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Other Water Sports - 02. July 2018.

The Jeep Tarifa Pro Delivers the Very First Air Games Winners!

The first order of Sunday business, the last day of the Jeep Tarifa Pro, was to complete the women's KSWT strapless freestyle contest. Local specialist Carla Herrera Oria had stamped her authority on the discipline with the win over a stoked Johanna Catarina from Sweden and Charlotte Carpentier from France. 

KSWT Women's strapless freestyle podium
This pure strapless freestyle discipline (rather than wave riding, which this tour also incorporates) is yet to fully blossom for the women and this was the first time that enough women had registered for a pure strapless freestyle event for them to have their own ladder, which was great to see! Carla managed to land a board-off, a one footer, an air reverse, a back roll foot switch combination and some good big airs as well. 

The GKA Kiteboarding World Tour Air Games hasn't had the easiest start since inception this year. The first event at the Mondial du Vent in Leucate had no wind; the first time that event at that spot in France hasn't had wind in 20 years! This week Tarifa kept us waiting until the sixth and final day of the Jeep Tarifa Pro to truly deliver for the Air Games! 
Jesse Richman
Jesse mid kite loop double half-cab 
Two short afternoon sessions in the week had brought us almost to the semi final stages of the men's single elimination, but the women were yet to hit the water for the first time. 
The Air Games format requires riders to complete tricks in three categories: big air (can include board-offs), handle-passes and kite loops and an added element of excitement certainly came from the moments that the riders decided that they'd done enough in the handle-pass and kite loop categories and that it was time to come in, change up a kite size and switch board for one with foot straps rather than boots. Calling their support teams into a frantic hustle of action on the shoreline, the crowd seemed to feed off this obvious extra tactical layer. 
Hannah Whiteley
Hannah Whiteley
All 11 girls absolutely rocked it today in different ways. Their different approaches were appreciated by all, from the big air spins, loops and board-offs of Angely Bouillot and Bibiana Magaji, to the fantastic all round performances of French rippers Maureen Castelle and Pauline Valesa. However they weren't able to reach the final stages such was the calibre of the top four at this event.
Mikaili Sol
Mikaili mid double front roll board-off
Ably assisted by her training coach Fabio Ingrosso (who also coaches men's second place finisher Maxime Chabloz) Mikaili Sol (just 13 years old!) absolutely nailed her heat structure. She said afterwards, "When I realised early on that the tricks I'd chosen for each category were scoring highly, I stuck with those in each heat and just tried to go bigger and bigger with them. I did an S-mobe handle-pass, a double front board off and a boogie loop.” 
Coach Fabio Ingrosso could be seen gently gesturing to her each time she approached shore to stay calm. He later said, “I told Mikaili, 'You're only 13, you have nothing to prove, but if we get a top four finish then that's already fantastic.' We practice this sort of game of kite during training when I tell her to go out and do big spins, so she really enjoyed this event.” 
Hannah Whiteley
Hannah Whitely is a fearsome competitor and her outwardly beaming personality belies a passionate competitive drive. A three time British Freestyle Champion in the past, she combined accomplished and relatively big board-offs with her command of new school drive. 
Pippa van Iersel
Pippa van Iersel 
If Dutch 18 year-old Pippa van Iersel hadn't drawn Mikaili Sol in the semi final, she would have been a real contender for top spot today. Her wakestyle power is incredible with huge pop and a low kite and when she landed her 313s today with speed, all the guys were giving her credit. Her kite loops were also the biggest in the women's division and we're looking forward to seeing what she can really do when the wind further picks up! 
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