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Visit Qatar GKA Kite Expo opens and 60 Big Air athletes line-up

by Holly Keenan 22 Jun 09:10 PDT 20 June - 6 July 2022
60 registered riders competing in the twin-tip, surfboard and hydrofoil disciplines gather on the Expo main stage - where you can hear daily tech talks from the kiteboarding brands and pro athletes! © Samuel Cardenas

This year the Qatar Airways GKA Big Air World Championships (20 June - 06 July) is being hosted alongside the Visit Qatar GKA Expo, running from the 21- 26 June and the GKA Awards night on the 25th June.

Yesterday saw the opening of the Visit Qatar GKA Kite Expo and the official registration day for all the competition riders. The sun was blazing over the Bibo Beach Expo event site, setting the perfect stage for riders and brand exhibitors to assemble.

The Qatar Airways GKA Big Air World Championships as a whole is huge on all levels!

Amongst the highly accomplished riders from all over the world ready to compete at this monumental event are many kiteboarding legends with continuing business to resolve. Jesse Richman and Aaron Hadlow may both have two King of the Air titles, but could one of them become World Champion?

With 23 brand exhibitors at this event, there was plenty of newly released equipment to be tried and tested by the public!

We caught up with some brand representatives to find out just how important this event was for them.

Philipp Becker, Duotone Marketing Manager: "The GKA Expo is unique regarding the scale of the event and how the GKA has made a huge effort to get everyone in the kitesurfing community together. Tarifa is also the mecca of kitesurfing, making it the ideal place for an annual meetup."

Klaus Warkentin, Business Development Director at North Kiteboarding: "The combination of having an expo linked to a big air event is inspiring for us. Interaction with the consumer is critical, so events like this are so important.

"Brands can show their products directly to customers and deliver a 360-degree experience with staff, riders and products.

"We hope this event will continue to grow each year and open doors to a period where our community shows the world the beauty and potential of our sport."

Possible challenges

According to the GKA Event Organizer, Tom Hartmann, one of the biggest challenges the organizers face with this event is having all the crew and riders on standby for three weeks, with everyone needing to be ready to go as soon as the conditions are optimal - ie: strong! The GKA has set aside a three-week waiting period so that they can wait for the perfect Big Air conditions.

The forecast is looking light for the coming days, providing riders with a perfect opportunity to enjoy the Visit Qatar GKA Kite Expo and work with the brands to showcase all the new and exciting kitesurfing equipment.

The official Opening Ceremony for The Qatar Airways GKA Big Air Championships will take place tomorrow on Thursday 24th, so if you are in Tarifa make sure to head over to Bibo Beach to celebrate!

Get the details on how to test all the equipment at the Expo in the official magazine!

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