Opening Day – Visit Qatar GKA Freestyle Kite World Cup

Published 31st January 2023 by Andrea Susanne Opielka


Day one’s training session gives a sense of what’s to come this week, plus hear how this incredible new spot came to life for kiteboarding

Round one of the 2023 Qatar Airways GKA Kite World Tour running 31 January – 04 February. Find the official live event page here

Tuesday 31st January:
The opening day of the Visit Qatar GKA Freestyle Kite World Cup at Fuwairit Kite Beach Resort in Qatar saw bright blue skies and warm southerly winds at the event site all day.

In the end the wind didn’t become suitable to make a start to the competition at this opening event of the Qatar Airways GKA Kite World Tour season, especially as there are stronger northerly winds forecast later in the week.

Competitors took advantage of the available conditions to hit the lagoon at this amazing new location.

The person responsible for seeing the potential of this spot and putting Fuwairit in Qatar on the kiteboarding map is FKB General Manager, Sarah Lord.

“I’ve spent my life here in Qatar. In the early 2000s we found this beach that no one seemed to know about, north of Doha. The population was super small and kitesurfing was a very new sport. A group of us got together and found this spot when we started kiting. I became addicted to kiting and when I started travelling more I started comparing other locations and realised that Qatar’s actually got optimal conditions, it’s super safe and I thought we need to do something there and put Qatar on the kitesurfing map.”


While most riders focused their practice time in front of the FKB centre, some of the women ventured upwind to find their own personal play park.

The forecast for stronger northerly winds looks good for later in the week. Stay tuned for all updates via the event live page on our website as well as all social media channels.


Among some smaller technical adaptations to trick family structures that aim to increase competitive excitement, essentially the Freestyle-Kite competition format will still see the four highest scoring tricks counting to a rider’s heat score from a total allowance of seven trick attempts.

NEW! To add further overall excitement, a new variety score will be added at the end of the heat once the judges have assessed a rider’s all-round performance.

Some of the trick families have now been combined. The newly adapted trick families are:

1 Heelside Tricks – which is itself divided into four sub-families
sub-Family 1: raley based tricks
sub-Family 2: slims, S-mobes and KGB
sub-Family 3: hinterbergers and heartattacks
sub-Family 4: Mobes, including double half-cab mobes

2 Toeside / blind tricks
3 Rewinds
4 Combos
5 Kiteloop or downloops


The maximum variety score on offer to each rider in a heat is seven points, which will be combined with the total of 40 available points from four tricks. Absolute heat perfection will now be a score of 47 points.

Most riders will still focus their tricks on the more common heelside families. However, for the men, three of the seven possible variety score points are only available if a rider manages to throw a clean trick from families 2, 3, 4 or 5 alongside a maximum of 3 heelside tricks from the different sub-families.

Therefore, 25% of the variety score for men is only available from adding something more unusual to those tricks that we usually see in Freestyle competition. So judges are now looking for more than just heelside Freestyle tricks; the aim of which is to add an extra level of riding diversity and excitement as the riders continue to push the discipline’s evolution.

For the women, there are no limitations as their own trick progressions are still developing quickly within the heelside trick families. So they can focus on all four heelside trick families, but of course will be well rewarded for successfully landing good tricks from families 2, 3, 4 and 5, too, but that’s not necessary to achieve seven points.

Read the full 2023 Freestyle Kite rule book here


Dates: 31 January – 04 February

Livestream links: Event live page / YouTube / Facebook

Social: Instagram / Facebook / TikTok 

Our official event live webpage features:
Elimination ladders
Live heat scores
Video and photo galleries
Liveticker and location info
And more!

The Visit Qatar GKA Freestyle-Kite World Cup runs at Fuwairit Kite Beach from 31 January – 04 February. Follow the event live:

Image for Moona Whyte doubles up with perfect tens

Moona Whyte doubles up with perfect tens

Hawaii-based world champion blows away the field with stunning riding to win season opener in Cape Verde

Read this article
Image for Cozzolino lands emotional win in Ponta Preta

Cozzolino lands emotional win in Ponta Preta

All-Cape Verdean final was dramatic climax to epic contest fought out in stellar conditions

Read this article
Image for Ponta Preta teases athletes on a tricky day

Ponta Preta teases athletes on a tricky day

Forecast swell failed to materialise allowing only one heat late in the session after a day of waiting

Read this article
Image for Athletes charge waves in season tour opener

Athletes charge waves in season tour opener

Big name favourites survive early jeopardy as year's first stop in Cape Verde opens with thrilling contests

Read this article