2020 was a tough year for the GKA. Travel bans, location closures and the inevitable canceling of many events left us all feeling a bit stressed. But we’re proud to say that despite the many challenges of last year, we had some incredible successes and we’re able to make a lot of cool things happen.
Read on for our biggest wins of 2020 as well as our anticipated 2021 tour schedule.
In 2020, we produced three events with over €60.000 in prize money.
We ran 1 event per discipline:
Kitesurf in Cabo Verde
Freestyle in Ilha do Guajiru, Brazil
and the first-ever event in the Hydrofoil Freestyle discipline in Fortaleza, Brazil
No official 2020 World Champions were crowned however a huge congratulations goes out to James Carew, Ines Correia, Fred Hope, Maxime Chabloz and Mikaili Sol for taking home the top spots!
We also produced the first-ever Distance Battle 2020 which was an online event in the disciplines of Twintip Freestyle and Strapless Freestyle. The event was broadcast over 6 hour-long live shows from our GKA Studio.
Delay in producing more competitions has left us hungry for more and we’re planning on hitting the ground running this season.
2021 Tour Schedule
We’re ready to get 2021 up and running! However, we must remain patient, flexible and able to pivot as rules and regulations continue to change. We anticipate running the following events however we appreciate your understanding as we work to provide final confirmation in what will inevitably be the weeks leading up to each event. It is our goal to provide a safe competition environment for our athletes and staff and we will work within the parameters defined by each hosting country and regulatory body.
March 23-28 in Dakhla, Morocco (TBC)
July 17-21 in Gran Canaria, Spain (TBC)
August 17-22 in Sylt, Germany
September 6-11 in Hvide Sande, Denmark
September 18-26 in Bel Ombre, Mauritius
October 24-31 in Ceara, Brazil (TBC)
June 22-27 in Tarifa, Spain (TBC)
July 23-28 in Fuerteventura, Spain
August 5-10 in Kalpitiya, Sri Lanka (TBC)
September 18-26 in Bel Ombre, Mauritius
October 5-10 in Diego Suarez, Madagascar (TBC)
October 24-31 in Ceara, Brazil (TBC)
November 23-27 in Neom, Saudi Arabia
Hydrofoil Freesyle (TBC)
October 17-21 in Fortaleza, Brazil
Youth Freestyle (all TBC)
April 1-5 in El Gouna, Egypt
April 15-18 in Saint-Pierre La-Mer, France
May 7-10 in Sicily, Italy
Make sure you check back often for tour updates here. Cheers to a great year!
*If we’ve learned anything in 2020, it’s the need to be flexible. Nothing is set in stone and we appreciate your flexibility as rules, formats and events need to be updated.
Meet Mikaili Sol, winner of SuperKite Brazil and reigning Freestyle World Champion!
This week we have part two of Meet the Champions, it’s time to chat with SuperKite Brazil winner Mikaili Sol – as our current Freestyle World Champion Mika is no stranger to post-competition interviews, here we catch up with her to hear how she felt after taking the win in the women’s division at the only Freestyle event of 2020 in Brazil, and to find to out how life has been for her in the months preceding the event.
2020 has been quite unexpected for all of us. Mika, how have you been this year with less travel in your diary, and were you looking forward to the SuperKite event when you found out that it would go ahead?
I was really looking forward to 2020 after my 2019 win I was all for going for it and doing my best throughout the year with competitions but when COVID hit I found it really hard, I had to change my mindset which was used to travelling and being in different locations every month, to one of being stuck at home and unable to leave. It wasn’t easy but that made the SuperKite event even more enjoyable, to getting back to the feeling of competing and getting ready for action.
You normally train throughout the year, how much did covid-19 affect your training plans or training schedule in the months running up to the event?
I was in the Dominican Republic for what was supposed to be two weeks of pre-competition training but when the news of the pandemic reached us, we cut the trip short, and ended up only staying two days! When we got back home I was really sad because I’d been looking forward to the first comp of the year. I found myself in a place where I felt quite unmotivated, I was just at home doing schoolwork, not really training and not really kiting. I was working out a little but I wasn’t that focused.
Considering you’ve not been training as much as you usually do you did well to take the win. How do you feel about your performance at Ilha do Guajiru?
I’m proud of myself for my performance at the SuperKite event because the conditions during the first women’s heats were not that easy, it was super strong wind, super choppy, hard to pop and hard to do any tricks. So after I passed through that heat it gave me the lift I needed to do well throughout the rest of the event, and it was pretty much good from then on. I got to the semi-finals and then into the final where I won, which I am super thankful for!
We know you are very much part of the kite and competition scene. How did it feel to be amongst your International kite friends/family after so long apart, or have you managed to train with fellow competitors this year?
It was really hard to be without my friends this year because almost all of them are on the World Tour or have something to do with the kiting world and not being able to see them was super hard, because I’m so used to being with them, training, having fun together, so it was really difficult. It was great seeing everyone again at the event, catching up and hearing how everyone has been dealing with the pandemic in their own lives. It was so great that we ended up having the competition in Brazil, it just made it seem even more special.
That was so good to hear, it was a special event for so many reasons!
Now that you can compete again, what are your goals for 2021 both on and off the water?
My goal for 2021, of course, is to do really well in the comps, hopefully, win and get the world champion title again. But that all depends on what happens with the global situation, we still don’t know if everything is going to be ok or if countries are going to start shutting down again, and we’ll have to go into isolation again but hopefully in 2021 things will be better and we will get some sort of normality back to our lives.
We hope so too!
What were the highlights of the Superkite event both on and off the water?
For me, the highlight of the SuperKite event was just getting back into the spirit of competition, having fun, seeing everyone again after so long and also trying to get all my tricks, and of course, doing my best! Off the water, it was so great to see everyone again, I mean the vibe was just so great, everyone was stoked for comp and everyone was just so excited to be at a competition after not having one until the second last month of 2020, so everything was just really amazing!
It’s great to hear you enjoyed it so much!
You also won the GKA Distance Battle this summer, how did you find digital competing to actual competitions?
I think the distance Battle was what everyone needed, without having any competitions for most of the year, the Distance Battle really lifted everyone’s spirits, brought us together again and gave us hope that there would be a competition later in the year. I think I wasn’t really kiting that much before the Distnace Battle, I only started kiting maybe like two weeks before, because there hadn’t been that much wind and I was focused on studying. Then when the GKA announced the Distance Battle was on I started up my training schedule again and I was really motivated to kite again.
Thanks Mika! Congratulations on your win at SuperKite Brazil and your previous win at the GKA Distance Battle earlier this year, it’s great to hear that the online competition helped keep you motivated to train, and perhaps helped you take the win in Guajiru too. We wish you the best of luck for the coming year and hope you have a great Christmas with your family and friends.
Meet Maxime Chabloz – the all-round athlete who took the win in the Men’s Division at SuperKite Brazil!
The GKA have just returned from a memorable month in Brazil, where we held two competitions the first ever GKA Hydrofoil Freestyle event, SuperFoil Brazil, and the Freestyle event of the year, SuperKite Brazil.
In a two-part mini-series, we catch up with our SuperKite Brazil event champions, starting with Maxime Chabloz (F-One), the all-round athlete who took part in both the SuperFoil and SuperKite events. Maxime took the win at SuperKite Brazil, and came third at the Hydrofoil Freestyle event, SuperFoil Brazil, what a close to 2020 for the Swissman.
The GKA traveled north from Fortaleza to Ilha do Guajiru, for the SuperKite Brazil Freestyle event at Hura Beach, this was to be the first and last Freestyle event of 2020. After a long time off from competing, our athletes were ready for the action, and boy did we get it!
Our reigning World Champion, Mikali Sol (Duotone) dominated the women’s division to take the title, and in the men’s division Maxime Chabloz (F-One) owned the finals by stomping a perfect, never landed in competition, Back Mobe 7 Grab.
GKA SuperKite Brazil Champion – Maxime Chabloz
We caught up with Maxime while he’s still riding high on the win and training in Brazil to hear what he has to say about winning the Freestyle title of 2020.
It’s been a strange year for everyone, especially those used to having a lot of international travel in their diaries. Were you looking forward to the SuperKite event when you found out that it would go ahead?
I’ve been incredibly lucky this year, and it’s actually been really special for me. I was still able to travel around in Europe, maybe a little less international travel than I’d planned but it has been great finding new places in France, Spain, Sicily, and Greece. There are some really nice places in Europe and I’d say it has been a really sick year for me despite everything that has been going on. I was actually really uncertain about the SuperKite event, I was sure it was going to be canceled like everything else but when I found out it was going ahead I was like, let’s do this!
How did covid-19 affect your training plans or training schedule in the months running up to the event?
Like I said, I was luky and still able to travel, and kite quite a lot, I probably kited less than I would in a normal year and I think this really helped with my motivation. I got to the event feeling super motivated, and my goal was just to win, there were no world title calculations involved, or people saying is he going to be good, is he going to be bad. It was a chance to go all-in right from the start and show my best level, and it went really well for me!
Haha yes, you could say that it went well for you, but the competition was tough at times. For you, what were the highlights of your performance?
The highlight of my performance was certainly my last trick of the comp, this Back Mobe 7 Grab. For the whole comp I knew I wanted to pull it off at some point but I never really got the opportunity, as in the first heats it wasn’t really worth trying it, and then in the round that was pretty hard I didn’t need a massive trick, so I was super happy to still have one attempt in the final where I could try to get this 10.00. I didn’t know I was going to land the trick, I was pretty confident about it, and actually, when I landed it felt pretty unreal, and yeah it was really nice!
How did it feel to be amongst your International kite friends/family after so long apart, or have you managed to train with fellow competitors this year?
I have trained with a few fellow competitors this year, I went to Greece with Luca, Val, Therese, and Pippa and we had a great time there, I also went to Sicily to train with Gianmaria. A lot of my friends are within kiting and it’s been pretty hard not to see them, but in the end, we’re all still friends and no one has changed much, and it’s really sick to see that.
That’s great to hear, kite family is forever right!
What are your goals for 2021 both on and off the water?
My goal for 2021 for sure is to become World Champion, now there are no more calculations to be made I think I just want to focus and win this title! Off the water I want to get stronger this winter, ski a lot, get the most out of my season, and ride as much as I can. To stay fit, and go for that world title!
It’s awesome to hear how focused you are Maxime, you’re obviously on the right path! What were the highlights of the Superkite event both on and off the water?
Haha, the highlight for sure was to win it! I mean when you win it is always the best feeling in the world, so this was for sure the highlight for me. But, it was just really nice to compete again, to get the pressure up again, its a feeling that you can’t compare to anything else, and just competing in general, its something I love and want to do for many more years, and it was just really cool to get to experience that again after so long.
And Win you did! Lastly, you competed in, and won the GKA DIstnace Battle this summer. How did it compare being back in an actual competition to a virtual one?
Well, the good thing about the virtual competition was that you could just try to do your best heat over and over again without really having the pressure that if you crashed it was done, so this is a major difference. But, I was putting quite a lot of pressure on myself for the Distance Battle just the same. I think the Distance Battle was a really good experience and it kind of taught me how to handle a different kind of stress. I had to ride at MY best level, and not just be better than my opponent. I’m really keen to put the pressure or the feeling that I learned in the Distance Battle into practice in regular competition. I was not thinking if I crash this trick I’m going to lose, I was thinking, if I land all my best tricks I’m going to win. If I can put this mindset into practice in competition it would be great!
It’s been an impressive year for Maxime, who claimed the win at the GKA Distance Battle and the SuperKite Brazil title, we’re looking forward to what he brings to the scoreboard in 2021.
Congratulations Maxime, we hope you’re enjoying the rest of your time in Brazil before you head home and to the slopes, where he also competes at a national level in Freeride Skiing!
Next week we will be catching up with Mikaili Sol, to talk about taking the win on home turf, and to hear if she’s been celebrating this week with her Duotone teammates, on the 2021 product shoot, or if it has been all work and no play since SuperKite Brazil. We’re pretty certain there will have been a fair amount of fun going on, but make sure you tune in next week to hear what Mika has to say.
It’s a wrap on day 5 of the GKA Freestyle Super Grand Slam here in Ilha do Guajiru and we have got our SuperKite Champions 2020!
In slightly lighter winds on this final day of the competition, the focus of the judges was on quality and attention to detail when it came to the execution of the tricks. The level of riding at this event was just out of this world with some of the highest overall scores ever achieved in a competition, and tricks never landed in a contest before.
Here are the official results:
1st Maxime Chabloz (Switzerland) 36.73
2nd Erick Anderson (Brazil) 34.33
3rd Manoel Soares (Brazil) 30.43
4th Juan Rodríguez (Colombia) 26.53
1st Mikaili Sol (Brazil) 36.17
2nd Rita Arnaus (Spain) 30.96
3rd Pippa van Iersel (Netherlands) 24.87
4th Claudia Leon (Spain) 24.37
Read all about how the women’s and men’s semi-finals and finals played out!
Nathalie Lambrecht from Sweden, Rita Arnaus and Claudia Leon from Spain, and Therese Taabbel from Denmark battled it out for a place in the final in heat 1 of the day.
Rita, displaying power and confidence and landing every trick, quickly takes the lead in this heat.
Nathalie and Claudia both perform well, but Claudia shows more consistency and bite. Therese struggles with her leg after hurting it earlier and retires from the heat.
With Therese out of the competition, this leaves Nathalie in third place behind Claudia Leon in second and Rita Arnaus in first place, both Spaniards moving on to the final.
Katarzyna Lange from Poland, Paula Novotna from the Czech Republic, Pippa van Iersel from The Netherlands and Mikaili Sol from Brazil delivered an intense fight in heat 2. Pippa van Iersel, the “Dutch Destroyer”, starts her heat with a bang, but Paula quickly takes that lead from her. Mika is absolutely on fire and keeps on showing the best tricks of the competition and scoring big, earning her a comfortable lead. Katarzyna, although riding with a lot of style, doesn’t stand a chance and places fourth.
Paula’s performance is not enough to make it through to the final, so it’s Mikaili Sol and Pippa van Iersel in the final against Claudia and Rita!
In heat 1 it’s a purely Brazilian-Swiss heat with Erick Anderson and Alex Neto from Brazil and Maxime Chabloz from Switzerland battling it out for a place in the final. Liam Whaley, who was also in this heat, sustained a knee injury and unfortunately had to pull out of the competition.
Maxime continuously increased his scores throughout the heat, with Erick and Alex taking turns following up in second and third place.
Alex Neto crashes in his last attempt, leaving him in 3rd position meaning Maxime Chabloz and Erick Anderson move on to the final.
In a Brazilian-Colombian battle we had Valentín Rodríguez and Juan Rodríguez from Colombia and Manoel Soares and Guilherme Costa from Brazil in heat 2, here’s how it went:
Juan Rodríguez starts off the heat with a solid 8.27 score, and it really shows how much work he’s put in this year. Apart from this, we’re not seeing top moves and scores in this heat, with Guilherme Costa getting unlucky with his landings and current World Champion Valentín Rodríguez crashing on almost every trick attempt, so he ends up in fourth place, Guilherme in third, and Manoel Soares in second and Juan Rodríguez in first position going to the final.
In the women’s final, it’s Pippa van Iersel, Rita Arnaus, Claudia Leon and Mikaili Sol battling for the Freestyle crown.
Pippa going first showing a BS 313 with a score of 6.40, Claudia is up next with the same move but only scoring 4.40, and Rita doing the same for 5.90.
Next up is Mika with a big Heart Attack, scoring 8.77 and taking the lead. But Rita, with a perfect Hinterberger 3 and a 6.73 takes first position.
The two of them are really battling it out, with Mika setting the bar high at a straight 9.00 score, taking back the first place from Rita. Rita answers with a huge S-Mobe, scoring 8.63 and taking over the lead once again.
Pippa and Claudia are at this point comboed out for first, but second is still up for grabs.
Pippa is on Rita’s heels, but misses her landing and doesn’t get the score she was going for.
Pippa’s final trick attempt is a big S-Bend 1 with a 7.2 score, but she’s still in third place.
Claudia attempts a final move but misses her KGB, meaning she comes in fourth overall after a very good fight.
Rita ends her heat with a last trick, a very nicely executed big Heart Attack and an 8.77 score, finishing second after Mika who lands a Backside 313 as her final move and wins the women’s division of the SuperKite Brasil 2020!
In the men’s final, we had Maxime Chabloz, Manoel Soares, Erick Anderson and Juan Rodríguez in the race for the title!
Maxime opens the final with a 319 but didn’t get a clean landing and only scores 3.57.
Erick Anderson brings a perfect Stalefish KGB 5 to the table, making the crowd go wild and earning him a whopping 9.37 to begin his heat with.
Maxime Chabloz is on his second trick attempt with a Double Grab Mobe 5, gets a solid 8.50 from the judges for his signature move, and a lead in the heat.
Up next is Manoel Soares with a stylish 319, especially considering the light wind conditions, scoring high and taking the lead From Maxime.
Juan shows an average 317, nothing to excited about or get him out of fourth position.
Next, Maxime is at it again with a grabbed Slim 7 scoring a huge 9.43 and earning him a comfortable lead over Manoel who unfortunately misses his landing, but remains in second place.
Erick Anderson is up next with a powerful perfectly landed Slim 7 scoring a good 8.47. This means it is still possible for Erick at this point to take the lead or move to second position, but very difficult for Juan Rodríguez in fourth place.
Manoel’s big statement Slim 7 gets him a solid 8.80 and closes the gap to Maxime’s lead, Erick Anderson however takes the second position from Manoel with a big score of 8.63 on his fifth trick attempt and a huge overall score of 34.33.
Maxime lands a Stalefish KGB to Blind in his sixth attempt, getting a huge 9.00 and taking the lead again.
Juan Rodríguez doesn’t get out of his last place in this heat unfortunately, with only one trick attempt left, while Maxime finishes with a grabbed Mobe 7 scoring a perfect 10.00!
Up next is Manoel with a grabbed KGB to Blind to finish off the heat, but only scores 6.23 and remains in third position, so the title goes to Swiss Maxime Chabloz, with Brazilian Erick Anderson in a close second place!
We would like to congratulate the winners of the GKA Freestyle Super Grand Slam 2020, Mikaili Sol and Maxime Chabloz!
But our congratulations also go out to all competitors for displaying the highest athletic standard as well as outstanding sportsmanship and compliance with the sometimes difficult rules and regulations in place to keep everyone safe and healthy in the Covid pandemic.
We also would like to extend our best wishes to Liam for a speedy recovery.
A Word From the CEO
Jörgen Vogt, CEO of the GKA:
“Many thanks to our GKA crew, as well as the local crew, our local organisers and the team at Hura Beach, without whom this event would never have been possible under these extraordinary circumstances, but we made it work and showed that it is indeed not only possible to run a kiteboarding event in these times, but to make it a very successful one also!”
Watch the livestream of the men’s and women’s semi-finals and finals here:
Watch all videos of the SuperKite Brasil 2020 in our playlist: