The 23rd edition of the Mondial du Vent in Leucate hosted the first stage of the GKA freestyle tour and ended on April 25th.
As always this event opens the dances of freestyle kitesurfing competitions and is eagerly awaited by athletes. The forecasts, however, were not the brightest, and the calm kept the competitors in the stalls for the first 4 days.
But on 24 April, a strong southerly wind began to blow, generating a rough sea. Due to the orientation of the wind the organization had to make a radical decision, moving the competition area from La Franqui to the beach of Leucate, a few kilometers further away.
Only two days available and hostile conditions to start the year at its best.
A different show
After a winter spent watching the impressive maneuvers of the riders on the social networks, we were expecting heats with very high scores and unreleased tricks, but this was not the case.
The waves took over by reducing the arena to a real minefield, making life difficult for the competitors.
From the beginning we have seen an average of points per heat lower than last year, and the tactic has taken over the technique.
Just few double handlepasses, considered too risky, set the stage for less technical manoeuvres that had to be performed to perfection to ensure a valid score. It was all about finding the right space between the waves to perform the trick hoping to land on a flat area.
Big crashes, frustration, kites and lines’problems … being able to keep calm and adopt the right strategy was the winning weapon.
A breeze of surprises
Since the first round we have seen all the riders, even the Brazilian champion Carlos Mario and Mikaili Sol, in trouble. And the first big surprise came in the quarterfinals with the elimination of the Dominican Adeuri Corniel, current vice-champion in office, followed by Liam Whaley who surrendered in the semifinals. The same fate has been suffered by two other big names in the women’s scoreboard who were not able, against all expectations, to play in the final: Paula Novotnà and the Brazilian champion Bruna Kajiya.
The best of the event
I have to underline the performance of Gianmaria Coccoluto, who managed to eliminate Adeuri Corniel in the quarterfinals and Liam Whaley in the semifinals, obtaining a well-deserved fourth place.
In front of him the two young talents, the Swiss Chabloz and the Colombian Rodriguez, respectively second and third, who confirm once again their immense qualities. The only one who really respected the forecast was the Brazilian champion Carlos Mario, winner of the event.
But once again the one who impresses the most, for her constancy and tactical intelligence, is the Italian champion Francesca Bagnoli. After a tough first heat, she emerged showing that she has great character and enormous qualities. Both in the semifinals and in the finals she managed to beat the current champion Mikaili Sol, winning the World Cup du Vent against all expectations.
The performance of the Spanish Claudia Léon and the Dutch Pippa Van Iersel is also worth noting, reaching the final with third and fourth place.
Few words about the organization
Organizing freestyle kitesurfing events is not easy because you can’t predict what Mother Nature has in store for us. Although there are those who probably didn’t appreciate the choice to run the competition under these conditions, I am convinced that the Global Kitesports Association (GKA) has done a great job, managing in complicated circumstances to ensure the development of the event and the live broadcast of the show. Changing spots from one day to the next is no joke for an international sporting event. My sincere congratulations to the whole team.