2019 was voor de Wereldtour kitesurfen een echte comeback, alle rommel van de afgeloopen lijkt te zijn opgeruimd en er staat weer een echte tour, al zal er aan de livestreams hier en daar nog wel wat gesleuteld moeten worden.
Wat vooral opvalt is de afwezigheid van de Nederlandse heren, bij de King of the Air zijn ze aanwezig, bij de freestyle en surftour moeten we een eindje de eindstanden doorscrollen totdat we op plaats 32 Stijn Mul vinden en op plaats 35 Cohan van Dijk.
De dames daarentegen .... die zetten Nederland wel op de kaart, Jalou pakte de winst op Mauritius, Annelous Lammerts is de koningin van de sliders en kicker en pakte de Kite Park League titel en Pippa van Iersel is uiteindelijk 3de geworden bij de GKA Freestyle
Hopelijk gaan we volgend jaar wat meer Nederlandse (en Belgische) riders zien bij de GKA en gaan er gewoon nog meer dames meedoen.
Jorgen Voigt van de GKA kijkt nog wat terug en vooruit:
It has been a spectacular 2019 season for the GKA Kite World Tour, with the unification of both the Kite-Surf and Freestyle disciplines, competitive kiteboarding has never been stronger. This year, 12 events took place across the globe, covering some repeat locations, and some brand new ones….but these events don’t magically happen…. There is a lot work and effort from a crew of people behind the scenes who are passionate about this sport and work hard throughout the year to make each event happen, and to bring you all of the content you get to enjoy each day. No one knows the struggle of running a Kite World Tour better than our CEO, Jörgen Vogt, who spends countless hours ensuring that the GKA Kite World Tour runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible. We took some time to ask him about this thoughts from the 2019 season, and what we have to look forward to in 2020.
We have a full calendar of successful events now completed for 2019, how do you feel the season went for the GKA Kite World Tour? Are you happy with the new unification of the Kite-Surf and Freestyle tours? Will we see any more “joint” events once again for 2020?
I am extremely happy with the development of the tour during 2019, especially with the very positive and smooth transition of the twintip freestyle discipline from the World Kiteboarding Championships to the GKA Kite World Tour. After 7 successful freestyle events I am delighted to say that we are finally working all together in harmony and joining our efforts to build up professional kitesurfing as the most important, sustainable and worldwide recognised lifestyle watersport discipline. The GKA Kite World Tour calendar for 2020 already looks very promising for both disciplines (Kite-Surf and Freestyle). In contrary to 2019 we will however schedule less events at which we will run both disciplines. Although the crew, riders and myself love the combined events because of the great “family-feeling”, the work load as well as the event budget of events running both disciplines is not easy to handle.
Most people see only the final product of each GKA event – The livestream, video highlights or photos…but can you tell us about all the work and preparation that goes on beforehand to make an event happen? And how many people are involved in the process?
I am always very amused when people ask me whether running a World Tour is a full-time job or what else I do for a living. Preparing no less than 12 events per year, doing all the acquisitions of new event locations, finding sponsors, negotiating the respective contracts, making sure everything is in line with the applicable law including tax-law, managing the media-distribution and finally doing all the accounting and payments, including prize money payments to riders based all over the planet is more than one full-time job! Thankfully I do have a great team, who support me. Tom Hartmann, our Tour Manager, is responsible for the correspondence with the riders and the event organizers once the event is legally confirmed. He is the man making sure the event is set up in line with the GKA Corporate Identity. We also have a media crew of 5 people, who not only work at the events but also before, after and between. The media team produce videos, take care of constant social media coverage, write newsletters and support riders in case they need footage for their sponsors etc. All this support is very important, because I am also responsible for all the other tasks of the GKA, like the upcoming ISO certification of kite-products or monitoring and influencing the legislation processes regarding kite-permissions or prohibitions at various spots in Europe and other parts of the world.
The full 2020 tour schedule is yet to be published, but can you give us a sneak peek of what to expect for 2020? Any new locations or major changes to the tour?
I always look for new and exciting spots, but just as important as the quality of the spot is the reliability of the event organizer and their financial capacity to run a World Cup Event. The 2020 kick-off for the Kite-Surf discipline will be once again at Punta Preta, Cabo Verde. For the twintip athletes it will be the traditional event Mondial du Vent in Leucate, France. It looks very positive that we will be able to welcome a few new exciting spots on the tour for both disciplines. Right now I am in negotiations with Barbados, Madagascar, Sri Lanka and Denmark. Regarding the format we are currently working on some improvements to the rulebooks. Generally I can say that regarding the Kite-Surf discipline we will focus stronger on wave-spots and concerning the freestyle discipline we will adapt the format at all events to the wind conditions. That means that when we have super strong wind, like we had in Leucate this year, we will have more focus on big-air elements than on pure wake-style tricks. Last but not least the GKA are considering extending the GKA Kite World Tour with a hydrofoil-freestyle discipline.