Big Air riders under starters orders

Published 13th April 2024 by Ian MacKinnon


Eagerly-awaited world championship title race opener gets ‘green’ light at Lords of Tram GKA World Cup in Barcarès

Lords of Tram GKA Big Air Kite World Cup France 2024
30 March—28 April, Barcarès

The eagerly-anticipated opening round of the Qatar Airways GKA Big Air Kite World Championship title race is set to kick off at the Lords of Tram event in Barcarès, southern France, after organisers signalled a “green” light.

The “green” light warning tells the 24 men and 12 women athletes that the contest could start any day after it was flashed on Friday, 12 April, and that the athletes should get to the competition site.

With the forecast Tramontana winds that blow off the Pyrenees looking sufficiently strong for the spectacular Big Air discipline, the competition could begin early on Monday, 15 April and will span two to three days if conditions oblige.

Reigning world champion Andrea Principi (ITA) is up for the fight, set to open the defence of his crown at Barcarès, where the winds can hit 50 knots blowing over the flat waters of the lagoon.

Upset form books

But Italy’s Lorenzo Casati, ranked number two, and the Dutchman Giel Vlugt, will be looking to upset the form books after training hard to perfect new moves in the off-season.

Vlugt moves up to the third seed after Cohan van Dijk (NED) was forced to pull out as he is still recovering from a long-standing injury. But the men’s line-up is stuffed with a host of talent, including another Dutchman Jamie Overbeek and the young Brazilian Josué “Baby Shark” San.

A clutch of other young teenaged riders have have also been given their first chance to showcase their talents on the international stage. Fourteen-year-old, Leonardo Casati, the younger brother of Lorenzo, and Briton Max Tullett, also 14, will be joined by Shahar Tsabary (ISR) and Martin Rahnel, both 15.

However, the age and vast experience of former Red Bull Kings of the Air, Aaron Hadlow (GBR) and Marc Jacobs (NZL), can never be ruled out as they seek to upstage the young guns who have been pushing Big Air to new heights.

Seize the opportunity

Among the women, Qatar Airways GKA Big Air Kite World Champion, Mikaili Sol, is missing from the Lords of Tram line-up after she decided to step back from competition to rest and recharge after years on the circuit.

Sweden’s Nathalie Lambrecht is the number one seed and will undoubtedly look to seize the opportunity. But France’s Big Air specialist, Angely Bouillot, battling at her home spot, will be tough to beat.

Another Frenchwoman, Justine Avril, is ranked number four, but Zara Hoogenraad (NED), Francesca Maini (GBR) and Pippa van Iersel (NED), returning to Big Air after a long injury lay-off, will all be hoping to steal a march on the favourites.

Be sure to join us for what will be thrilling battles on the water and find out who will stake their claims to the coveted 2024 Big Air crowns.

words: Ian MacKinnon
images: Samuel Cárdenas / Lords of Tram Media


Andrea Principi
Lorenzo Casati
Giel Vlugt
Jamie Overbeek
Josué San
Marc Jacobs
Jeremy Burlando
Jason van der Spuy
Aaron Hadlow
Stino Mul
Edgar Ulrich
Julian Huynh
Arthur Guillebert
Clement Huot
Valentin Garat
Lucas Gramstrup
Nathan Texier
Evan Klijn
Leonardo Casati
Martin Rahnel
Shahar Tsabary
Ruben Swart
Josh Gillitt
Max Tullett


Nathalie Lambrecht
Angely Bouillot
Zara Hoogenraad
Justine Avril
Francesca Maini
Pippa van Iersel
Jasmine Cho
Nora Klement
Sarah Sadek
Lana Herman
Svenja Peters
Alessa Mensch

Spot Info: Barcarès

Wind: The Tramontane blowing northerly, or north-westerly offshore, is best. The spot is non-tidal, with flat waters and temperatures of 10-20C.

The best wind for Big Air is 25-40 knots. (On Windguru the perfect forecast is 25 knots, with gusts of 30-35 knots—with the gusts as a reference point for the true wind.)

The wind is usually 5-10 knots in excess of the forecast, especially if the air temperatures are cold.

Specifics of the spot: The wind funnels in the corner of the jump zone, with result that riders can often jump three metres to five metres higher than usual.

The jump area has deep water, which makes it safer in the event of a crash.

The best seasons for the Tramontana run from March to June, and September to December. During summer, southern France’s hot weather can disrupt the pattern.

Within 500 metres the spot boasts two cable parks: a full-size Téléski Nautique and the “out and return” Sailor Wakepark. Just a kilometre away there is a full-size indoor and outdoor skatepark—Shakapark.

At the competition spot there is a bar-restaurant, The Spott, and a Duotone branded kiteschool, Surf&Kite.

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