At the beginning of the 2018 the kitesurf freestyle “new school” seemed to be brought to a halt, so the GKA (Global Kitesports Associations) took the opportunity to launch a new interesting competing format, the Air Games.
The goal is to impress and amaze the spectators with the “wow factor” and to identify the most complete athlete with a twintip board. As a result the competition is a mix of adrenaline and technique where the riders push the freestyle to a next level.
In the Air Games two riders face each other during a limited amount of time (from five up to thirty minutes). They have to realize as much tricks as they want which will be evaluated, on a scale of one to ten, on three general criteria:
– Regular jumps (with rotations, grabs, boards-offs)
– Kite Loops (whichever jumps as long as the kite make a powerful loop)
Each category counts a third of the final judgement. Therefore every competitor has to show versatility in all the differents kitesurf freestyle disciplines according to the weather conditions.
The three category create an exiciting show because there are judged on the following criteria: hight and traveling, degree of difficulty, power, commitment, flow and innovation.
50% of the vote is represented by madness, the other 50% by technique.
The Air Games have been launched for the first time in Leucate on april 2018 during the “Mondial du cent”. Unfortunately there was no wind and the competition couldn’t be held in the usual manner. However the riders played the game performing an amazing show for the public: the Tow-Up, which consist to use the power of any motorized vehicle (raft, jet ski) to soar up in the air and to glide thanks to a kite, when there is almost no wind.
Three are the events that took place after Leucate: Tarifa in Spain, Cabarete in the Dominican Republic and the final in Fehmarn in Germany.
The events have been a success and both the athletes and the spectators loved the new format. Above all this competition delivers an original show which involves the best riders and mixes all find of discipline of freestyle twintip.
Let’s speak about the winners… who is the King / Queen of the Air Games 2018??
Among the ladies the podium has been the same for all the three events. The undisputed champion is the Brazilian thirteen years old Mikaili Sol who won’t stop to impress, followed by the British Hannah Whiteley and the Dutch Pippa Van Iersel.
In the male category the battle was engaging up to the last trick. The Brazilian Carlos Mario had to fight for the title against the American Jesse Richman. Certainly Jesse got off a great start winning in Tarifa, followed by Maxime Chabloz and Carlos Mario. But in the last two events the Brazilian showed all his talent and he won both the events in Cabarete and Fehmarn and he deserved the GKA Kiteboarding World Champion title. By the way Jesse confirmed to be a tough nut finishing at second place in both events. Finally the bronze medal goes to the young Swiss Maxime Chabloz.
Now it’s time for some pure freestyle following the World Kiteboarding Championships and don’t forget to be ready for the Air Games next year.
A big thanks to the Global Kitesports Association to allowed me to use its pictures. I wish you the best for the next year.