GKA Youth world title fights set to kick-off

Published 15th June 2023 by Ian MacKinnon



  • One-off Youth World Championships to crown winners in Freestyle and Strapless disciplines

  • Skills clinics to run in tandem with competition to inspire next generation of kiteboarders

GKA Youth Kite World Championships Tarifa, Spain
Valdevaqueros Beach, 20-25 June, 2023

The GKA is gearing up for youth kiteboarding’s biggest event of the year at the one-off world championships in the Twin-Tip Freestyle and and Kite-Surf Surfboard Freestyle disciplines.

The GKA Youth Kite World Championships are to be staged in Tarifa, Spain, from 20–25 June and will crown the boys’ and girls’ winners in the U14, U16 and U19 age groups.

The event will be run at Valdevaqueros Beach at the Tumbao beach club, opposite the Liam Whaley Pro Center.

The one-off world championships are set to draw 58 young athletes from 20 nations around the world, ready to battle in the various age categories and kiteboarding disciplines.

Some of the athletes have already begun making a name for themselves on the senior Qatar Airways GKA Kite World Tour and will no-doubt be the ones to watch out for at the Youth Worlds.

Already turning heads

Germany’s Finn Flügel, still just 13, has already posted some remarkable performances at GKA world tour freestyle events and last year was named Rookie of the Year at the Qatar Airways GKA Awards. He is set to compete in the U16 Surfboard (Strapless) and U16 Twin-Tip freestyle contests.

In the boys’ U19 Surfboard, France’s Noah Nicolas and Keanu Merten (GER) are both turning heads already. They went huge at the Qatar Airways GKA Big Air Kite World Championships recently in the Surfboard contest at Tarifa’s Balneario beach.

France’s Naïs Balbinot was among the nominees for Rookie at this year’s GKA Awards. She will be competing in the girls’ U19 Twin-Tip freestyle competition.

To be eligible for each age category, the young athletes must be below the age threshold for the whole of this year. For instance, to gain entry to the U14 age group, the rider must be 13-years-old or below for the whole of 2023. For U16, they must be 15 or below all of this year, and in the U19, they must be 18 or less all through this calendar year.

Skills clinics

In addition to the competition, a number of top kiteboarding professionals will be on hand at demo days by major kiteboarding brands. The aspiring young kiteboarding champions will be able to engage with their heroes and test the latest gear with their help.

The young riders will also have the chance to join clinics to help them develop the skills that are vital if they want to pursue a career as a kiteboarding professional.

The plan is to run the clinics on two days, for two hours each day. However, the timing will be flexible to make full use of the wind to run the all-important Youth Worlds.

Sessions will cover vital fitness and nutrition guidance, the use of social media to build and maintain their profiles, a clinic on content creation and marketing, as well as safety on the water.

words: Ian MacKinnon
images: Samuel Cárdenas

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