Is it all about double handle-passes?
Well, you won’t reach the podium in the men’s competition if three out of your four best tricks aren’t double handle-passes. In the women, we’re yet to see a double pass, but Mikaili in particular is getting close and hoping to score them this season.
However, we want to be able to reward super stylish single handle-pass tricks if they’re done with the power, amplitude, speed and the kite positioning that we’re looking for. For example Stefan Spiessberger’s insane grabbed S-mobe 5 looks amazing. Liam also has a massive front blind mobe with a double grab that looks beautiful.
Although we see these tricks in videos, a lot of riders haven’t been doing these really visual and stylish tricks in competition because they see them as a wasted low score when there are only seven trick attempts allowed in a heat.
It’s not just a spin to win. We want to give an opportunity for riders to show us their character. For example we rarely see the rewind tricks now (spinning one way, then back the other, rather than just continuing to a double pass in the same direction (317 for example). If you’re familiar with snowboarding, you’ll know that a backside 180 looks simple, but if done big and with control, there are few more beautiful tricks.
Who should we be looking out for?
Carlos Mario (Brazil) is three-time World Champion and always a favourite. He’s also getting really close to bringing in the more stylish grabs on his double handle-passes, too. Adeuri Corniel (DR) has however been getting super close to him and Valentin Rodriguez (Colombia) is also very capable, but hasn’t proved his mindset over a long period at this very top level. I’m curious to see Liam Whaley (Spain – 2015 World Champion) make his return from injury at this event because we know how strong his mind is. Also look out for Brazilian Erick Anderson – he could hurt them because he has the style we’re looking for and can also add stylish grabs to his doubles – even better than Carlos at the moment! Maxime Chabloz (Switzerland) should also make podiums this season.
On the women’s side I’m really happy to see Bruna Kajiya (Brazil) return! Francesca Bagnoli (6 x Italian Champion) has been riding really well, but I think Bruna will give reigning champion Mikaili Sol (Brazil) a run for her money. It has been two years since Mikaili and Bruna competed against each other – and Mikaili is still only 14, so she has developed a lot since then. It will depend on how Bruna has recovered after six months off the water with her meniscus injury, but she’s always super strong mentally.