importantly, how they present themselves as a rider.

The Nominees for female rider of the year award were as follows:

Female Rider Of the Year Award Nominees: 

  • Mikali Sol 
  • Capucine Delannoy 
  • Pippa Van Earsal 
  • Angely Boullot 
  • Bruna Kajiya 
  • Rita Arnaus 
  • Jalou Langeree 
  • Marcela Witt

Mikali Sol Won Female Rider Of the Year Award


Mikali Sol is without question one of the most talented riders the GKA has ever seen. Her progression has been unmatchable by any other rider as she pushes womens kitesurfing to the next level! Not only does Mikali put in hard work on the water but she also works very hard for her sponsors and puts in a tremendous amount of effort on photoshoots and projects! We look forward to seeing what more Mika has to offer in the future! 

GKA Awards rider of the year

Male Rider Of the Year Award Nominees: 


  • Airton Cozzolino 
  • Marc Jacobs
  • Giel Vlugt 
  • Charles Brodel 
  • James Carew 
  • Maxime Chablos 
  • Janek Grezegorzewski 
  • Jesse Richman 

Giel Vlugt Takes Home Male Rider Of The Year Award

This really is a special night for Giel Vlugt as he is also taking the win for Rider Of the Year. Not only is Giel a truly tremendous athlete but he is also a great representative of the sport, always showing up for everything with a big smile on his face! He has helped showcase the true radicalness of kitesurfing to the world and is the well deserved winner of this award.

GKA award Winners

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