Aaron Hadlow Five-Time World Champion’s Views (video interview below…)
El Gouna has welcomed the world’s best kiteboarders for the start of the first IKA Kiteboarding World Championships (World Kite League) event which begins this week. In this feature we get the reaction after last season, from five-time World Champion, Aaron Hadlow.
After a highly criticised VKWC World Tour last year, with a string of cancelled events, apparent unpaid prize money, no opportunity for the winners to stand on a podium and a public dispute of rights to stage a ‘World Championships’, many meetings and new courses of action have taken place over the off-season and the IKA will stage the Kiteboarding World Championships for 2016.
Aaron Hadlow competed in freestyle, big air and even did a wave event in 2015. He was given the title as Overall Champion, though it’s a title he holds nowhere near his previous five freestyle titles. He believes however that Liam Whaley’s freestyle title is legitimate after the young rider from Tarifa finished on top, having faced off against all the big guys in the toughest discipline that they all want to win.
But it begs the question of how important the kitesurfing world tour really is, what it means to riders, and what the scene would look like without it?
Aaron shares his thoughts with us in this video that we shot with him just before the King of the Air, and before the IKA seemingly came to a temporary agreement with the Kite Riders Union.
(Find more comments from Aaron below this video):
You can also watch this video through The Kite Show here.
Further comments from Aaron:
“The events weren’t too bad at the beginning of the season last year. We kind of had half a year’s full schedule – when there was still some motivation and still some hope that it was going in a good direction. But how it ended up with the last few events being cancelled, not having a final event to crown the champions, and then all the controversy around which was the ‘official world championship’, it’s all pretty disheartening. It’s easy to lose a lot of interest if I’m honest.
“I’ve been training and competing most of my life and the events are what everyone trains for over the winter. We all just want to go and prove ourselves against the top riders, and if that platform’s not there anymore it’s quite disheartening for everyone.
“Going into the last events wasn’t a problem for us really, despite what was going on. Once you’re at the event and there in the heat – that’s the moment that counts; whether you’re in a local event or at the World Championship. The atmosphere around the events is still pretty similar. Everyone’s competing and the fact that all the best riders are there is what really counts to yourself.
“For me I want to compete against the best riders and it’s nice to show and have something for that, but at the end of the day, for me personally, it’s about proving to myself that I’m still up there and able to compete with the world’s best.”
We conducted more interviews with some of the main opinion leaders in the sport about the current state of what happened last season, and will bring you some of those interviews this week, including the views of the likes of VKWC winner Liam Whaley and two-time World Champion Mark Shinn.
Even three weeks ago it was uncertain whether the IKA could step in and strike an understanding with the Kite Riders Union, but thankfully it looks like there will be a more positive outlook for the tour in 2016, with 65 riders from 26 different countries entering their event. The qualifiers will conclude today (Monday) before the main event kicks off and the forecast offering a prime day full of action.
Livestream audio and general coverage: www.worldkiteleague.com
The main events in Freestyle and Big Air will have live coverage here
Competition continues until Saturday when the first 2016 winners in Freestyle and Big Air will be crowned.