GKA World Cup (Freestyle & Big Air Invitational)

One last blast in the Best Trick competition on Day Five in Fuerteventura

Wednesday 24th July, 2019

It was the last day of the event today in Sotavento at the GKA Freestyle World Cup Fuerteventura. After four days of relentless wind (it’s been blowing non-stop since the event began), some of the riders were still keen for more so it was time for the Best Trick competition.

There would be three heats - strapless freestyle, men’s twintip and women’s twintip - and riders would have five trick attempts each. Scores were awarded for 50% height and 50% technical ability and, with the wind pushing past 30 knots and into big air territory, that meant the competitors would be able to ride to the conditions and send it!

Pippa van Iersel won the women’s heat against Alexandra Torres with some sizeable kiteloops, and it was a strong showing from the young Dutch rider whose winters in Cape Town and summers in Tarifa have helped her develop her boosting ability.

In the strapless freestyle heat, Kiko Roig Torres built on his already standalone performances in yesterday’s team Big Air event with a convincing win. Big rotations and cleanly executed landings set him apart, but some close scores from Pedro Matos and Anderson Reboucas kept him on his toes.

The third and final heat was a seven man clash in which the male twintip riders showed a really diverse range of styles. Some opted for old school moves like board-offs and deadmans, while others went for freestyle-influenced tricks or kiteloop / megaloop variations.

Arthur Guillebert won the heat with a massive backside 317, but he was pushed all the way by Lewis Crathern who scored three tricks over 7 points while also sticking the best loop of the heat. Lewis might well have beaten Arthur on his last trick attempt, but a lull in the wind thwarted him as he lined up for a boogie loop resulting in a low score with no more chances available to him.

Lewis had to settle for second while Nelson Gomez from Colombia took third with a trick far older than he is himself - a massive deadman board-off!

It was a fitting end to an awesome event where the conditions have delivered day after day. The action on the water has been stellar, with Adeuri Corniel and Paula Novotna surging to victory ahead of the usual suspects in their divisions.

The overall rankings have now shifted with Maxime Chabloz moving into first place ahead of Carlos Mario as Pippa van Iersel closes in on Mikaili Sol at the top of the women’s table.


1. Adeuri Corniel (DOM)

2. Maxime Chabloz (CHE)

3. Gianmaria Coccoluto (ITA)

4. Carlos Mario (BRA)


1. Paula Novotna (CZE)

2. Pippa van Iersel (NLD)

3. Mikaili Sol (BRA)

4. Bruna Kajiya (BRA)




1. Arthur Guillebert (FRA)

2. Lewis Crathern (GBR)

3. Nelson Gomez (COL)


1. Pippa van Iersel (NLD)

2. Alexandra Torres (ESP)


1. Kiko Roig Torres (ESP)

2. Pedro Matos (BRA)

3. Anderson Reboucas (GER)



1. Maxime Chabloz (CHE)

2. Carlos Mario (BRA)

3. Gianmaria Coccoluto (ITA)

4. Liam Whaley (ESP)

5. Adeuri Corniel (DOM)


1. Mikaili Sol (BRA)

2. Pippa van Iersel (NLD)

3. Bruna Kajiya (BRA)

4. Therese Taabbel (DNK)

5. Rita Arnaus (ESP)


Today was an all-time first in competitive kite sports as kiteboarders and strapless freestylers joined forces in the GKA Fuerteventura Big Air Invitational.

The plan was simple: two teams of four - consisting of two twintip riders and two strapless freestylers - would go head to head in a battle for the skies to see who had the best big air ability.

Of course, the dynamics of going big on a regular kiteboard as opposed to a strapless surfboard are very different, but the essence of airtime is the same and the riders’ scores would mostly depend on how high they went, as opposed to the technicality of their tricks.

Each rider was allowed 15 trick attempts (with the top four counting) and they would compete in two man heats until the final, which would be a four man heat. Kiteboarders would compete against one another, as would strapless riders, and then in the final they’d all be on the water together. It was going to be a show!


Lewis Crathern was a standout rider in the opening round. He was arguably the most experienced big air specialist taking part and he was going huge on an 11 metre kite. His front roll board-off was one of highest jumps of the day and a sent dangle-pass out the back clinched the win for him against Joselito Del Rosario.

Reece Myerscough was on fire as well. He beat Pedro Matos in a very tight heat and his riding was some of the best we’ve ever seen from him in a non-wave riding event. He won that heat (by a single point!) with a faultless rotated tic-tac finger flip, which was as smooth as you like.


The wind was ramping up to past 30 knots by this point and the round began with an exciting showdown between Lewis and Oswald Smith. Lewis was going for more classic big air moves, while Oswald was opting for his customary freestyle-infused riding. 

Ozzie stuck some nice handlepasses, including a big shifty frontside 3, but Lewis was going way higher and his boogie loop out the back was legit!

Kiko Roig was supremely dialled in to the conditions (and they weren't easy) and he hammered big rotation after big rotation close to shore to beat Pedro Matos in their round two heat. 

As the last round loomed, it was down to the teams to decide between them who would represent them in the finals. In the end, each team put forward their highest scoring riders of round two and then it was game on!

Kiko Roig Torres and Joselito Del Rosario would represent Team A and Carlos Mario and Pedro Matos would represent Team B.


Carlos opened with four high scores which gave his team a healthy lead and Joselito was going big too, but he couldn’t match Mario for height and smoothness of execution. 

However, this heat would be decided by the combined scores of both the strapless rider and the kiteboarder representing their team and that meant that Joselito would have a helping hand from Kiko, the top strapless freestyler in the competition. Kiko could see he’d need to up the ante if they were going to win, and he stomped a kiteloop tic-tac front roll to even up the scores so that, with only a few minutes on the clock, there was now just 1.1 points between the teams.

Carlos had his team on the beach keeping him updated, so he knew what was needed. A big double-front board-off from him added to their overall tally but Joselito and Kiko were stomping trick after trick and the scores were stacking up.

A kiteloop from Pedro Matos might have made all the difference, but that’s a tall order in gusty wind and choppy water and it wasn’t to be. Kiko and Joselito had amassed the points they needed and they won the final for ‘Team A’!


Joselito Del Rosario (DOM)

Kiko Roig Torres (ESP)

Oswald Smith (RSA)

Reece Myerscough (CAN)

21.07.2019 Today, Paula Novotna won the GKA Freestyle World Cup Fuerteventura at the end of an epic day packed with trials and tribulations in challenging conditions! Here’s how it went down..

Round One

Nathalie Lambrecht put down a marker early, nearly beating Bruna Kajiya and stomping a huge slim chance that scored 8.93 points.

Bruna had to work hard to pull this one round, but some steady scores and her own high scoring slim chance secured her a victory in her opening heat. It was close though, and an impressive start from Swedish rider Lambrecht.

Francesca Bagnoli won heat two with a smooth, calm and calculated display while Pippa van Iersel went for all-in, powerful trick attempts.

Francesca was far more measured though and a slim chance (another slim!) gave her the edge. Realistically, if Pippa had stuck some of her wilder efforts she might have won this one and her hinterberger frontside 3 will have given Francesca something to think about.

Rita Arnaus took second after a slow start ahead of Therese Taabbel in third. A heart attack on her final trick brought her closer to Paula, but the Czech Charger Novotna rounded out her heat with a 313 and frontside 3 hinterberger and there was no way anyone was catching her.

Mikaili Sol won the final heat of round one, giving a glimpse of what she’s capable of, but it was by no means a polished display. She scored big with a 315, a sizeable slim chance and a heart attack but she crashed her four other trick attempts.

It was her sheer technical ability that got her through, but she was going to have to clean up her act to win in the later rounds.

Round Two 

 Round two saw the conditions really begin to ramp up. Local rider Alexandra Torres impressed, winning the first heat to progress through to the semis alongside Maureen Castelle in second.

In the second heat of the round, Nathalie Lambrecht sustained a heavy backside crash which temporarily knocked her out cold and she had to be helped from the water by the safety sled before being checked over in the back of an ambulance.

Thankfully she was ok, but her event was over and Therese Taabbel won the heat ahead of Pippa van Iersel in second

The Semi-Finals

This was where things got really challenging, with winds gusting up to 35 knots and steadily building chop and it was clear that some of the riders hadn’t trained much in conditions like this.

Bruna Kajiya looked unshakeable in the first semis heat, leading from start to finish, and a tight duel between Francesca Bagnoli and Pippa van Iersel came down to the wire with Francesca just missing a slim chance which meant that Pippa would progress through to the final.

The riders weren’t getting it any easier in the second semi-final heat, and at times it was a case of just unhooking, edging, and hoping that a gust didn’t hammer you before you went for a trick.

Watching Mikaili Sol though, you might have thought she was riding in a different heat. She landed the highest score of the round for a backmobe (8.07) and the gusts weren’t phasing her at all (and if they were - she wasn't showing it).

The Final

Two former World Champs in the forms of Mikaili and Bruna, Pippa the Dutch ripper and an absolutely firing Paula Novotna. This was going to be good!

Paula opened with a blind judge and Pippa hit back with a BS 313. The riders were on smaller kites, which are of course much quicker, so they were finding it hard at points to ride out of tricks without their kites overreacting to their steering input.

Bruna and Mikaili just couldn’t seem to nail their landings and Mikaili then took a heavy slam on her third trick and was clearly in pain, holding her ear as she spoke to her trainer Fabio on the beach.

She headed back out but wasn’t landing any tricks and, other than a tiny score for a very small raley, after six tricks she had next to no points on the board.

Pippa van Iersel had managed to land an s-bend to blind which added to her high score from her first trick to solidify her position in second, but Paula was absolutely running away with the heat.

She landed another 313, which would have been enough to win on its own, but she then added an ultra-powered blind judge 3 close to the shore to give herself a 12.33 point lead as the other riders came in for their last tricks.

Bruna landed a blind judge on her sixth trick attempt and the odds were now in her favour. Mikaili looked as though she was starting to unravel, and was on the beach discussing with her coach whether or not she should even continue with the heat.

However, like the warrior she is, she wasn’t about to quit just yet. No safe scores would do, it had to be all or nothing, and nobody could have expected what was to come. She lined up, edged, and then only went and landed the highest score of the day – a MASSIVE heart attack for 9.1 points!

It was enough for third and, although it wouldn’t be enough to wrest second from Pippa, it still meant she’d made it to the podium.

A heroic effort in the face of substantial odds, and what a result for Paula who was on fire from the very start today and fully deserved her victory.


After a couple of false starts due to changeable conditions, the main event got underway at 12:30 today. The riders had seven trick attempts available, and heat winners would progress on to round three while second and third place would go again in round two.

Adeuri Corniel stormed the first heat with an impressive opening salvo that included a BS 317, a double heart attack AND a slim 7 to secure the win and then Gianmaria Coccoluto regained his composure after a slow start to win the second heat.

After that, Maxime Chabloz put in an absolutely spell binding effort. He not only scored a perfect 10 for a backmobe 7, but he also walked away with the day's highest combined score too of 32.34. You can bet Carlos Mario was watching that one!

Two more performances of note came from former World Champs Liam Whaley and Carlos Mario. Whaley combined more technical tricks like his high scoring BS 317 with purely stylish moves like his ultra smooth double s-bend to blind.

Carlos went up in the final heat of round one against fellow Brazilian Alex Neto, and this was a super charged one. Neto opened with a double heart attack, and Mario matched him with a bigger, cleaner one to pull ahead (by just 0.13 points). The barrage continued with yet more high scores, and Mario landed a front blind mobe which Neto answered with a crowmobe 5.

It was tight, but Mario then drilled home a BS 315, a KGB and a 317 to pull ahead.

Mens Round Two Round Up

This round was crucial for the riders who’d failed to win their round one heats. Last chance to stay in the single eliminations and everything to play for.

Stefan Spiessberger scored a convincing win in the opening exchange with a crowmobe and a slim chance early in the heat and he won with a trick still in hand.

Louka Pitot then beat Luis Calcano and Arthur Guillebert after Arthur ended up needing the medic’s attention after a heavy crash put him out of action.

The wind had picked up by this point to around 25 knots and there were some nasty slams as the riders trucked into tricks fully powered.

Nico Delmas then took a storming lead in the next heat leaving Guiliano, Neto and Teixeira trading places in a battle for second.

Set Teixeira clinched it in the end, and was getting very close to closing down Delmas too but it wasn’t to be.

Mens Round Three Round Up

The pressure increased in this round – the quarter finals stage of the single eliminations.

Adeuri amassed a massive points lead in the first heat and was the only other rider (alongside Maxime Chabloz) who managed a combined score above 30 today with a total tally of 31.77. Gianmaria Coccoluto was in pursuit, but Adeuri’s final trick –  a double heart attack – put further distance between them and he won the heat comfortably. 

In the next heat, Louka Pitot opened up with a front blind mobe, crowmobe and heart attack to take an early lead while Maxime Chabloz had a shakier start with a low scoring BS 313.

However, a clean backmobe 5 followed up with a 317 brought Maxime back into contention and then a front blind mobe pushed him passed Pitot into the lead.

He didn’t land his last trick, but he didn’t have to. He’d already won and he was by far the standout rider today.

Next up, Liam Whaley opened with a BS 317 that scored him a sturdy 7.47 points and he never stepped off the gas from there to win the heat. Today’s cross-off conditions were reminiscent of the famously challenging Levante winds he rides in at home in Tarifa, and he looked more than comfortable out there. He rode tactically, and was watching his competitors to see just how far he’d need to push it to beat them.

Colombian rider Valentin Rodriguez mounted a late challenge against him and he landed a couple of high scoring tricks, but he wasn’t sticking them as readily as Liam and, in competition, that’s what matters.

Carlos Mario was faultless from the start in the day's final heat. It looked like he was holding back a little, perhaps saving his riskier tricks for the semi-finals, but he stuck a double heart attack followed by a front blind mobe and a KGB without missing a beat. He’s a force of nature.

He followed that up with a BS 315 to secure his position, but he finished the heat still (potentially) within reach of Nico Delmas who had a stellar day today and finished second to also go through to the semis.

No huge scores from Carlos, but no crashes either and a very consistent run. Maybe he’s holding something back for tomorrow? We will see!

Today's action finished at the end Men's Round Three with eight semi-finalists ready to roll tomorrow. See who made it through below.



Valentin Rodriguez

Nico Delmas

Adeuri Corniel

Maxime Chabloz


Gianmaria Coccoluto

Louka Pitot

Liam Whaley

Carlos Mario


 The GKA Kite World Tour is in Sotavento, Fuerteventura, this week for the fourth GKA Freestyle World Cup stop of the season.

22 men and 12 women registered for the event this morning at the Rene Egli Watersports centre, and there's a host of riders in the ranks who are out to unseat current tour leaders Carlos Mario and Mikaili Sol when the main event begins.

In the men’s division, Carlos remains unbeaten this season but challenging conditions at the last two freestyle events haven’t enabled the men’s division to complete a final, so he retains the lead by default.

That means Maxime Chabloz, who came painfully close to beating Carlos in the only completed final of the season at Leucate in round one, is just 33 points behind and well within striking distance. Highly on-form Italian charger Gianmara Coccoluto looks odds-on for an event win this season and isn't far away in third, and there’s a tight points margin between him and Liam Whaley in fourth too.

In the women’s division, Mikaili has a bigger lead on points having been in two finals this season (one of which she won at the GKA Gran Canaria) but fellow Brazilian Bruna Kajiya and Pippa van Iersel from the Netherlands are on her tail.

Mikaili may look hard to beat, but she hasn’t had her customary clean sweep of victories so far this year so her first place position is by no means unassailable.

So, that means we’re in for a potentially pivotal week here at Playa de Sotavento, with two big double events still to come in Mauritius and Dakhla, plus Brazil still potentially in the calendar at the end of the season.

There's a plentiful supply of trade winds on the forecast and the main event's set to start tomorrow at 10:30 GMT.

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