Brazilian rider Bruna Kajiya is currently leading the standings for the GKA Female Freestyle Rider of the Year award ahead of the final Grand Slam event that makes up the series, which is in Germany, running from the 26th August to the 4th September.
The 'Grand Slam' events that have counted towards the Rider of the Year award this season have been the Mondial du Vent in Leucate, the Wind Voyager Triple-S in Cape Hatteras, the MaiTai Cabarete Freestyle Invitational and this final event, the Pringles Kitesurf World Cup in Fehmarn, Germany.
Here are Bruna's thoughts as she prepares for the final round:
The GKA Rider of the Year award pulls together some of the most established and professional events on the calendar. How did you feel about that when you first heard the concept?
When I first heard about the concept of the GKA Rider of the Year award I was onboard straight away. It's a great initiative to bring awareness to riders who are in line with the brand strategies.
How do you value this award, given the last couple of years and the fact that it has been formed by the brands?
An award formed by the brands carries a valuable and desirable weight for the riders. It helps achieve positive goals for your sponsors and working together with the industry is a key factor for a rider to help the sport grow in a bright direction.
You seem to be riding so well after a careful recovery from your injury. Are you at full strength now and how confidently are you riding and throwing yourself into tricks?
Yes, it has been a great year and season so far. My body feels good and ready for challenges, which has had a direct impact on my riding. I think my competition results are showing that and also the pursuit of new goals, such as the backside 315 project that I landed last year. I'm doing my best to keep healthy and strong in order to give my all in the water.
Has your approach to competition changed since your injury, or has it made you more hungry than ever?
A lot of things are put in perspective after an injury. Competition plays a big role in my life and returning to it was one of my main focuses during this period. I've rediscovered my motivations and love for it and I feel hungrier then ever, but in a more comfortable, grounded mindset.
The Germany event is always a big deal, both on the beach and in the water. Tell us a bit about how you feel heading to that event with it also being the finale to this particular series?
Germany is always our biggest event and with the largest number of spectators, adding flair to the entire competition. I personally love the hype and excitement of these big events and I'm going into this one with great motivation.
Do you have any tactics going into the event?
Since Fehmarn is a new competition spot for us, it's complicated to have technical tactics in place. I don't know what kind of conditions we'll find there, so my plan is to prepare myself the best way possible to face all the challenges that might be thrown at us.
Find the current standings in the GKA Freestyle Grand Slam Rider of the Year rankings here.