Tomi will compete at the GKA Air Games
Great news on the horizon of our team. The newly formed Kiteboarding World Tour, the GKA Air Games will have a Hungarian participant: Tomi. Round 1 will be held in Leucate (France) during the Mondial du Vent annual event from 17th to 22nd April.
What is the GKA Air Games?
The Global Kiteboarding Association (GKA) is one of the biggest association under the World Sailing association in the hierarchy. They are the ones who organize the Wave & Strapless competitions, which is an event with one of the biggest audience.
Lately the only twin-tip oriented freestyle / trick based elite competition was the Freestyle World Tour (from the World Kiteboarding League). This year the federation decided to introduce a new format of competition, the Air Games. Focusing on high jumps with tricks. Looking for the most complete twin-tip rider. The federation hopes that it will be the form of competition that can become famous world widely. Huge jumps, old-school and new-school moves can attract a big audience. The event’s TV appearance can also be expected.
I would say the Red Bull King of the Air is the competition that is most likely like this new Tour, the Air Games. But as the GKA made some more strict rules on the types of jump it is a bit different. So the one who wants to stand on the top of the podium will have to perform tricks in different categories.
Scoring of the Air Games
I said the KOTA could be a close relative of this competition because the basics are the same: huge jumps. But let’s see what makes the GKA Air Games more complicated than the KOTA where you can perform any tricks as long as it’s high.
- Riders will compete in Heats.
- 4 rider in each heat.
- A heat can last from 5 mins to 15 mins.
- During a heat the best 3 jumps of the rider from different trick category will count. (1-10 each jump)
- At the end of the heat an overall impression will also added to the score of the rider (1-5). It is based on the variance and wow effect.
- There will be Single / Dingle / Double elimination.
Let’s see more detailed!
- Regular jumps (spins, grabs – anything goes, as long as it’s high)
- Kite loops
It means if a rider wants to score the maximum points during a heat he will have to perform at least one jump from 3 different categories from the above list. Jumps can be combined (like boardoff kiteloop).
Scoring of a single jump:
- 70% Air – Height, amplitude, and power of the trick
- 30% Technical Difficulty
The “air” part of the score not just involves the height of the jump but also the airtime and in the case of a kiteloop, it’s power (how low it is).
Overall impression scores
The overall impression scores will be added as an extra score at the end of each heat for each riders. These are based on the ‘wow’ factor. Any innovation, smoothness of the tricks can effect a higher overall impression score. Even an extreme trick ending with a crash can score some point for the overall impression.
Basically the riders who win their heat can move forward to the next round and will have another heat. In the first ‘X’ rounds the 2nds from the heats can also move forward. Depending on the wind conditions (how many windy days will be there during the competition period) the 3rd and 4th riders will also go again, so a bad start won’t instantly mean that the rider will be out of competition.
About Round 1 (Leucate)
As the Air Games is a World Tour it means it will have different rounds at different locations.
- Round 1 – Mondial du Vent, Leucate, France: 17 – 22nd April
- Round 2 – Tarifa (combined event with strapless freestlye): 27th June – 1st July
- Round 3 – Susi Mai Invitational, Cabarete: 9 – 15th July
We don’t know too much about the whole tour yet since it is just the first time it is organised. All we know that Tomi is invited for Round 1 to Leucate. The Mondial du Vent is an annual event for different wind sports. The WKL Freestyle World Tour often hosted here as some other windsurfing events as well. The one week long festival results a €15 million extra income for the tourist industry in France.
Leucate is famous for it’s strong wind. Often 40 knots. So it is perfect for an event like this. We hope that the riders will be able to jump really high.
As the GKA wants this event to become widely famous, they invited the best riders from all over the world so the show will be huge. Let’s see one of the biggest names:
- Kevin Langeree (2 times Red Bull King of the Air winner is a real tiger. His huge jumps, loops and board-off can lead him to win this competition)
- Jesse Richman (Rider with great talents in all trick categories)
- Carlos Mario (2 time Freestyle World Champion will definitely show amazing handle passes – maybe triple HP?)
- Aaron Hadlow (Five-time World Champion and two-time Red Bull King of the Air winner. His board-off boogie-loops nad Megaloop KGBs will surely score a huge amount of points.)
- Liam Whaley (KOTA 2nd place. Three categories are very close to him)
- Lewis Crathern (Big name from the big air discipline)
- Lasse Walker, Jerrie van der Kop, Reno Romeu (strong history at the King of the Air and Megaloop Challenge)
- Tom Herbert (for his unique big air stlye)
At the girls competition Annelous Lammerts, Hannah Whiteley, Mikaili Sor, Osaia Reding are the biggest names.
How did Tomi get there?
Above we mentioned some huge names from the Kiteboarding world. Some riders who are on a whole different level. They are competing as pros for years and riding places with conditions like Leucate during all year. As the Air Games Round 1 is a 43 rider event there were places for riders with not such big names like the above ones. We are sure there will some riders who will cause some difficult moments for the above ones. The rest of the field that’s signed up so far is littered with seasoned athletes with long established names in the sport, as well as young rippers who have made an emphatic entrance into competition in the last year to 18 months.
The GKA was happy that a Hungarian rider also applied for the competition so they gladly accepted him. A Hungarian rider joining the event makes the event interesting for wider range of audience. Also Tomi’s WOO scores make him an eligible rider for this event. We are sure he will have some huge megaloops to show the world.
Short interview with Tomi
AEndorphin: What do you expect from the event?
Tomi: I hope it will be a huge experience. Not just seeing Aaron Hadlow ride but competing with him will be a great memory I’ll always remember. Hopefully there will be double eliminations so in case of a bad start due to stress I’ll have a second chance. Riding in these paradise conditions will also be a great opportunity I hope I’ll be able to land some of my craziest tricks.
AEndorphin: Can you tell us more about those crazy tricks?
Tomi: I have been focusing the most on kiteloops lately. I don’t want to reveal the cherry from the cake yet, but I can assure you I will go Big.
As it is a professional competition it requires professional attitude. It means Tomi won’t travel alone. Gergő Ónodi will join him for sure. During the competition he will help Tomi with the equipment during the competition (caddie tasks). Also he will be in charge for the social media communication as Tomi will have to concentrate mostly on the competition and the preparation. Gergő is a professional photographer and graphic designer so if you follow our facebook page, you will see the latest updates.
The Team will leave a bit earlier before the competition so hopefully they will have some preparation time at Leucate. So Tomi can get used to the conditions.
As this event can be a big debut for the Hungarian Kiteboarding Tomi received support from different people. We would like to say big thanks to them.
- The Kiteline team provided all the technical equipment. RRD kites, boards, bars, harnesses. In case of technical problem he could replace the equipment with reserve equipment they provided
- The Surfstation team provided Manera wetsuites and impact vest for an even more professional look. The Meteor X10D Steamer 5/4/3 2018 will definitely keep Tomi’s heat on a good level.
- The Original Loser Brand (website coming live soon) provided unique jersey for Tomi.
If you have an idea which brand would like to support us, please let us know. Also let us know if you will appear in Leucate during the festival.
- During the event we will post the latest updates to our facebook page.
- We will share the link for an online stream of the event.
- After the event you’ll be able to read an article on this website. Also see a video edit on our vimeo channel.
- Join the Surfstation season opening party on 27th April to meet Tomi and ask your own questions.
- To not miss any action photo follow our instagram.