HomeKITEGran Canaria Selected as Host for Big Air Kite World Championships

Gran Canaria Selected as Host for Big Air Kite World Championships

The island will crown the world champions of this discipline for the first time from July 9 to 13 at Salinas de Tenefé, where the global elite will compete for the Qatar Airways GKA Big Air Kite World Championships 2024

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ue to its unbeatable wind conditions for kitesurfing, Gran Canaria has been selected by the Global Kitesports Association (GKA) to host the Big Air World Championships from July 9 to 13 at Salinas de Tenefé. This well-known kitesurfing spot is famous for its strong wind gusts, where the elite of the spectacular Big Air discipline will compete in the final stop of the world tour.

The Qatar Airways GKA Big Air Kite World Championships Gran Canaria 2024 will be the second major event of the kitesurfing season in the Big Air modality, following the first stop in France, which was a qualifying event for the world titles. “This is the first time Gran Canaria hosts a world championship in this discipline. In fact, since 2019, we haven’t had a GKA event on the island, although we held a Freestyle World Cup back then,” said Manuel Martínez, president of the Canakite Experiences Sports Club and event organizer along with the GKA and the Canary Islands Sailing Federation.

This event, sponsored by the Tourism and Sports Departments of the Gran CanariaCouncil with the collaboration of the Santa Lucía Town Hall and the Government of the Canary Islands, will be the final stop of the Qatar Airways GKA Kite World Tour. Thus, Salinas de Tenefé will crown the Big Air world champions in both the men’s and women’s categories. “The championship can be followed live through the official GKA website or in person at the Salinas de Tenefé museum restaurant,” added Martínez.

Key Contenders and Rankings

Among the standout competitors in the race for the Big Air world titles are the Dutch duo Jamie Overbeek and Pippa van Iersel, who are ready to battle for the coveted crowns in Gran Canaria. Overbeek and Van Iersel lead the Big Air world rankings thanks to their stunning victories in the inaugural round of the GKA Lords of Tram event in Barcarès, France. For 18-year-old Overbeek, it was his first major victory, while Van Iersel managed to win despite being out for two years due to injury.

Among the more than 20 male kitesurfers competing in Gran Canaria, the current and two-time Qatar Airways GKA Big Air World Champion, Italian Andrea Principi, will seek to bounce back after a fifth place in Barcarès, where he was eliminated in the semi-finals. With only two stops on the Big Air tour, Principi will have a tough task to defend his crown for the third time.

Local Competitors

The local competition promises to be fierce with standout contenders such as the Tenerife-born Jeremy Burlando, who took second place in Barcarès, and the Casati brothers (of Italian origin). Lorenzo, a young Big Air talent and winner of the Red Bull King of the Air in 2022, demonstrated his prowess by finishing fourth in the previous stop of the world tour. Meanwhile, his brother Leonardo is one of the most prized promises of the Canary Islands’ talent pool.

Additionally, Arian Braeutigam (of German origin but based in Fuerteventura) will also compete in the men’s Big Air category. All these local athletes pose a challenge for the foreign riders, as having grown up and trained in the Canary Islands gives them a competitive edge.

Salinas de Tenefé: An Ideal Spot for a Sustainable Kitesurfing Event

Gran Canaria is known for its excellent wind conditions throughout the year, especially in July, when Salinas de Tenefé offers winds regularly exceeding 30 knots and gusts over 40 knots from the north/northeast. The strong wind favors wave formation, creating swells from the northeast that provide the ideal ramp for high jumps. Additionally, the water temperature averages around 24 degrees, ideal for training at any time of the year.

The Salinas de Tenefé museum will also be part of the event, which will go beyond the competition to showcase the destination to all participants and visitors to this emblematic spot in the municipality of Santa Lucía, on the Pozo Izquierdo coast. The event program includes a beach cleanup on Friday, July 12, as part of the initiatives to make these competitions greener and more sustainable, involving private entities like Ahembo with their 7up brand or Spar Gran Canaria.

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