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Kitesurfing - International Championships

JEEP Tarifa Pro 2018  © Toby Bromwich
JEEP Tarifa Pro 2018 © Toby Bromwich

International Kitesurfing Championships in Tarifa

GWA Tarifa GKA Freestyle 2021

22 - 27th June  2021

Each year many top Spanish and international kite surfers join beginners in Tarifa keen to try out this sport, which started in the 1990s. An international championship is usually held in the early summer in Tarifa,

Historical overview

PKRA (Professional Kite Riders Association) ProKite World Tour, an event of the ProKite World Tour was held in Tarifa in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

After an unexplained break events were held again in Masters of Kiteboard - 2014  and 2015 when the tour was renamed the VKWC (Virgin Kitesurf World Championships) to reflect the new tour owners. In early 2016 Virgin quietly pulled out of the tour amid rumours of corruption by the competition organisers. The VKWC competition changed its name again to World Kite Tour (WKT) and operated as an official ISAF (Sailing Association) sanctioned event.

The Tarifa leg of the 2016 World Kite Tour was in the draft 2016 calendar for July then September 2016 at Playa Los Lances. The event never took place as the WKT was reduced to only two events in 2016 and none in 2017. The WKT became embroiled in a legal dispute with the IKA World Kite League which hosted the Pringle Kitesurf World Tour with four events in 2016;  Fehmarn  El Gouna (Egypt) in March,  Leucate in April, Pingtan (China) in September and Porto Pollo (Italy) in October. The IKA signed an agreement with the GKA Global Kitesurf Association (an association supported by the equiptment manufacturers) in February 2017 to 'to unite the kiteboarding community'. 

In this vacuum the World Kiteboarding League (WKL) formed 'by riders for the riders' and as part of the WKL Kiteboarding World Cup organised 12 events in their 2017 WKL Freestyle Elite League which did not include Tarifa. The WKL maintains World Cup Rankings in which Tarifa based Liam Whaley (and world champion in 2015) came a close second to Carlos Mario (Brasil) in 2017, and Bruna Kajiya lead the women.

On their 2018 tour calendar there were four to be confirmed locations for the world tour but Tarifa was not one of them.

The GKA Kiteboarding World Tour was an International Strapless Kitesurfing Pro Tour organised by the Global Kitesurf Association. The Tarifa leg took place from the 28 June to 2nd July 2017 at Playa de Valdevaqueros. It was called the  Tarifa Strapless Pro and was the first event of the 2017 world tour.

JEEP Tarifa Pro 2018 and the first GKA Air Games took place from 26th June to 1 July 2018 at Playa de Valdevaqueros. Thses were GKA accredited Strapless Tarif Pro events.

In 2019 the Global Kitesports Association World Tour, had now reached 20 cities worldwide. The Tarifa Pro leg took place from 2nd July to Sunday 7th July 2019 . There were two championships the Strapless and the Freestyle.  This was the fifth consecutive year the strapless event has has taken place at Valdevaqueros, Tarifa. 

In 2020 the Global Kitesports Association (GKA) World Tour consisted of 16 competitions. The Tarifa event was scheduled for 23rd to 28th July 2020 to include Kitesurf and Freestyle disciplines. Unfortunately due to the Coronavirus pandemic the event was cancelled. The GKA did manage to run two events in November; Kitesurf in Cabo Verde and Freestyle in Ilha do Guajiru, Brazil.

However the second ever GKA Wing foil tour event did take place at the end of December in Tarifa.

In 2021 the GKA has several Kitesurf and several Freestyle events planned. A freestyle event in Tarifa is scheduled for 22 to 27 June.

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