GKA Freestyle World Cup — Tarifa 2021: The GKA Tarifa competition presented absolutely nuking winds for what was supposed to be a light wind freestyle competition, and our riders rose to the challenge of an unplanned big air event and absolutely charged. We were so stoked to see Ewan Jaspan up on the podium to claim 3rd in this challenging competition.
The riders were gearing up for a light wind freestyle competition, and after day 1, the event took a turn from freestyle to big air. Day one started slow, with Levante winds slowly picking up. Little did everyone realize that day two was about to get wild! Reporter Sasha Jade said, “if there’s one thing I know about my hometown, it is that when Tarifa shows up, it always comes with full force. The Poniente* is politely turning itself over for the Levante* to blow our minds. With the forecast in the purple zone, you better strap in; we’re in for a treat!”
Ewan said, “The forecast for Tarifa was all over the place, but it seemed like a strong Levante* wind cycle was closing in, and forecasters were calling for 30+ knots gusty offshore winds, not exactly what we had trained for, but exciting nonetheless!”
Ewan Jaspan and Christophe Tack competed on day 1, winning their heats and advancing to round 3. The team was ready to take on the next few days of competing, no matter what conditions presented.
“The event was greenlit, and we got started with round one in a mellow 15 knots onshore. Perfect conditions to bust out the 14 m Torch and my 152 Traverse EJ. I advanced first in my heat, going straight to round three, to face Maxime Chabloz, one of the top freestylers in the world, but the next day, conditions weren’t anything like we had seen on tour for a while. 40+ knots and big gusts were upon us and the competition format changed to big air comp criteria. Lucky for me, B3 watersports are in town and stock all the Naish equipment and hooked me up with an 8 m Pivot, fresh out the box. Big up to those guys!” said Ewan.
Day 2 was on, and the winds were nuking. Ewan told us, “I was a bit nervous about these conditions but was able to ride smart and land all my tricks to progress to round 5.” He won his heat and started mentally preparing for round 5. Meanwhile, Christophe and Louka placed 3rd in their heats, which advanced both riders to round 4. Katie Potter also placed 3rd in her heat and was set to compete again the following day. At this point, the wind had gotten to be so strong that the competition as a whole had to be placed on pause to reconsider the structure. Ultimately, the judges decided that with the strength of the wind, freestyle was out of the question and big air would be more suitable for the conditions. Tack, Jaspan, and Pitot rigged their smaller kites and got ready for battle.
Moving into day 3, Ewan said, “I did the same thing in the following heats, and was into the quarter-finals, and again to the semi-finals. In the semi-final, I was again nervous but knew what I needed to do to make the final, and I just went for it, reading the gusts and pulling loops where I could. After qualifying first for the final, I had achieved more than what I had hoped for out of the event and almost lost my fire for the final as the conditions deteriorated with gustier winds and bigger holes. In the final, I made sure I just did what was needed, rode smart, and was stoked to walk away with a podium finish at my first freestyle world tour stop in 8 years. I was so relieved to be in one piece when it finished, with a few injuries throughout the event. My equipment really served me well, as I had full trust that nothing was going to let me down, and I could push it to the limits. The Traverse really came into its own in the chop, providing the smoothest and easiest landings, while the Pivot gave me ultimate control in the shifty winds. Next, we are onto the USA, with a mandatory tropical pitstop as administered by the US government, so stay tuned for some great content from the crew. ”
We’re looking forward to the competitions ahead of our riders this year. Congratulations to our team on a job well done, and we can’t wait to see who’s on the podium next time.
*Poniente Winds – a warm and dry westerly or northwesterly wind blowing in the Straits of Gibraltar and along the coasts of the north-western Mediterranean.
*Levante Winds – a warm, east to northeast wind that flows from the Alboran Channel and is funneled through the Strait of Gibraltar. Mild and humid at the southeast coast of Spain and the Balearic Islands, gale-force Levante extends to the eastern Gulf of Cadiz.
#NaishTorch #NaishTraverse #TeamNaish #NaishInternational #NaishKiteboarding #GKAFreestyleWorldCup #GKA #Freestyle #Tarifa #NaishKites #Kiteboarding
Photo Credit: Samuel Cardenas