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Global Kitesports Association e.V.

Gärtnerstrasse 89

20253 Hamburg

Germany

You can reach the GKA office from 27.7. until 30.8.2017 only at the following telephone number: +49 (0)151 18728895

Email: info@global-kitesports.org

Web: www.global-kitesports.org

Mission Statement

The Global Kitesports Association 

(GKA) as representation of interests of the kite-sports industry supports and promotes the interests of all (professional) kite riders.


ReSpoNsible

Secretary General:

Dr. Jörgen Vogt

 

Board

Till Eberle (1st Chairman)

Robby Naish (2nd Chairman)

Clinton Filen (Treasurer)

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News

05. october 2016

ALEX PASTOR - KRU AND WKL BOARD MEMBER INTERVIEW

ALEX PASTOR: BOARD MEMBER - KRU AND THE WORLD KITEBOARDING LEAGUE 

 

Alex is our GKA Freestyle Rider of the Year 2016, but he's also been at the forefront of pulling together the Kiteboarding Riders United (KRU) and the World Kiteboarding League. The freestyle world competition circuit once again looks exciting and progressive. We speak to Alex about his involvement and how things have changed apparently for the better from this time last year...

 

Alex - leader of the charge

Photo: Svetlana Romantsova / WKL 

 

We have of course interviewed you about your event performances to win the GKA Freestyle Rider of the Year, but the big news this year was the formation of the World Kiteboarding League halfway through the season, and the passionate following it now has by the world's best freestylers who had formed the Kiteboarding Riders United. You were heavily involved in the formation. Tell us more. 

 

Yes, I was one of the founders, along with Youri Zoon, Liam Whaley and Annelous Lammerts in the beginning. Danny Galliart pulled us together to form a union as there was so much misunderstanding and politics in the sport at that time. We didn't know what was happening, or which tour we were supposed to go on. We had no say on anything. Our union, the KRU, gave us a united voice. One of the big problems was that most of us were still owed prize money from the WKT (who previously ran the freestyle world tour), and we didn't want that to happen again. As a unified union we were stronger. That's mostly why it was formed.

 

Caption: Most importantly, Alex wants to ensure that kiteboarding has the best platform possible for the world's most progressive freestyle riders. As a previous World Champion, he understands the importance that healthy competition has on the future of the sport  

Photo: Svetlana Romantsova / WKL 

 

 

And from that the World Kiteboarding League became the next step?

 

We didn't want to run our own tour in the beginning, but seeing how unprofessional everything had become, we decided that creating our own tour was the best solution. We tried to reach an agreement with the IKA before that, but they wanted to retain all the commercial rights and we wouldn't have been able to change the rules and formats or direct the livestream in the way we believed was right for the progression of freestyle. Danny has offered us a lot of assistance in getting things running. Youri now looks after a lot of the accounting and finance management for the tour for example and I've been really involved with the judging format and live stream. Danny also managed to bring in Case Productions who have a team of 12 people at each event to run the media and live stream. We're also creating a 26 minute TV show for IMG, one of the biggest distribution networks, so it's unbelievable how much it's growing from event to event.

 

Caption: Alex and Youri Zoon are big players but also heavily involved in driving the competition scene forward behind the scenes. Here they're interviewed by Gemma Hendra on the WKL livestream in Cabarete 

Photo: Svetlana Romantsova / WKL 

 

Caption: Leading from the front, Bruna Kajiya, Youri Zoon, Alex Pastor and Liam Whaley lead the KRU rider discussions at the World Kiteboarding League events

Photo: Svetlana Romantsova / WKL 

 

The format is quite different. Can you explain how it works for anyone who hasn't tuned in to the live stream? 

 

Basically, one rider goes at a time, does one trick and then gets given a score that appears on the big screen on the beach so everyone can see it clearly. The next rider can then go knowing what score they have to beat. It adds more excitement. Riders have seven trick attempts and we count four in the judging. 

 

 

And it all seemed to come together for the first event in Cabarete very quickly, being confirmed just three weeks after the IKA event at the Mondial du Vent in Leucate. How did that work? 

 

Danny met with the people from Mai Tai and they were really keen to help us make our own world tour and to change how things were done in the past. So then we finally had this power and everyone was really eager to get the event going. We got a lot of help from the Mai Tai people, even the sponsors were people from Mai Tai, so that's why it was able to happen so quickly.

 

Caption: Susi Mai was instrumental in bringing the KRU and Mai Tai Group together for the World Kiteboarding League's first event in Cabarete

Photo: Sventlana Romantsova / World Kiteboarding League 

 

The Leucate event was the last IKA event that you all competed on. Do you think it will be a WKL event next year? 

 

Yeah I think so. We've been speaking with Pascal and he really likes the WKL, so yeah I'm really confident about it and the feedback we had from Matthias the organiser in Germany is that the WKL is the best product in the market and he was really happy. So yeah I can't see why Leucate wouldn't want to run their event with us.

 

Caption: Luis Alberto Cruz

Photo: Svetlana Romantsova / WKL

 

That exciting format seemed to build perfectly for the final round in Cabarete. Local rider Luis Alberto Cruz knew he needed a 9.5 from his final trick, which was really unexpected. You were in that final, how did it play out? 

 

Oh it was unbelievable. He landed a Hinterberger 7, right at the end. He's so used to that kicker though and he got the timing just perfect. His kite was going down, he got amazing height and everything worked out for him. He got the 0.1 point difference that he needed from that trick to beat Bebe. It was crazy and a really exciting end to the final.

 

Caption: Luis Alberto Cruz taking down the world's best on home turf in Cabarete

Photo: Svetlana Romantsova / WKL

 

It's not quite confirmed yet, but it's looks very likely that the final event of the WKL season will be at New Caledonia, a spot that for many years was the scene of the final freestyle event in the PKRA season. It will be nice for the Champion to be crowned on a podium this year unlike last year... 

 

Last year was bad for Liam. Winning my championship in China will always be a special memory for me. Getting on the podium with everyone on the beach was a great moment. Liam is now really strong again and on his way back after his injury. He will only be going to New Caledonia to win. The spot and conditions are amazing, we can put on a great show there and all the riders have missed it and want it back on the map. No one wants to miss that event.

 

Caption: Alex competing in Germany where a joint first position with 12 other riders secured his GKA Rider of the Year title, just squeezing Aaron Hadlow into second

Photo: Svetlana Romantsova / WKL 

 

Alex is sponsored by: Airush / XS Power Drink / Huelva La Luz / MINI 

 

In the men's WKL season, Carlos Mario from Brazil currently leads the way with Youri Zoon in second and Alex Pastor in third. 

 

In the women's WKL season, GKA Rider of the Year Bruna Kajiya has a commanding lead over Hannah Whiteley in second and Annabel van Westerop in third. 

 

More on the tour at:

www.worldkiteboardingleague.com