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Martin Lark

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Martin Lark last won the day on April 18

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  1. GKA Freestyle World Cup Leucate 2019 - Day 5

    EVENT STATUS: Approaching finals on Thursday! FIRST POSSIBLE START ON THURSDAY: 09.30am - it's the final day. LIVESTREAM: Will play here. 1). GKA Freestyle World Cup Leucate 2019 - Day 5 11 HOURS LATER... Wednesday, 23rd April 2019 Words: Jim Gaunt We're set to see the men's semi finals and women's finals in GKA Freestyle World Cup Leucate explode on the last event day on Thursday! THURSDAY'S LINE-UP MEN'S SEMI-FINAL 1 Maxime Chabloz (SWI) Alex Pastor (SPN) Valentin Rodriguez (COL) Anthar Racca (MEX) MEN'S SEMI-FINAL 2 Set Teixeira (BRA) Gianmaria Coccoluto (ITA) Liam Whaley (SPN) Carlos Mario (BRA) WOMEN'S FINAL Mikaili Sol (BRA) Claudia Leon (SPN) Pippa van Iersel (NED) Francesca Bagnoli (ITA) 2). The decision to move location 20 minutes south from La Franqui to Port Leucate to take advantage of an easterly facing beach for the southerly winds really paid off! / Svetlana Romantsova After an epic 11 hours of competition on Wednesday, all streamed live and available to play back (here & here), the GKA Freestyle World Cup's new format of riders having just one minute to perform each of their six trick attempts, helped the contest fly by. The format works with each rider in the heat taking turns to do their tricks one at a time and a big screen on the beach lets them know their score and what they need on their next attempt to move ahead of other riders. It's an exciting format that focusses on highlighting rider skill with little room for error. A timer on the big screen on the beach also shows the minute countdown that each rider has for their tricks. 3). Peaking in the quarter finals, after a very sluggish start, Carlos Mario hit his imperious best with two nines to totally nail on his position in Thursday's semis / Photo: Svetlana Romantsova How did we end the men's last quarter final heat of the day? Speechless, that’s how. Bebe got another score close to a ten! 9.73 for a heart attack 7 that would have exploded everyone else’s knees. “You just can’t be that good!” screamed Lewis Crathern down the livestream! It seems he can! In truth Carlos Mario hadn't had the best day, starting his first heat with close to, if not his lowest ever heat score. He also hadn't started his quarter final well at all. But the four time World Champion suddenly clicked into gear at this first event of the season and notched two incredible high nine point scores, for the aforementioned heart attack 7 and 9.6 for backside 317. 4). Liam Whaley - on form and landed a near perfect heart attack 7 according to head judge Mallory de la Villemarque / Photo: Svetlana Romantsova Past champions Liam Whaley and Alex Pastor are both through. Alex was particularly stoked to make the semis after a very slow start. Liam ended up cruising through his quarter final, looking very good with a massive heat score of 28.23. Maxime Chabloz joined him in second in that heat with 26.6. Two huge 317s from both riders were their biggest scores: 8.13 for Chabloz and 8.63 for Liam. Bosh. 5). Anthar Racca / Photo: Svetlana Romantsova Anthar Racca finished with a really impressive quarter final tally of 26.86. The heat before fellow teen sensation, Valentin Rodriguez, got just a little more, with 26.87! Tight from the young guns and they are both looking capable to push for the win on Thursday. Carlos Mario eventually blew all away in terms of heat scores with his 32.43 quarter final score. Freak show in France! But it should be noted, that by that time, Carlos had switched to a 12 metre kite and was perfectly powered. The wind had been gusting over 30 knots prior to that. 6). Valentin Rodriguez / Photo: Svetlana Romantsova Valentin Rodriguez is a name to remember - the 16 year-old Colombian rode to such a consistently high standard all day, and landed the only 319. A trick you can usually only expect to see in perfect flat water! WOMEN The women's final is going to be tight based on what we saw on Wednesday. Firstly, Mikaili Sol faultered for the first time we've seen in her competition career and literally scraped through her semi-final. She needed to land her last trick just to qualify for the final after a tumultuous heat that for most of it she spent trading bottom position with Bruna Kajiya, who was ejected from the competition in that heat when Bagnoli and Sol went through! Unheard of. 7). Pippa van Iersel / Photo: Svetlana Romantsova Pippa van Iersal and Francesca Bagnoli were the peak female performers of the day, both reaching over 20 points with seeming ease and dealing with some hard landings in some super challenging conditions. The wind often seemed to pick up and go beyond 30 knots whenever the women's heats took to the water! These two stepped up beyond any other female rider. 8). Heats were often decided by the last trick - exciting stuff! / Photos: Svetlana Romantsova There really were so many good performances packed into the day, and you can find the story of EVERY heat broken down here on the website. GKA Freestyle World Cup Leucate | Big Day of Action Day 5 See you for the finals!
  2. GKA Freestyle World Cup Leucate 2019 - Day 4

    EVENT STATUS: On hold but looking more promising than we've seen all week for a start early tomorrow. SKIPPERS MEETING: Scheduled for 8.30am Wednesday with first possible start 09.00. There are two days remaining. ALL CHANGE TO GET THE JOB DONE Tuesday, 23rd April 2019 Words: Jim Gaunt Tuesday may not have been fruitful in the end, but Wednesday and then the final event day on Thursday look good for delivering enough juice to complete this first Freestyle contest of the season – the GKA Freestyle World Cup Leucate. 1). Photo: Svetlana Romantsova 2). Vice World Champion Adeuri Corniel means business from the start this year and was out at the first sniff of usable wind... but then again having this new lagoon all to yourself is very inviting! / Photo: Svetlana Romantsova The competition was actually very close to starting today (Tuesday) at the spot of La Franqui after promising to build all day. When winds started to nudge over 12 knots at around 3pm a couple of riders were keen enough to get out onto this extra large lagoon (filled up from the weekend's wave surge) and throw a few moves. Sadly, that was the peak and what wind there was soon dropped back again to below ten knots. PROMISING SWITCH In anticipation of this and the continuing dominance of south – southeasterly conditions, the livestream and race crew have been busy moving all equipment to another spot, Port Leucate. As a mission, it's a bit of a monster! Situated 20 minutes directly south of La Franqui (our current spot), but crucially also below the jutting headland that blocks the more southerly winds here at La Franqui, the waters won't be as flat as the lagoon conditions promised here, but the winds will be clean and there will be kickers for tricks. 3). GKA Freestyle World Cup Leucate 2019 - Day 4 The forecast for the next two days looks good, but as we are now over halfway through the event period, Head Judge Mallory de la Villemarque has announced a reduced heat format to ensure that when the action begins it will be possible to reach a result as efficiently as possible. This new format reduces the total competition time to reach a result for the men and women to 9.5 hours. WOMEN'S HEATS MEN'S HEATS Instagram Facebook YouTube
  3. GKA Freestyle World Cup Leucate 2019 - Day 3

    EVENT STATUS: On hold but looking set for possible start early tomorrow. Skipper's meeting is scheduled for 7am Tuesday with first possible start 07.30. There are still three days remaining. GKA Freestylers Set to Let Loose... Possibly Tomorrow, but certainly Wednesday & Thursday! Monday, 22nd April 2019 Words: Jim Gaunt The GKA Freestyle World Cup Leucate has chance to make a start on Tuesday with good winds also forecast for Wednesday and Thursday - the last two days of the event window! LIQUID DREAMS Up until now we've been chilling with the still, but there have been unusually big swells running in this corner of the Mediterranean which have not only provided great surf conditions, but also a large lagoon has formed on inside of the beach, right up close to the Leucate boardwalk! 1). Aron Rosslee from South Africa is starting to think this is normal for the Mediterranean! / Photo: Svetlana Romantsova 2). Freestyle kiters turned surfers, French crew: Arthur Guillebert, Louka Pitot and Paul Serin / Photo: Svetlana Romantsova There is also some rain forecast for tomorrow, but will we find freestyle heaven for the first event of 2019 for the Freestyle discipline of The GKA Kite World Tour? Keep your fingers crossed when you go to bed tonight! 3). Tonight Russian Sergei Borisov will be dreaming about ripping these flat lagoon waters! / Photo: Svetlana Romantsova Instagram Facebook YouTube
  4. GKA Freestyle World Cup Leucate 2019 - Day 2

    EVENT STATUS: On hold and yet to start. Skipper's meeting is scheduled for 10am on Monday. Four event days remain. 'Hopping' For More Wind at Easter! Sunday, 21st April 2019 Words: Jim Gaunt / Photos: Svetlana Romantsova Day two and yesterday's sunshine was unfortunately replaced with unseasonal dark clouds and a veering light wind that continued throughout Easter Sunday. The competition remains on hold with four days still remaining in the event period. Keep your fingers crossed – conditions look much better for the end of the period, but things change quick here when the powerful Tramontane wind kicks-in. 1). GKA Freestyle World Cup Leucate 2019 - Day 2 INTERVIEW: HEAD JUDGE MALLORY DE LA VILLEMARQUE Mallory de la Villemarque heads up the judging team for the Freestyle discipline on the GKA Kite World Tour. A vastly experienced judge, having been involved in the World Kiteboarding Championships before it was brought under the GKA wings, Mallory has also been a judge on the GKA's Kite-Surf discipline since its inception in 2015. The final big feather in his bow is that he competed at the top level on the PKRA Freestyle world tour himself for five seasons, before injuries brought about early retirement. Born in Guadeloupe in the Caribbean, Mallory, 31, speaks four languages fluently and now lives in kiteboarding's European capital, Tarifa. Level headed, calm under pressure and with a strong vision for the stable development of the freestyle discipline in kiteboarding, as Head Judge he creates strong relationships and trust among both the riders and organisers. Now that the sport's top level is unified and even clearer with just one Freestyle World Championship title up for grabs, Jim Gaunt caught up with Mallory just before the GKA Freestyle World Cup Leucate to hear about this year's format and his expectations for this event and beyond in 2019. Find out all you need to know about the 2019 GKA Freestyle World Cup formats, what's new and who to watch in the interview here! Instagram Facebook YouTube
  5. GKA Freestyle World Cup Leucate 2019 - Day 1

    47 Riders Register at GKA Freestyle World Cup in Leucate Saturday, 20th April 2019 Words: Jim Gaunt / Photos: Svetlana Romantsova 1). 47 Rippers Register at GKA Freestyle World Cup Leucate! Almost four months since the unique amalgamation of the GKA Air Games World Tour and the World Kiteboarding Championships - the GKA Kite World Tour welcomes these riders to compete in the freestyle discipline! It has been a long wait to finally bring the world's best freestyle riders and GKA crew together for their first event! 2). Saturday's opening ceremony An impressive field of 33 men and 14 women registered on Friday evening for the GKA Freestyle World Cup Leucate, made up of the current cream of the freestyle crop, including both double World Champions from last year – Carlos Mario and Mikaili Sol. 3). Alex Pastor and Liam Whaley on the hunt to take the event Other previous World Champions are also fired up and raring to go here in France, too. Liam Whaley is back from a knee injury sustained at last year's GKA Air Games event in Tarifa, Alex Pastor is also lining up alongside many riders who cite him as an inspiration while there's an exciting return promised for Bruna Kajiya in the women's event. 4). Bruna Kajiya, back and Brazilian! 14 year-old Mikaili took advantage of Bruna's absence through meniscus knee injury last year to romp her way to both the GKA Air Games and WKC Freestyle World Titles. Prior to that, Bruna had herself dominated. To many, the Brazilian's return is a surprise, but immensely welcomed as it sets up a true master versus new Jedi match up. Click here to see all registered riders and to check out the heat ladders (we will be explaining more about these line-ups in the coming days on the website and via the livestream). GKA Freestyle World Cup Leucate | Day One Instagram Facebook YouTube
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