GKA launches new Big Air era

Published 16th February 2023 by Ian MacKinnon


GKA Kite World Tour teams with top Lords of Tram event to forge new era in Big Air kiteboarding

Lords of Tram GKA Big Air World Cup 2023, Bacarès, France

The Qatar Airways GKA Kite World Tour is thrilled to join France’s famed Lords of Tram event for the first stop of an international tour that marks a new beginning in the fast-growing discipline of twin-tip Big Air.

The new tour with two stops confirmed, and a third hopefully to be announced shortly, will crown men’s and women’s champions in the spectacular Big Air discipline.

The Lords of Tram event, which takes its name from the famously-strong Tramontane winds that habitually blow over the flat-water competition area at Barcarès, boasts a strong pedigree.

It has staged four successful editions since 2019 and the organisers are stoked to team up with the GKA Kite World Tour, which held the first one-off Qatar Airways Big Air World Championships in Tarifa, Spain, last year.

The reigning twin-tip Big Air world champions, Italy’s Andrea Principi and Brazil’s Mikaili Sol are seeded number one to compete in the opening GKA Big Air World Cup at Lords of Tram, with its scheduled month-long window from 1 to 30 April. The second stop is set for Tarifa between 26 May to 16 June.

The 24 men and 12 women who earn the right to battle at Lords of Tram will be given the “green light” to compete when the Tramontane’s strong north-westerly offshore winds are forecast to hit at least 30 knots.

Those furious winds are considered a bare minimum necessary for the spectacular 25-metres high jumps that the riders will be throwing down, in combination with heart-stopping megaloops and double loops with board-offs. Snow-capped Pyrenean mountains will provide a fitting backcloth for the drama.

The GKA judging criteria will reward height and amplitude, particularly as the wind starts to crank up. But the scoring will also acknowledge risk and controlled commitment with an added “wow” factor that will no doubt please the crowds on the shoreline.

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

Riders pre-qualified for Lords of Tram 2023

Eight male and four female riders who are pre-qualified to compete at the Lords of Tram event have been taken from the 2022 GKA Big Air rankings. See the full rankings here.

Women’s seeding:

  1. Mikaili Sol
  2. Zara Hoogenraad
  3. Nathalie Lambrecht
  4. Michaela Pilkenton

Men’s seeding:

  1. Andrea Principi
  2. Liam Whaley
  3. Giel Vlugt
  4. Lorenzo Casati
  5. Jesse Richman
  6. Jeremy Burlando
  7. Evan Klijn
  8. Luca Ceruti

If you haven’t pre-qualified, you can still apply for one of the remaining 16 men’s or eight women’s spots by submitting a video application. The deadline for entries is February 28, 2023. Hurry up, and submit your videos through the video application link HERE.

Entry allocation

24 male riders

  • Top eight Big Air men are pre-qualified
  • Best twelve video applications will be chosen by the GKA sports committee
  • Two entries will be through GKA wildcard invitation
  • Two entries will be through Lords of Tram organiser’s wildcard

12 female riders

  • Top four Big Air women are pre-qualified
  • Best six video applications will be chose by the GKA sports committee
  • One entry will be through GKA wildcard invitation
  • One entry will be through Lords of Tram organiser’s wildcard invitation


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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