All photos: Svetlana Romantsova
The final GKA Freestyle World Cup of the season is now complete, and yesterday in Cumbuco we crowned our new 2021 GKA Freestyle World Champions – Mikaili Sol and Arthur Guillebert. We took a moment to catch up with both of them to find out how it feels to finish the year on top.
Arthur Guillebert started the season strong taking the win at our first event of the season in Tarifa. He has proved that he is very capable in both big-air and pure freestyle. This is his first World Title, a massive achievement for the french rider.
Congratulations Arthur on your win. Were you expecting to finish this year as our new GKA Freestyle World Champion?
Arthur: I feel so happy, super stoked about my season this year! I’ve been in Tarifa, were I won. I’ve trained a lot in both disciplines, and I like how the sport is turning to the most versatile and complete rider, being able to ride well in both big air and pure freestyle. I honestly love big air and I love freestyle. I think it’s great how we can change the judging criteria according to the wind conditions and it’s gonna make the sport events more flexible and interesting by, not just having to do one discipline and if conditions are not perfect, then we can’t compete. With this format, we are ready for any wind condition.
How much support do you receive from the French Federation?
Arthur: This year we have a great team, with a physio, our coach Seb Garat, and a big group of other riders to train together, we have a lot of support for each competition, so it’s really good. In any case, I hope my result can help to improve kiteboarding, specially the freestyle discipline in France.
Who has really supported you this year to help you achieve this result?
Arthur: I really want to thank my family, all my friends, and my girlfriend. She has been coming with me to each competition, and it’s a great support. Of course, my coach also has supported me so much. And a big thank you to all the people on the beach cheering as well.
What would you like to say to the younger generation who have been watching you this season?
Arthur: I’d really like to show them that everything is possible, and to show the younger generation, particularly in France, that it is a good evolution for the sport.
The final Men’s Freestyle results are:
1st: Arthur Guillebert
2nd: Jeremy Burlando
3rd: Carlos Mario
4th: Posito Martinez
5th: Maxime Chabloz
Mikaili Sol is no stranger to World Titles, as this is now her 4th win. It is an incredible achievement at a very young age, and she is showing no signs of slowing down. With each event, Mikaili is raising the bar of women’s kiteboarding, constantly pushing the level.
Congratulations Mika! How does it feel to be 4x World Champion at just 17 years old?
Mikaili: It feels quite surreal to be honest. I’m just really happy that we have competitions back again, with a World Title. I’m feeling really excited about everything at the moment, it’s really motivating and it’s a great feeling.
Are you hoping to beat Gisela Pulido’s record of 10x World Titles?
Mikaili: Maybe! I guess it could be one of my goals now that some of the double goals are out of the way, maybe that should be something to strive for. Maybe try and get 11 World tittles.
How does it feel to compete so close to home, and having so many people here on the beach to support you?
Mikaili: You know, it’s so nice! I just feel a lot more support than if you were else. It’s a great feeling, almost like you are inspiring people on the beach to start kiteboarding. It’s amazing to see such a wide range of spectators, people from here but also people from the cities.
Anyone in particular that you would like to thank?
Mikaili: I want to thank my family: My mom, my dad, and my brother who are always on the beach supporting me, my friends and all the people who has been at the beach supporting me.
Of course, I also want to thank my sponsors, Duotone, ION, and Vivida. It’s been an amazing year and I am very grateful to all of them.
The final Women’s Freestyle results are:
1st: Mikaili Sol
2nd: Rita Arnaus
3rd: Pippa van Iersel
4th: Nathalie Lambrecht
5th: Bruna Kajiya