Report By: Holly Keenan Photos by: Samuel Cardenas
The Hydrofoil competition kicked-off the action at the Qatar Airways GKA Big Air World Championships in fine style at Bibo Beach on day six of this 16 day waiting period. Hydrofoil kiteboarding is the fastest growing discipline in the sport at the moment and the dynamic efficiency of the equipment means that most recreational riders would find even 20 knots of wind and above quite challenging conditions. A strong 25 knot Poniente wind powered these world championship contenders for an incredible show all Sunday afternoon.
CHARLES BRODEL IS THE OFFICIAL QATAR AIRWAYS GKA BIG AIR HYDROFOIL WORLD CHAMPION!
This years biggest sensation in powerful, radical, big air hydrofoil kiteboarding held his nerve and put on an exciting performance that balanced powerful kiteloops with pure airstyle throughout, proving his rating as the riders favourite to win was valid. He came through with a healthy four point lead over Dutch high flyer Jamie Overbeek, who himself had an incredible day. In round three, Overbeek nailed his intentions to the mast with a 10 point
score from the judges for an incredible boogie loop (yes, were seeing those in foiling now!), but then caught one of Tarifas magic thermal bubbles and rode out of an incredibly long jump hangtime with ease.
One of the sportings worlds emerging great all-rounders, Maxime Chabloz (Freeride Ski World Champion, GKA Kite World Tour Vice World Champion 2021 & GWA Wingfoil World Tour contender) finished third with Alex Soto from the Dominican Republic in fourth.
HIGHLIGHTS: THE FINAL
WINNER: CHARLES BRODEL (FRA)
The rider of day was, without question, Charles Brodel. This rider had the crowds going crazy on the beach as he threw trick after trick, sending it full power in every heat!
Under Charles extensive repertoire of manoeuvres, the one that caught everyones attention in the final was a massive kiteloop backroll. He managed to catch one of those magical Valdevaqueros gusts, which sent him soaring through the air.
Charles Brodel took the well deserved victory at this event and he is now officially a 2 x World Chamipion, claiming the Qatar Airways GKA Big Air Hydrofoil World Championship title here in Tarifa.
2ND: JAMIE OVERBEEK (NLD)
Another rider who surprised everyone today was the sixteen year old Dutch high flyer, Jamie Overbeek.
Jamie had a tight semi finals heat against Dominican rider, Alex Soto, but he was getting just that extra bit more height than Soto, gliding through the air on his Ozone foil kites.
His win in the semis allowed him to qualify for the final wHere he would come up against the now 2 x World Champion, Charles Brodel.
Jamie put on a spectacular show landing that incredible 10 point doobie loop in round three, but come the final he could not match Charles’s consistency that the Frenchman mixed with a high degree of technical difficulty.
3RD: MAXIME CHABLOZ (CHE)
Maxime is one of those athletes who does it all. The newly accredited Red Bull rider competes in a variety of different disciplines and his extensive competition experience helped him to climb up the ladder.
In his first heat against the young gun Finn Flugal, Maxime managed to pull off a powerful board-off kiteloop, a trick that he had only tried and landed for the first time yesterday!
This was Maximes second time competing in a hydrofoil competition on the world tour and he pushed hard, managing to land an impressive dangle pass in the semi final and mini final. Maxime was very pleased with his third position overall as this is not his main discipline, yet he still managed to end up on the podium!
“Yeah, it ended up being a really fun day. I didn’t think it would be this good looking at the conditions this morning. When the wind hits 20 knots, I’d usually grab my twin-tip and go freestyle, but the event today was so much.”
QATAR AIRWAYS GKA BIG AIR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: HYDROFOIL
1st Charles Brodel (FRA)
2nd Jamie Overbeek (NLD)
3rd Maxime Chabloz (SUI)
4th Alex Soto (DOM)
REWATCH THE LIVESTREAM HERE
Seven hydrofoil riders qualified through video entry or via their ranking on last year’s GKA Kite World Tour to reach this winner-takes-the-title Big Air World Championship
QATAR AIRWAYS GKA BIG AIR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP COMPETITORS:
Maxime- Luan Desjardins
Joselito Del Rosario
We also had the Qatar Airways GKA Awards last night were we celebrated some of the most spectacular athletes and moments in kitesurfing! This was truly and unforgettable event.
Update For The Next Few Days
We have light Poniente forecast for the next few days, but we hope to continue with the competition on Tuesday as there is a possibility for some strong Levante winds. In the meantime, here’s how to stay up-to-date with all the events happening.
- Follow our instagram 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 once the competition begins!