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Virgin Kitesurf World Championships

Quarter Final Round in Tarifa © VKWC
Quarter Final Round in Tarifa © VKWC


By Chris Chaplow

The Tarifa competition was the third stop on the VKWC 2015 world tour. As in 2014 it was based at Playa de los Lances. This zone, which is located 4km from Tarifa town, is the main Tarifa kitesurf zone, at the northern end of Playa de los Lances in the area around the mouth of the Rio Jara.

Scheduled Dates and rounds

The scheduled competition dates were Sat 11 July to Sunday 19 July. In total, 24 men took part in the Freestyle and Big Air competitions - 22 preselected from the tour and two were the local organizers' wildcards. In the women there were 12 competitors, 11 being preselected and one from the local selection.

The men's competition was organized into four rounds of heats, in the first there are 8 heats of three riders, second and third there are 8 heats of two riders, and in the fourth 4 heats of two riders, leading to the final. This system of pairing (or trio) battling in a knock-out, rather than a league, helps ensure similar wind conditions for the groups.

In the women's first round there are 4 heats of three riders, second and third there are 4 heats of two riders, and in the fourth 2 heats of two riders, leading to the final challenge.

non consistent wind

After the rider registration on Friday 11 July, all was set for the competition to begin at noon on Saturday. A light poniente (onshore wind) picked up around noon, but was not consistent enough to complete a heat. Freestyle men were the first to take to the water but the contest director, Erik Troostheide, had to cancel the first and second heats several times. It was only the first heat that actually took place and Carlos Mario (BR) earned his place in the third round. Due to insufficient winds there was no competition on Sunday 12 or Monday 13 July.

Move camp to playa Balneario

With the arrival of strong levante (offshore gusty winds) the organizers decided to move the competition from Playa de Los Lances to Playa Balneario, which is the Atlantic beach next to Tarifa town, bounded to the south by the causeway to Isla Palomas. This decision was well received by the riders, who were enthusiastic about being close to the town, attracting more spectators.

Thursday 16 July started with an unstoppable Carlos Mario facing current world champion Christophe Tack (BE). Mario pulled off great tricks such as a Back Side 317, a 317, and a double Hinterberger Mobe 5, as well as a double Heart Attack. He put on a display of incredible level and advanced against Tack to the semifinals where he met five-time world champion Aaron Hadlow (GB).

Kiwi Marc Jacobs (NZ) had a difficult first heat confronting Youri Zoon (NL) this battle saw an impressively close heat. Jacobs found himself almost overpowered, but came back to win by 1.5 point, allowing him to meet Liam Whaley (ES) in the semi-finals. Current number one and local hero Whaley did not start the heat very well as he had a problem with his kite. Liam later said "In the semi-final against Marc Jacobs, my kite blew up in the air because my one pump system wasn't connected properly so my kite completely deflated. My friend came really fast with a 5.5m but the lines were not adjusted properly and I did a perfect BS317 but my kite didn't react properly and couldn't ride completely out of the trick so it was considered as a crash. Then I think I did alright in the mini-final, so I'm happy I got the third place. My knee is a bit unstable but I didn't have any pain in it. I'm going to get an MRI now to check what's up and hopefully I can compete in the next event, but if not I'll use it as a discard - we'll see".

Marc Jacobs stayed focused and powerful in every trick he landed. The scores were extremely close again, and Jacobs went on to win the final.

In the Women's freestyle competition, Karolina Winkowska the Polish world champion took on Paula Novotna (CZ) in the semi final where Czech rider broke her leash and lost her kite. Both struggled with the strong winds but Winkowska managed to nail a powerful S-Bend to Blind that gave her the winning edge to enter the final.
Local heroine Gisela Pulido (ES) met Bruna Kajiya (BR) in the semifinals. Both riders did a great job in the tough conditions, executing Blind Judges, 313, Front to Blinds and S-Bend to Blinds. Bruna Kajiya fell behind after crashing too many tricks, but Gisela, the nine-time world champion, landed five high scoring tricks and advanced to the winners final.


In the final, crowds were cheering for Gisela as soon as she took to the water. Unfortunately, she suffered a host of crashes that prevented her from competing properly, even if she still landed a great S-Mobe and an S-Bend to Blind. Karolina kept on adding points to her score, putting on a display of consistency and great variety of tricks. Her well-executed and powerful Back to Blind, Front to Blind, and Slim 5 allowed her to claim her third victory of the season.

On Friday 17 July, under the blazing sun and strong 40kt gusts, the spectators settled to watch the Big Air competition. The competitors delivered a series of massive Kite Loops combined with rotations and One Footers, Double Handle Passes and Board Offs. The levante wind blew all day and the competition was able to continue right through to the final that evening. However just as the final was underway, the wind dropped. The competition winner Kevin Langeree (NL) still performed a very impressive Kite Loop with a late Back Roll. He also executed a big Board Off as well as a Handle Pass, showing an amazing control of his kite. Runner up Arial Corniel also had a great final managing to pull off the only double Handle Pass of the competition.

The award ceremony was still held on the afternoon of Sunday 19 July.

The event, which finished early on the Friday, was followed by another a Guinness World Record attempt for the greatest number of kite surfers to ride simultaneously.  Here is a link to more information about that 2014 attempt.

Big Air Results

Male: 1- Kevin Langeree (NL) 2- Ariel Corniel (DO), 3- Marius Hoppe (GE), 4- Lewis Crathern (GB)
Female: 1- Gisela Pulido, 2- Rita Arnaus (ES), 3- Hannah Whiteley (GB), 4- Isabeau Galiard (NL)
Freestyle Results

Male: 1- Carlos Mora (BR), 2- Marc Jacobs (NZ), 3- Liam Whaley (ES), 4- Aaron Hadlow (GB)
Female: 1- Karolina Winkowska (PO), 2- Gisela Pulido (ES), 3- Bruna Kajiya (BR), 4- Paula Novotna (CZ)


Kite Surfing Lessons in Tarifa

Book Kite Surfing Lessons in Tarifa

Tarifa Championship Competition Reports