Report By: Holly Keenan Photos by: Samuel Cardenas
We had an epic day of action on the tenth day of the Qatar Airways GKA Big Air World Championships event window. We crowned two world champions with Capucine Delannoy taking the win in the womens strapless big air followed by Andrea Principi coming out victorious in the Men’s Twin-tip big air.
In the finals of the men’s Qatar Airways GKA Big Air World Championships, Andrea Principi (ITA) made history by scoring a whopping 10 points for his last trick of the final – a double boogie loop! This jaw-dropping manoeuvre was enough for him to take the lead over Liam Whaley and claim the title of Qatar Airways GKA Big Air Twin-Tip World Champion.
Levante Winds Kick In Around Midday
Yesterday morning, riders were greeted with light Levante winds and a scorching, hot Balneario beach. The wind so far has been far from a typical Tarifan forecast. Usually, at this time of year, the Levante winds are blowing non-stop for 5-6 days. Nevertheless, we had a small window to run the competition, with strong Levante winds forecast for today and tomorrow morning.
The wind came pumping through the straits of Gibraltar just after riders had finished their lunch. The women’s strapless big air riders were the first to take to the water and throw down some spectacular moves.
CAPUCINE DELANNOY IS THE NEW QATAR AIRWAYS GKA BIG AIR STRAPLESS WOMEN’S WORLD CHAMPION!
The progression in the women’s strapless has been incredible to watch at this event. Every rider has been sending kiteloop manoeuvres in all of their heats.
One of the highlight heats of the day was in round one with 4 x Kitesurf World Champion, Mikaili Sol battling it out against the Vice Strapless World Champion, Capucine Delannoy and Brazilian shredder, Kesiane Rodrigues.
Capucine started the heat with a huge front roll, followed by an impressive front roll one foot.
Mikaili tried to answer but could not match Capucine’s fluency and consistency. She landed an impressive kite loop that sent everyone on the beach cheering to finish the heat off.
In the women’s strapless big air finals, we saw Capucine Delannoy and Tarifan local Camille Losserand go head to head on the water. Both women were matching each other move for move with Camille pulling off some impressively high rodeo front rolls and back rolls.
Nevertheless, it was Capucine who came out victorious with a huge kiteloop right on the buzzer.
1st Capucine Delannoy (FRA)
2nd Camille Losserand (CH)
3rd Mikali Sol (BRA)
MEN’S TWIN-TIP BIG AIR
The Levante wind continued to build as the men took to the water. Big Air Kite League Cape Town winner Lorenzo Casati proved hard to take your eyes off in the first rounds of competition as he was spinning like there was no tomorrow, throwing some insane quadruple front roll boogie loops. The Italian stallion made it all the way through to the semi finals, where he faced the Tarifan legend,Liam Whaley.
There is arguably no other rider with better knowledge of the spot of Balneario than Liam. This man grew up in these conditions and calls Balneario his backyard. Lorenzo gave it everything he had against Liam but he could not defeat the local legend, allowing Liam to advance straight to the
Semi-Final number two was a mini-final in itself as we had the current BAKL – Tarifa Full Power winner, Giel Vlugt (NLD), up against the one and only Andrea Principi (ITA).
At the start, both riders were matching each other, sending huge double loops, back roll double loops, boogie double loops and, finally, board-off boogie loops. Unfortunately, on Giel’s last trick attempt, he had one of the hardest crashes of the day, coming down like a rocket. Giel gave it everything, but it was not enough to stop the seemingly unbeatable, Andrea Principi.
The Grand Finale
The final of the men’s big air championships was an unforgettable moment in kitesurfing history. These men battled it out right to the very last moments, were both riders had been neck and neck throughout the heat. In the final minutes of the heat, Andrea made a quick kite change and went straight out to land one of the most monumental manoeuvres of the competition so far. His signature boogie double loop had the whole crowd holding their breath as his kite looked like it wasn’t going to catch him. Somehow the Italian managed to ride out of this one and score a whopping 10 points.
Andrea Principi on landing the highest scoring trick of the day;
“This was the most extreme move of the day for me. I saw my kite below me and I thought for sure my kite was not going to catch me. Somehow I managed to make it out alive.”
QATAR AIRWAYS GKA BIG AIR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS RESULTS
1st Andrea Principi (ITA
2nd Liam Whaley (ESP)
3rd Giel Vlugt (NED)
4th Lorenzo Casati (ITA)
Women’s Twin-Tip Round One
In the final heats of the day, just as the sun was setting, we managed to run a few of the women’s round one heats.
Nathalie Lambrecht put on a spectacular performance today, landing a radical backloop kiteloop which secured her the win in round one of the women’s big air.
Another standout rider from the round was Angely Bouillant, who was going twice as high as her competitors and sending insanely technical tricks. Angely managed to land the highest score of the day in the women with a 9.67 for a double back roll megaloop.