Report By: Holly Keenan Photos by: Samuel Cardenas
First Day of The Visit Qatar GKA Kite Expo
This year the Qatar Airways GKA Big Air World Championships (20 June – 06 July) is being hosted alongside the Visit Qatar GKA Expo, running from the 21st to the 26th of June and the GKA Awards night on the 25th of June.
Yesterday saw the opening of the Visit Qatar GKA Expo and registration day for all the riders. The sun was blazing over Valdevaqueros, setting the perfect stage for riders and brand exhibitors to assemble.
The Qatar Airways GKA Big Air World Championships is the biggest Kitesurfing event ever staged!
We have over 61 accomplished riders from all over the world ready to compete at this monumental event.
It was great to see everyone in such high spirits and united with the same goal of showcasing all that kitesurfing has to offer.
Catch Up with the Brand Exhibitors
With 23 brand exhibitors at this event, there was plenty of newly released equipment to be tried and tested by the public!
We were lucky enough to catch up with some brand representatives to find out just how important this event was for them.
Philipp Becker, Duotone Marketing Manager:
“The GKA Expo is unique regarding the scale of the event and how the GKA has made a huge effort to get everyone in the kitesurfing community together. Tarifa is also the mecca of kitesurfing, making it the ideal place for annual meetup.”
Klaus Warkentin, Business Development Director at North Kiteboarding:
“The combination of having an expo linked to a big air event is inspiring for us. Interaction with the consumer is critical, so events like this are so important.
Brands can show their products directly to customers and deliver a 360-degree experience with staff, riders and products.
We hope this event will continue to grow each year and open doors to a period where our community shows the world the beauty and potential of our sport.”
With a competition of this magnitude comes big expectations, which means a lot of pressure is resting on the event organizers’ shoulders.
According to the GKA Event Organizer, Tom Hartmann, one of the biggest challenges they face is having all the crew and riders on standby for three weeks, with everyone needing to be ready to go as soon as the conditions are optimal.
As this is primarily a big air event, the riders require around 30 knots to run the twin-tip and strapless Big Air competition and around 25 knots to run the hydrofoil. The GKA has set aside a three-week waiting period so that they can wait for the perfect conditions.
The forecast is looking light for the coming days, providing riders with a perfect opportunity to enjoy the GKA Kite Expo and work with the brands to showcase all the new and exciting kitesurfing equipment.
The official Opening Ceremony for The Qatar Airways GKA Big Air Championships will take place on Thursday, the 24th of June, so if you are in Tarifa, make sure to head over to Bibo Beach to celebrate the start of a monumental event!
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!
We have also created an official Tarifa event magazine to keep you up to date with everything you need to know about the Qatar Airways GKA Big Air World Championships event and all the things going on at the Expo – including how to get your hands on the newest equipment!
Scroll down to open the official Tarifa Event Magazine