Butter flat and howling - Freestyle in Dakhla

Butter flat and howling - Pic: Hugo Valente/VKWC
As far as the VKWC goes, last weeks event in Dakhla was without a doubt, held in the best conditions ever. The water was butter flat, the wind howling and the worlds best freestyle kiteboarders were there putting their bodies on the line for a chance at this years world title.

Ok, it was the first ever VKWC event, so of course it was the best – but Dakhla is going to be hard to beat! Winning the event was Liam Whaley for Cabrinha, who is relatively new to the top spot in freestyle competition.

“I’m gonna go for the title this year, like full on, now I’ve won the first event it’s boosted my confidence so much.” said Whaley after his win was announced.

Knocking last years champion, Christopher Tack from the top spot, and putting Aaron Hadlow back to third is a huge achievement for the young rider, sending a message to the world that he’s not here to mess around – we’ll be seeing a lot more of Liam Whaley in the world tour this year.

In the womens finals, Karolina Winkowka stood in the top position above Gisela Pulido and Bruna Kajiya. These three have been swapping and changing podium positions for years now, but there’s a new group of hungry female riders training hard to knock them out. The womens freestyle heats were full of new talent, and in a few years we think it’s safe to say that we’ll be reporting on a new trio of women on the VKWC podium.

Kevin Langeree took out the Big air competition, a new addition for the world tour this year after the incredible popularity of the Red Bull King of the air competition in South Africa. Showcasing the extreme side of the sport, Big Air is all about, well, big air! Kiteloops, boosts and handlepasses over 5m high make up the trick-list – much to the enjoyment of spectators! Gisela Pulido won the womens finals, putting some of the boys to shame with some gnarly kiteloops.

Our local hero Joshua Stephens did Australia proud, making it to round three in the Freestyle trials to be knocked out by Best rider Noah Font. In the Big Air competition however, he’s now qualified for the next 6 months after being selected for the quarter finals on day 5. We’ll be following Josh’s progress as he tours with the VKWC this year,

To see what the conditions were like yourself, check out the action day 5 (final day) of the Virgin Kiteboarding World Championships in Dakhla Morocco.