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The Global Kitesports Association (GKA) announced the launch of the Air Games, a new World Tour that combines all kiteboarding styles.
While the World Kiteboarding League (WKL) struggles to keep the freestyle discipline up and running, the GKA decided to develop a big air-inspired circuit focused on high jumps and maneuvers.
The GKA Kiteboarding Air Games World Tour will kick off in 2018 with three events held in Leucate, Tarifa, and Cabarete. The goal is to get the wow factor and spectators’ enjoyment at the heart of all the action.
« The spirit of the tour is to find the most complete twin-tip kiteboarder out there. Nevertheless, the basis of each judging category primarily calls for as much height as possible, » the GKA notes.
« Then, the show will come down to each rider’s interpretation and how they want to display their vision for where an all-around show of explosive riding can go in the given conditions. »
The Format and The Future
All performed tricks will be judged over four categories. At the end of each four-man heat, each athlete’s best three tricks from three different categories will count toward the overall score.
The four judging categories are regular jumps (spins, grabs, etc.), board-offs, kite loops, and handle-passes. GKA believes that the new format will have a grand impact on the spectacle
The 2018 Air Games will feature both male and female kiteboarders. Each contest only runs in winds of 15 knots and above. More wind power will demand higher jumps from the riders.
Pro kiteboarding is changing once again. In the near future, the freestyle and big air disciplines might blend into a single riding category.
The truth is that GKA is already referring Carlos Mario, Jesse Richman, Tom Hebert, Kevin Langeree, and Aaron Hadlow as some of the potential stars of the new discipline.
2018 GKA Kiteboarding Air Games World Tour | Schedule
Mondial du Vent, Leucate, France: April 17-22
Tarifa, Spain: June 27 – July 1
Cabarete Kiteboarding World Cup, Dominican Republic: July 9-15
The Global Kitesports Association (GKA) announced that a growing number of athletes is joining the newly-formed GKA Kiteboarding World Tour.
The World Kiteboarding League (WKL) era seems to be over. The stars of contemporary big air and freestyle kiteboarding are moving towards the new competitive discipline: the air games.
In March 2018, World Sailing (WS) dropped its support to the WKL, and GKA became the sole entity responsible for running the freestyle, wave and air games world tours.
Mondial du Vent, one of the most prestigious events of the kiteboarding season, changed its competitive preference and switched from freestyle to the air games.
As a result, athletes like the two-time world champion Carlos Mario, as well as veterans of the sport like Aaron Hadlow, Jesse Richman, Liam Whaley, Lewis Crathern and Kevin Langeree joined the new GKA Kiteboarding World Tour.
Female riders like Hannah Whiteley, Annelous Lammerts, Mikaili Sol and Osaia Reding have also opted for the air games challenge.
The inaugural 2018 GKA Kiteboarding World Tour already confirmed three stages in Leucate (France), Tarifa (Spain), and Cabaret (Dominican Republic).
Land kiting, also known as kite landboarding or land kiteboarding, is one of the most underrated disciplines in kiteboarding.
Nevertheless, and despite the fact that it is performed on terra firma, riders can reach high speeds. Surprisingly, or maybe not, land kiteboarders are nearly as fast as their fellow water performers.
Recently, Thierry Collado set a new world speed land kiting record. The rider living in Ventura, California, drove his equipment at 61.9 miles per hour (99.62 kilometers per hour, or 53.78 knots) at La Franqui, in France.
« I really didn’t expect it because there was still standing water in a few spots, and a lot of slippery areas. But I found many places to do my thing. The wind was not strong. Instead, it was ‘disgustingly gusty,' » explained the man nicknamed Akkrew.
« Suddenly, a gust stronger than the others carried me beyond my hopes. I heard my bearings screaming, and I had the impression to go a little faster than usual. »
Collado checked his GPS and quickly knew he had a world record on hands. He continued riding his kite, but the wind decreased, and Thierry started feeling tired.
« I am so close to reaching my goal – the 100 km/h mark. I am very excited and will be back soon. But, for now, I am happy to be back on first place in the world ranking, » concluded Thierry Collado.
The fastest kiteboarder in the world is Alex Caizergues with a remarkable world speed record of 57.97 knots (66.71 mph or 107.36 km/h).
The Kiteboarding Riders United (KRU) and the Global Kitesports Association (GKA) released a joint statement clarifying the current situation in professional freestyle kiteboarding.
According to the note issued by both organizations the World Kiteboarding League is no longer the « official » freestyle tour.
The new Freestyle World Tour will be called World Kiteboarding Championships (WKC) from now on until any further notice issued by KRU, the official rights holders.
« It has come to our attention that there is some confusion regarding who is authorized to represent and act on behalf of the KRU and who is not, » the note states.
« There also seems to be certain confusion as to who holds what rights and who does not. The KRU is the official World Cup status sanction holder granted by World Sailing through the Global Kitesports Association (GKA). »
« The KRU wishes to make it clear to all parties that Danny Galiart, CEO of the World Kiteboarding League is no longer in any manner associated with the Freestyle World Tour run by the KRU, » the release tells.
« He does not have any authority to represent the KRU or make any deals or enter into any discussions on behalf of the KRU. »