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Big Air riders under Starters Orders

Published 28th March 2023 by Ian MacKinnon

 

Leading Big Air kiteboarders ready to fight in first GKA World Cup stop at Lords of Tram in France

Lords of Tram GKA Big Air Kite World Cup France 2023
1-30 April, Barcarès

The biggest names in twin-tip Big Air kiteboarding have been put on standby for the opening round of the GKA Big Air Kite World Cup at France’s Lords of Tram event, which is set to kick-off any day.

The 24 men and 12 women chosen for the prestigious contest in Barcarès were selected by their Big Air ranking points, video entries and wildcard allocations by the GKA and the Lords of Tram organisers.

With a promising wind forecast for the opening days of the month-long Lords of Tram competition window, the 36 riders have been given the “yellow” light warning that tells them to be ready to travel to Barcarès at any moment.

A further “green” light notice circulated to the athletes will signal that the action will start a minimum of three days’ later. The alert will be made when the Tramontana’s strong north-westerly offshore winds are forecast to hit at least 30 knots, blowing over the competition area’s flat waters.

Lords of Tram has already staged four successful editions since the first in 2019. But this is the first year the event has teamed up with the Qatar Airways GKA Kite World Tour. It will be the opening stop of the Big Air world championships. The second round will be staged at the Qatar Airways GKA Big Air Kite World Championships in Tarifa, Spain, from 26 May to 16 June, featuring twin-tip, strapless and hydrofoil.

The first one-off Qatar Airways GKA Big Air Kite World Championships were held in Tarifa last year, where Italy’s Andrea Principi, 18, and Brazil’s Mikaili Sol triumphed. Sol’s world title was the remarkable 18-year-old’s sixth.

Both riders are seeded number one for the upcoming battles. But the roster of men and women set to compete is a “Who’s Who” of the Big Air athletes. The men’s slate in particular is stuffed with high-flying young guns who have broken through in the last year.

Key among the men is reigning Red Bull King of the Air (KOTA), Lorenzo Casati, 17, and the runner-up, Jamie Overbeek (NED), also 17. But with the likes of Liam Whaley (ESP), Marc Jacobs (NZL), Aaron Hadlow (GBR), Jeremy Burlando (ESP), the Dutch duo of Giel Vlugt and Cohan van Dijk, and South Africans Luca Ceruti and Jason van der Spuy in the running, it is almost impossible to predict who will take the prize.

The women’s side of the draw is equally competitive. The highest seeds, Zara Hoogenraad (NED), Nathalie Lambrecht (SWE) and Michaela Pilkenton are likely to give Sol a run for her money. But veteran Angely Bouillot (FRA), the first woman to compete in KOTA, and new-comer Francesca Maini (GBR), could also upset the form book. No doubt it will be a spectacular contest. Stay tuned and join us for all the action.

Event Information

  • Location: Parc des Dosses, Port Barcarès, Baracès, France
  • Dates: the competition window will run from 01-30 April, 2023
  • Download the official Event Race Notice
  • Follow all event updates in the official Event Page

What to expect at 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 Tramontane 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.

Stay on top of everything about Lords of Tram by clicking event news.

  • Follow the event page: liveticker, livestream and live scoring
  • Follow our Instagram and our new TikTok account for behind the scenes action and event updates
  • Subscribe to our newsletter for end of day reporting
  • Check out our youtube channel for daily highlight videos.

Liveticker will be updated throughout the day. Event highlight video will be published next morning. Written reports will be posted to the website at the end of the competition day.

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