Atlantico, Colombia: The first stop of the GKA World Tour got underway yesterday.
With a full day of wind and more in the forecast, energy levels are high for this week and riders are stoked to be here.
The day started off with moody skies as the wind built. Riders started showing up at the event site of Salinas del Rey–the first stop of the 2022 GKA Kite World Cup– at 9am for registration. It was a mellow morning as super stars such as Mikaili Sol (BRA), Bruna Kajiya (BRA), Jeremy Burlando (ESP) and Carlos Mario (BRA) started filling in to confirm their event participation.
Welcoming ceremonies kicked off at 11:00am with a display of fantastic and colourful Colombia dancing. The GKA Freestyle World Cup competition is the first of its kind to be hosted here and the local government came out in full force to support it. Spectators flooded the event site, eager for the action to start.
With an uneven number of competitors in the competition bracket, head judge Alvaro Onieva made the call to use today’s wind to run the seeding rounds. Round one (seeding rounds) only had two heats and competitors from were automatically reseeded into Round 3, giving us a fresh start and setting us up for a full day of competition tomorrow.
The wind kept building throughout the morning with strong gusts coming through by the time the riders meeting concluded at 13:00. Riders began warming up with the current world champion Arthur Guillebert (FRA) throwing huge tricks while the entire beach cheered.
With 22 men and six women representing over 10 countries, the energy is high here in Colombia. 2022 is set up to be the first full year of tour events since the pandemic with over, riders are eager to make their debut. “I’m excited to visit new locations and compete in a full, real tour,” Claudia Leon (ESP) said.
Colombian rider and rising rider, Juan Rodriquez (COL), is most especially excited for Salinas del Rey to host the first event of the season. “It’s been my dream to have a stop in Colombia. I’m stoked.”
Following the seeding rounds, riders had an expression media session. With strong winds, the riders put on a spectacular show, soaring over the crowd and getting them hyped up for tomorrow’s heats.
Round One results:
Following the freestyle format that the GKA introduced at the end of 2019, each rider gets seven trick attempts with four tricks counting towards an overall score. Each trick is scored out of 10 points with judges looking for amplitude, execution, technical ability and style.
The first men’s heat saw two Colombian locals battling it out in the strong wind. Both men utilized the strong gusts to go bigger and power themselves all across the competition area. Local supporters came out in droves to show their support for local shredders, Duvan Macias (COL) and Andre Quintero (COL). With three failed attempts, Duvan Macias was not able to keep it together. Ultimately, Andres Quintero came out on top. Yet, you could see really the heart in each of these riders as they threw everything they had into this heat.
In the second heat, Nelson Gomez (COL) competed against Renzo David (COL). Nelson Gomez dominated with his power and style, landing a backside 315, frontside 315 and a hitenberger mobe five to take home the win.
For more information, see: https://www.gkakiteworldtour.com/events/gka-freestyle-world-cup-colombia-2022/