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GKA Freestyle-Kite World Cup Colombia - Day 1

by Sensi Graves 3 Mar 04:47 PST
GKA Freestyle-Kite World Cup Colombia - Day 1 © Andre Magarao

Wednesday started off with the registration of kiteboarding's leading freestyle athletes from four continents.

Following the first event of the season in Qatar, 3x World Champion Bruna Kajiya is currently leading the standings with a gritty win in eight-meter conditions over Mikaili Sol at the Visit Qatar GKA Freestyle Kite World Cup.

Riders are looking forward to competing with the new format and in good conditions. "I'm stoked to be back on c-kites and I'm feeling really good," said Bruna Kajiya, who is "on fire" following Qatar, according to her female competition. Louka Pitot, who took 3rd place in Qatar, agreed, "I'm excited about the new judging criteria and decided to come back after they announced the new format."

The men's reigning champion and current tour leader is Gianmaria Coccoluto, who won his first GKA Freestyle-Kite World Championship in emphatic style at the final event of the 2022 season in Taiba, Brazil, last November. Coccoluto secured the win over Carlos Mario by less than half a point, thanks in part to a clinical slim 7 close to the end. Will the Italian be able to keep his winning streak going in Colombia? - read more in this interview with him.

The competition

Thirty-five riders (27 men and eight women) from 11 countries registered for the second stop on the Qatar Airways GKA Kite World Tour.

Following the opening ceremony, competitors attended a riders' briefing that updated the format changes for the 2023 season.

We started off with the first heats of the women. Eight athletes battled it out in the waters of Salinas del Rey as a perfect NNE breeze filled in over the competition area. The women proved they could handle the conditions here in Colombia.

In the first round, Nathalie Lambercht proved that she isn't messing around, putting down four solid scores and taking the heat win over Alexandra Torres. In the quarterfinals, Estefania Rosa overtook Therese Taabbel securing her place in the semi-finals and Alexandra Torres laid down a huge s bend back 180 to beat out Matilda Roux.

Highlight moment of the day, was Mika Sol who took home the top score, scoring a solid 8.0 for a stylish hinterberger 5. But let's not forget Bruna Kajiya who is looking on top form who is looking hungry after a first season win in Qatar.


Following feedback from the event in Qatar, the judges have made some small adjustments to the GKA Freestyle-Kite World Cup Colombia criteria. The Freestyle-Kite competition format will still see the four highest-scoring tricks counting to a rider's heat score from a total allowance of seven trick attempts.

The variety score that was introduced in Qatar has been removed but now riders are required to perform at least two tricks (and up to three) from the variety category and no more than two tricks (but at least one) from the heelside category.

*Each trick performed must be from a different category. For example if a rider throws a 313 in a heat, then the second heelside trick must come from sub-family two, three or four and cannot be from sub-family one (raley-based tricks).

The trick families are:

1 Heelside Tricks - which is divided into four sub-families
Sub-Family 1: raley based tricks
Sub-Family 2: slims, S-mobes and KGB
Sub-Family 3: hinterbergers and heartattacks
Sub-Family 4: Mobes, including double half-cab mobes

2 Variety Tricks

Sub-Family 1: Toeside / blind tricks
Sub-Family 2: Rewinds
Sub-Family 3: Combos
Sub-Family 4: Kiteloops or downloops

Where are we?

An easy hour's drive from international airports in both Barranquilla and Cartagena, the point of Salinas del Rey offers wind, flat water, waves and warm weather. Located on the northern coast of Colombia, outside the small fishing village of Santa Veronica, this spot is heralded as one of the best wave-riding and flat water locations on the Colombian Caribbean coast.

The point of Salinas del Rey extends out into the Caribbean ocean, creating a point break wave that rolls down the coastline. On the inside of the point, the water is protected, creating flatter conditions. Therefore, this location offers conditions for wave-riding and freestyle alike.

Besides the main spot of Salinas del Rey, there are a variety of additional kite spots, most boasting small waves and chop. As a relatively undiscovered kitesurf location, many spots are uncrowded.

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