GKA Freestyle World Cup Tarifa 2021 | FLIGHT TO THE FINALS

Friday 25th June

Report: Sasha Jade / All photos: Samuel Cardenas / Video: Mintautas Grigas

Happy Friday Ladies and Gentlemen! Currently Reporting to you sheltered in a container as the sandstorm continues to blast. The angry wind has coated the remaining blue of the ocean with whirling whitecaps to the shoreline.

The Atmosphere on the beach is intense as the riders huddled behind the gear container, in an attempt to hear the judges over the loud Levante in the first skippers’ meeting.

Due to the dangerously overpowered conditions for any form of Freestyle, it was no surprise to the riders when the judges announced the format of the day to be pure Big-Air. The talk went straight to safety measures.

Judging by today’s conditions the primary battle would continue to be between the Riders and the wind. With that in mind, the Judges decided on changing the rules to one man on the battlefield at a time to ensure the safety of the riders.

The athletes competing in the heat would conquer the battlefield 7 times, returning to the shore after each trick attempt, to clear the competition area for the next competitor to take the stage. The judges will be counting the best 3 tricks.

We shortly followed into heat 16, and all eyes are on the battlefield as the warriors are known to conquer. Initially, the battle was between Carlos Mario (BRA) and Valentín Rodriguez (COL) as they answered each other back with their Loops. 

By the third trick, Lorenzo Calcano (DOM) stepped up overtaking Mario as he one-upped his previous Kiteloop Backroll. 

Mario worked his way back with his next trick attempt, pulling the first board of the day. But Calcano didn’t give up then, responding with one of his own. Not quite managing to get the Frontroll in, he fell behind. 

Gianmaria Coccolutto (ITA) silently shadowed his competitors throughout the heat, not calling any attention to him until he unexpectedly took center stage with a HUGE Kiteloop, reaching the highest score of the Heat! 

You could tell Rodriguez who was confidently holding his first place, wasn’t so sure anymore as he began to defend his position. 

Calcano wasn’t going to let Coccolutto claim the overtake as he looped his way back up and over to second place. Mario Followed right behind him, consistently landing his remaining tricks.

Silent but deadly Coccoluto was far from silent in this re-run. Italian stallion rode those white caps like a boss, terminating the battlefield from the green flag get-go. He must be hiding some deep pockets in his suit to store all those moves. He finished us off taking one foot out to step his way over to the next round.

The judges continued to progress into the women’s competition, ensuring they got their time on the battlefield to climb up the ladder. Te brave ladies had been watching the men struggle to hold on to their smallest kites all morning, building their nerves heat at a time. 

But the show much goes on! And these queens proved to us the only limits are those you set in your mind as they took on the battlefield throughout the day. Mad respect to these inspiring woman.

 Rita Arnaus (ESP) kicking us off with a solid heat, game face on as she fully focused on timing finding the perfect moments to show her confidence in her abilities.

Estefânia Rosa (BRA) hasn’t had easy heats’ this competition, but once again she held her ground nicely throughout the heat. Arnaus spun her way to the Semi’s with an uncannily smooth backroll, that made us question the hectic conditions for a split second. 

Nathalie Lambrecht (SWE) had been training hard under Luca Pitot’s (FRA) wing and was disappointed she didn’t get the chance to show us what she’s learned in her challenging heat yesterday. 

Although the conditions were tougher, she took her second chance with a smile and came back with a bang! She must have been taking good notes from Pitot, as she dominated the battlefield with confidence, variety, and power taking the scores up and over the men’s category. The queen continued her climb to the throne in the Semis.

Promptly flipping straight back into round 5 of the men’s, we had a chance to understand Lambrecht’s progression, as Luca Pitot (FRA) boosted straight up and away to the dunes capturing the judge’s attention consistently throughout his heat. 

Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to maintain it, as Fellow French man Arthur Guillebert (FRA) made all of us dizzy drawing our eyes to his unmissable Kiteloop Frontrolls he kept banging out like a machine gun. 

Ewan Jaspan (AUS) fired back and hit the target with the highest-scoring one, securing himself another shot in the Semi’s.

In the following heat both Dominicans, Adeuri Corniel (DOM), and Joselito Del Rosario (DOM) brought their spice back to the battlefield each determined to be the one to take the crown back to their homelands. 

Jeremy Burlando (ESP) splashed that dream out of the water for Del Rosario, as he overtook both Dominicans by just a few winning points! 

After Gianmaria Coccoluto’s (ITA) last performance the eyes were peeled on him as the audience wondered if the Colombian had anything left for them in his secret pocket. 

He clearly wasn’t expecting the stash of front rolls the flipping Frenchmen spun out. Between Paul Serin (FRA) Valentin Garat (FRA) they spun their competitors dizzy for the following few trick attempts. 

As the time ran out and Valentín Rodriguez (DOM) fell behind, realizing it was time to whip out what he had been storing for us in his back pocket, doubling up the Kiteloop Backrolls of the heat. 

But doubling up wasn’t enough to overtake the French men. 

Garat and Serin tailed each other closely in the lead, Serin’s total score leaving him one step closer than his teammate to the finish line. 

He flipped straight to the Semi’s, but it’s not over for Garat just yet, as he gets another chance to overtake Serin there!

The Levante may be driving us crazy here on the nuking shores of Tarifa, but what we just saw in the following was downright INSANE. 

The riders took the scores stratospherical.

Karim Mahmoud (EGY) clearly found the portal to another planet down in Egypt. He was the first to set the bar with his Kiteloop Double Frontroll, raising the trick score to a high 8.43! With Posito Martinez (DOM) right behind him, he maintained his position till the end pulling a Double Boogie-loop so big that he ran out of comp ground. The entire shore was boogying to that one as they cheered loud enough to reach the Alien.

Martinez must have found another portal in DR, flying through it with his last 2 tricks, also defying gravity with his unexplainable Kiteloop Frontroll scoring a 9.7 highest scoring trick of the day so far!
Unfortunately for the audience, Mascher of mischief Oswald Smith (ZAF) wasn’t feeling mischievous enough to follow them up to space. 

We were flying up the ladder with this wind. By 17.00 pm we reached the women’s Semifinals! The Ladies took their turn with a smile on their face as they now knew what they are up for and know they can handle it. 

What a show they put on, answering each other back consistently throughout the heat. Claudia León (ESP) was the first to turn the heat up a notch with her Double Backroll, but both Rita Arnaus (ESP) and Bruna Kajiya (BRA) showed they were used to the warmth as they met the Spanish Señorita there without breaking a sweat. 

It was Arnaus who cranked the heat up all the way in her last 2 trick attempts looping the backrolls to another level scoring her a fiery 7.5, the extra spice that she needed to make it through to the final battle. 

Pippa Van Iersel (NED) attempted to loop up there with her in her last trick, proving that she too can handle the heat of a queen. It wasn’t enough to prove herself worthier than Arnaus that time, but it was enough to give her another chance, and take her through the final battle!

It didn’t get any cooler in the next heat. We’re all scorching by the end of it! The conquering queens that caught our attention in their previous performance were drawn to face each other in the last heat of the Semis. 

Mikaili Sol (BRA) showed her confidence upon entry, as she kicked the heat off with a Double Frontroll Board-off without breaking a sweat. She must have made her rivals nervous as they all struggled to answer back at that volume. Sol didn’t stop there as she looped her way even higher, scooping us speechless with her smooth execution. 

Hannah Whiteley (GBR) held her ground, slowly adapting to the heat Sol was emitting. Sol continued to roll over her competitors, landing another double smoothly once again, but Whiteley bit back with a substantial board off, showing she wasn’t ready to roll over yet. 

Sol clearly wasn’t expecting that, as she struggled to locate that confidence in her next three attempts. Whitely continued to hold her ground, gaining points on the undefeated Sol. Whiteley looped her way up to Sol’s level in the final minutes of the heat, nearly overtaking Sol’s previous attempt. But Sol wasn’t having any of it, looping back into action to ensure she could claim the crown of the Kiteloops.

We’re almost there folks, all the warriors have managed to power climb up the ladder to the finals! Valentin Garat (FRA) was back to kick off the first heat of the men’s Semi’s with a Double Frontroll Kite loop that made a statement that he was ready to take his second chance to the crown.

Each rider proceeded to answer back, reminding Garat wasn’t the only one that was ready. Arthur Guillebert (FRA) showed just how ready he was, surpassing Garats Double, continuing to boosting up his score flipping the audience all over the place as they couldn’t keep their eyes off the machine! 

The remaining riders continued to climb their way to the new heights guillotine Guillebert was flying to, but as they were gaining ground so was he, determined to be the first to the crown. Garat persistently looped his way closer, not ready to give up, but Jeremy Burlando (ESP) managed to gain the height he needed doubling the altitude of his previous double Backroll Kiteloop at the last moment to take him to the finals!

With only 2 spots left in the final battle, the pressure was on in the next heat. Looks like it was enough to crack young Serin as he came crashing off the ladder. The warrior took a gnarly beating from a gust, leaving him defeated after a long tiring climb.

The remaining riders in the heat kept their game face on as they chased each other up the ladder. Ewan Jaspan (AUZ) was in the lead after adding a double to his first Backroll. Posito Martinez (DOM) was right behind him, Tic taking his way up, but as the time ran out, Adeuri Corniel (DOM) flipped his way in front of him sending us all squinting into the sun with his massive Kiteloop Frontroll. 

Posito persisted, answering back with one of his own, but it wasn’t enough to overtake his fellow Dominican. Corniel nearly looped his way past Jaspan with his last Kiteloop of the heat, but Jaspan held his ground giving the audience one last thrill with the variety of his Frontroll Contraloop. 

We were down to our final warriors, ready to take on the final battle claim the first crown of the year.

The Women’s finalists put back on their armor and head back to the water. Wind still neuking, and the girls continued to battle the conditions move to move. Young Mikaili Sol (BRA) showed her dominance in the sport once again, totaling 20+ point averages back to back. Without looking back, the queen fearlessly claimed her way to the crown!

Pippa Van Iesel (NED) looped back strong, giving the Brazillian a run for her money. Unfortunately, missed her last reach to the crown but strongly secured the second position.

 Hannah Whiteley (GBR) pushed through some tough Levante gusts pulling together a decent part of her repertoire secured her third-place position on the power podium.  Rita Arnaus (ESP) coming in with Spanish fire from the semi-finals, couldn’t quite maintain the heat up as she struggled to land her bigger moves.

The queens head back to the shores of their kingdom as the final gladiators head out for the last battle of the day! Although the Spanish summer sun remained up, it was already 20.00 o clock! 

Jeremy Burlando (ITA) taking an early lead, a new rookie on tour pulling a move from move-in his dance with the big names in the final. Italian Stallion had got glimpses of the glistening crown as he boosted his way up the ladder to the final. He knew he was getting closer and continued full speed ahead to claim it.

The Dominican Adeuri Cornieu followed a different strategy, leaving the best till last. In the final moments of the heat, he gathered all his remaining energy, throwing Kiteloop above the skylines of Morrocco! But it wasn’t high enough to take the 3rd position from Ewan Jaspan (AUS) who solidly held his ground throughout the heat

Arthur Guillebert has been in flames since the beginning of the event, showing that he can handle any conditions thrown at him. The flipping Frenchman hasn’t messed a beat since the first green flag that rose. He politely removed his board stepping over Burlando, his last obstacle to the crown, and proceeded to claim the first World Cup title of his career!

Meet The GKA Freestyle World Cup Tarifa 2021 | BIG AIR podium! 

1. A. Guillebert (FRA)
2. J. Burlando (ITA)
3. E. Jaspan (AUS)
4. A. Corniel (DOM)

1. M. Sol (BRA)
2. P. Van Iersel (NLD)
3. H. Whiteley (GBR)
4. R. Arnaus (ESP)

These warriors have been perservering to climb up the ladder for 2 solid days hanging on strongly through the gnarly Levante. Up and above their comfort zone from the first day with the new pure big air format the conditions required.

Each and every one of them showed up with courage, bringing everything they had to the uninviting shores of this event and invited us to be entertained.
They all head back for a well-deserved drink. But we’re not celebrating yet as they will be returning at noon (12.00 pm-CET) for one last chance to express themselves on this battlefield, in case they left anything behind!

The official celebration will be held Sunday Afternoon. Stay tuned!

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