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Freestyle tour back with first Dunkerque stop

Published 12th August 2023 by Ian MacKinnon

 

Athletes amped to throw down in competition in France as tour hits mid-point after five-month break

GKA Freestyle Kite World Cup Dunkerque, France 2023
Place du Centenaire, 16—20 August

The leaders in the freestyle discipline of the Qatar Airways GKA Kite World Tour are set to continue their quest for title glory when the world cup makes its upcoming debut stop in Dunkerque, northern France.

Freestyle world champions Mikaili Sol (USA) and Gianmaria Coccoluto (ITA) are ready to battle in the five-day event on the North Sea in the hope of keeping their title defence on track as the GKA Freestyle Kite World Cup Dunkerque marks the season’s mid-point.

Both have one world cup crown to their name this season. But each has also slipped up, unable to press their dominance in a second of the two stops that have been staged.

Now at the GKA Freestyle Kite World Cup France, which will be staged on Dunkerque’s long and wide strand in front of Place du Centenaire, the pair must put points on the board with just two more stops to come.

On a charge

Sol, still just 18, has five freestyle world titles to her name and is eager to make it six, in addition to the two Qatar Airways GKA Big Air Kite World Championship crowns she has bagged.

But Brazil’s veteran freestyler, Bruna Kajiya, with three freestyle world titles, will be keen to make moves in Dunkerque to give herself a chance for a fourth title. She won the first stop in Fuwairit, Qatar, where the season will also wrap up and the champions wil be crowned.

Neither athlete will be able to rest on their laurels. Sweden’s Nathlalie Lambrecht has been on a charge this season and took a second at the GKA Big Air Worlds in Tarifa, in June, demonstrating she means business.

Spain’s Claudia Leon has also shown she has the capability of upsetting the form books after taking a world cup stop victory in Neom, Saudia Arabia, last year. Denmark’s Therese Taabbel is still working her way back to full fitness after injury, but looks dangerous.

Topped the standings

Coccoluto dreams of taking back-to-back world titles, with the hope of a third that he believes would seal his stature in kiting. But already this season the four-times freestyle world champion, Brazil’s Carlos Mario, has put a pin in Coccoluto’s notion with a win at the last tour stop in Salinas del Rey, Colombia, in March.

The top of the men’s order is so tight that picking a winner is too close to call, with any one of half a dozen athletes out of the roster of 24 capable of taking the crown. Brazil’s Manoel Soares and the Colombian duo of Juan Rodriguez and Valentin Rodriguez, have all topped the standings in the past.

The French athletes will no doubt be charged and gunning for glory in front of home fans. Mauritius-based Louka Pitot took a third in Qatar this year, while former world champion Arthur Guillebert will seek to recapture his winning ways. Valentin Garat and Peyo Cremades will want to join the party.

Join us on the Livestream for all the action here.

words: Ian MacKinnon
images: Andre Magarao

Spot Info: Dunkerque

Dunkerque boasts almost 15kms of wide, sandy beaches that are a kiteboarding paradise on the North Sea. It is suitable for all levels of kiteboarders, who can find spots to launch and land easily, depending on their skill level.

Weather
The average maximum daytime temperature in Dunkerque in August is around 22.9°C (73.22°F). Usually, it is the warmest month of the year. The average minimum temperature goes down to around 13.6°C.

Wind
North-east or south-west winds are the most prevalent in Dunkerque. At the event site, those equate to a cross-onshore for the north-easterlies, and cross-shore in the south-westerlies. You can expect some kickers. The average winds range from 13-18 knots, with some days pushing to more than 25 knots.

Event Information

  • Event: GKA Freestyle Kite World Cup France
  • Spot: Place du Centenaire, Dunkerque
  • Dates: 16—20 August, 2023
  • Download the event Race Notice here
  • Follow the whole event here

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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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