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‘Moments’ Gallery – GKA Freestyle World Cup Colombia

Published 1st April 2022 by Sensi Graves

 

The GKA Freestyle World Cup Colombia kicked off the 2022 season with a bang! In the end, two Brazilians stole the show but there was plenty of colorful Colombian atmosphere leading up to the finals.

Keep scrolling for the moments gallery from the Freestyle World cup Colombia and highlights from the premiere South American stop of the season. 

Words: Sensi Graves
Photos: Lukas Stiller

Nelson Gomez, kiteboarder, GKA Freestyle World Cup Colombia

Becoming a local legend!

During the early rounds of the competition, local Nelson Gomez dominated his heat, ending day one with a victory and demonstrating that the Colombians were there to compete, not just to play! The local encouragement at this first GKA event of the season was off-the-charts. Backed by the support of the government of the state of Atlantico, the Colombians were proud to see such a big showing at Salinas del Rey. The energy on the beach was contagious and local and visiting riders alike utilized the strong gusts to go bigger and power themselves all across the competition area, putting on a show over the entirety of the event.

 

 

Luis Alberto Cruz

Send it city

One of the features of Salinas del Rey are the small, rolling kickers on the outside of the point. Some riders utilized these natural features to get even more height. Dominican rider, Luis Cruz was one of these athletes absolutely sending it off the kickers on the outside, throwing mega tricks with super height and pop. You could consistently hear a “whoa” from the judges whenever Cruz left the water.

 

 

Estefania Rosa gka kite world cup colombia

Going trick for trick!

In women’s round one, heat two, Claudia Leon and Estefania Rosa battled back and forth to see who could join Mikaili Sol and advance into the next round. Both women were nervous before the heat but put on an awesome showing, making for a nail-biting stand-off. First Leon landed a clean backside 313 and a slim chance but Rosa answered back with a frontside 313 and a Hinterberger mobe and eventually pulled ahead and secured her advancement.

 

 

Juan Rodriguez gka kiteboarding colombia

All smiles all around

The competitor with the biggest smile on his face had to be Colombian Juan Rodriguez. His dream was to have a kite event take place in his home country and this first event of the year was something special for him. He definitely had home-court advantage as the crowd went absolutely nuts every time he took to the water. Colombian pride was in full force and he finished on the podium for the first time!

 

 

There could not be a more magical atmosphere to start off the 2022 season than Salinas del Rey, Colombia! Watch the full recap video below and stay tuned for our next event. 

Valentin Rodriguez kiteboarder colombia

Pushing for it

Injuries are just part of the game and with riders pushing the limits at every single event, sometimes injuries happen. The 2019 World Champion, Colombian Valentin Rodriguez, was another rider with high hopes of impressing on home ground, but a slight tear in his bicep kept him from performing at his best. He ended up losing a crucial battle by less than two points to fellow Colombian, Juan Rodriguez, who handled the pressure with solid riding and perfect kite control.

 

 

Finn Flugel gka colombia kiteboarder

The next generation

12-year old Finn Flugel was one to watch during the comp. His sheer tenacity and stoke after advancing to the men’s quarter-finals were palpable. His riding was technical, with a solid showing of both raley-based and roll-based tricks. Whenever he hit the water, you could tell the GKA crew was cheering for him. Flugel ended up in a heat against Coccoluto and Soares (the eventual event winner)–and was thrilled to be riding with the heavy hitters!

 

 

Gianmaria Coccoluto gka kiteboarding colombia

Style points

Italian rider Giannamaria Coccoluto was a stand-out during the entirety of the GKA World Cup Colombia. He goes big, rides with amplitude and demonstrates a whole heck of a lot of style, on and off the water. Amongst the most consistently high-scoring riders, he had landed the highest-scoring single trick of a heat with a 9.2 for a massive Slim Chance 7, but sadly, he couldn’t keep it together during the finals and ended up in 4th place overall.

 

 

Big air games

The Big Air competition took place on the final day of the competition and the cheering from the beach reached a pinnacle during this portion. There’s a reason why big air showings are awesome–the crowd gets stoked by the magnitude and sheer power displayed every single time a rider leaves the water. Jeremy Burlando was able to beat out local competitor, Duvan Macias, and crowd-favorite, Juan Rodriquez, to secure a win!

 

 

bruna kajiya gka kite world cup colombia

Stand-out alert

The women’s final was a tight heat with Bruna Kajiya leading right up until the very end, though ultimately she lost narrowly to Mikaili Sol. True to herself, Bruna demonstrated consistency, power, and style throughout the competition. One of the standout moments for her was the huge Slim Chance in her final heat, earning a 7.83 from the judges. After the event, Bruna said “I’m just stoked to have landed all my tricks. I was super-powered on my 6m and that kite moves very fast. I handled the conditions and I’m thrilled to finish in second place.”

 

 

Carlos Mario, Gianmaria Coccoluto, Juan Rodriguez, Manoel Soares podium

Riding like a champion

Manoel Soares, currently riding without a title kite sponsor, rode powerfully throughout the event-winning every single heat except one where he finished second to Coccoluto. On top of that, he barely crashed and finished most heats with seven out of seven total scores! His smooth, clean landings and incredible kite control as he sent it to the moon while landing powerful tricks, ensured his first-place finish.

 

 

Mikaili Sol kiteboarder colombia

Pushing the limits

If there’s one word to describe Mikaili Sol’s riding, it’s powerful. She goes big, rides with confidence and is pushing the level of the women higher and higher at every event. During the semi-final heats she was consistently well-above the other competitors. However, in the finals she kept spectators thrilled by chasing Bruna throughout the heat, eventually overtaking the 3x World Champion to come out on top to start the defense of her 2021 title with a win. We can’t wait to see what she lands in 2022, having been the first woman to land a double handle-pass in competition at the end of last year!!

 

 

Click here to see the full 2022 GKA Kite World Tour calendar of events!

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