Brodel’s Brilliance – Copa Kitley Hydrofoil-Freestyle World Cup Brazil

Published 27th November 2022 by Jim Gaunt


The Frenchman blazed his way to another hydrofoil world title, landing two moves for the first time in competition along the way

On the final day of the Copa Kitley GKA Kite-Surf and Hydrofoil-Freestyle World Cup combo event it was time to get the big air party started with the foilers!

Reflecting exactly why hydrofoiling is taking off around the world – the riders were sending big tricks in as little as 14 knots at times.

This is the fun of foiling and throughout the afternoon it felt like at times we were back in 2006, with double and triple front rolls, huge board-offs and handle-passes, but now mixed with kite loops and more foil-specific moves, like ‘around the worlds’.

In 14 – 18 knots riders were able to fly 10 – 15 metres high without needing such super strong wind as needed on a twin-tip. Mixing LEI kites for the kite loops and foil kites for the big floaty airs, this competition had all the technical thrill of freestyle or kite-surf contests, but with a more relaxed, fun atmosphere given the rapid evolution that the discipline is currently experiencing, fuelled by the riders at this event.

As a relatively new discipline, the fleet was kept tight at 13 of the best riders in the world who would compete for this single event, winner-takes-all World Championship.

While plenty of riders impressed, including Ryan Parsons who introduced us all to front rolls with a wing slide on landing, there is one man who is currently blazing a trail more than most in this discipline, similar to Airton Cozzolino in the early strapless-freestyle days.


Alongside the more floaty spins that are well recognised in hydrofoiling, Charles Brodel is mixing moves into his heat performances that are better associated with hardcore big-air twin-tip riding.

His thrilling mix of power and precision is simply unbeatable.

The Frenchman claimed the GKA Big-Air Hydrofoil World Championship title earlier in the year and brought his A-game to Taiba, too.

Landing kite loop board-offs in each heat (he’s still the only rider able to do so), in his semi-final against Maxime Chabloz, Charles wrote history with the first contra loop front roll board off and back roll kite loop board-offs on a hydrofoil in a competition.

He landed both moves again in the final against Alex Soto and looked as if he could have gone on and on making unbelievable landings had the heat not come to an end.

Taking nothing away from the Dominican who made it to the final, Alex Soto is enjoying a resurgence in this second phase of his career, after being one of the golden generation of ‘Cabarete kids’ who rocked the freestyle world tour in the early 2000s.

Alex’s exhibition of sent front mobes also inspired Maxime Chabloz to evolve his own high handle-passes while competing at this event.

In finishing third, Maxime caps off an incredible few weeks here in Brazil. The Swiss star finished runner-up in the GKA’s Freestyle-Kite finals earlier in November and claimed third in the GWA Wingfoil Surf-Freestyle World Cup event last week.

The Hydrofoil-Freestyle discipline may still only be finding its feet, but you can be sure that wherever it goes next, Charles Brodel will be at the forefront.

Find all heat scores and elimination ladder on the event page here.


1 Charles Brodel (FRA)
2 Alex Soto (DOM)
3 Maxime Chabloz (SUI)
4 Maxime Desjardins (FRA)


Copa Kitley GKA Kite World Cups 23 - 27th November:

That’s a wrap for this event in Taiba, thanks to all the Copa Kitley team and GKA crew!

This event in Taiba was a double header, where Kite-Surf and Hydrofoil-Freestyle World Champions were crowned. 13 male Hydrofoil-Freestylers, 28 male Kite-Surf and 16 female Kite-Surf riders competed at the event.

The Copa Kitley GKA Kite-Surf World Cup Brazil was round two for the wave & strapless-freestyle riders. Round one ran in Dakhla, Morocco in early October. See the action from that event here.

The Copa Kitley GKA Hydrofoil-Freestyle World Cup Brazil was a one-off, winner takes all event.


Words: Jim Gaunt
Photos: Svetlana Romantsova
Cameras: Julien Leleu & Diogo Cardoso
Video edits: Carlos Ortola

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