Having competed on the PKRA Freestyle Tour for five years and worked tirelessly as a judge on the WKC Freestyle Tour before it was folded into the GKA organization, Mallory de la Villemarque is now the head judge for the Freestyle discipline on the GKA Kite World Tour and working to fine tune the tour for success. This year the GKA is introducing a number of format changes aimed at raising the level of competition and increasing spectatorship at each of the six tour stops. We caught up with Mallory to get his insider’s perspective.

One of the biggest changes to this year’s tour is the combination of the existing GKA Air Games and the WKC Freestyle formats under one World Cup championship. How do you balance these two disciplines under one title?

We plan to run at least six events in 2019, and there will be two event discards available. Four tour stops will be pure freestyle—like this past event in Leucate—and two will have more of a big air/mixed format that will adjust depending on the wind strength. During those mixed/big air events, as the wind goes over 30 knots, the format and judging will move more towards a big air style to include tricks like kiteloops. Marc Jacobs is the perfect example of this type of riding because he can do tricks like megaloop board-offs but still kills it in powered freestyle. Liam Whaley has done really well in the King of the Air for the last two years too, so I’d expect him to do well at these mixed events too.

The mixed events will run at locations like Vargas in Gran Canaria where we can expect really strong winds over 30 knots. The windier it is, the more the format will move towards big air and increase the wow factor, further broadening the appeal of a freestyle world tour. We hope to see really complete riders emerge from this year’s GKA Freestyle World Cup events.

The GKA is well known for its Kite-Surf World Championship, but what will be the GKA’s approach to freestyle competition?

This year the freestyle competition format will be the same as last year on the WKC tour. We plan on running heats with four riders, and each rider takes a turn doing one trick. Every rider is allowed seven trick attempts in their heat and their four highest scoring tricks from four different trick families count towards their score. We have a screen on the shoreline that shows the score for their trick and then shows the score the next rider needs to win. This format will also run for the big air/mixed events—something not seen before. There is one big change: last year the rider was allowed to take four tacks to do each trick… To read the full article become a subscriber of Tkb Magazine.

Tkb’s Vol. 16, No. 2 summer 2019 digital issue is available now. The print issue will be landing in mailboxes soon!
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