The World Kiteboarding Academy Kimo Classic

The Kimo Mahmoud Invitational 2017 went off this year!


Imagine being taken out of regular school and sent to a private academy where you spend the year traveling to the world’s top kiteboarding hot spots, balancing your education with your training. For the students of the World Class Kiteboarding Academy this is a reality and their annual inter-squad freestyle competition is just part of the year’s academic schedule!


Images: World Class Kiteboarding Academy

The Kimo Mahmoud Invitational took place in the lower lagoon of Taiba on Tuesday, November 28th, 2018. The wind was strong, the secret lagoon was empty, and the athletes were determined to huck it. The competition format was based off of the WKL format. Each athlete was given five trick attempts per heat, with their best three tricks counting for their overall heat score.

In the days leading up to the main event, Sam Light joined the program as a guest coach and mentor. He worked with the student-athletes to help them progress their riding, develop competition strategy, and dial in their competition mindset. Sam and rest of the WCKA coaches helped each athlete develop their tactics and craft a game plan for their heats. On the day of the competition, Sam took off his coaching hat and put on his judging cap, taking on the role of head judge. Sam and fellow judges rewarded clean landings, stylish execution and threw in bonus points for grabs. Butt checks were major deductions and back slaps counted as heat-threatening zeros.



Athletes were seeded based on their results from the previous competition. Each heat consisted of six riders. The winner of each first-round heat advanced directly to the final. Second and third place finishers advanced to the dingle round. Fourth, fifth and six were eliminated, becoming kite caddies, fans and photographers.

The older students were hucking into “Blind Judge 5” attempts while the youngest splashed in the shallows as the sun began to set. This was not an average day at World Class Kiteboard Academy – it was the inter-squad freestyle competition.



The World Class Kiteboard Academy is a roaming private school that transports its students around the world so that they can mix their studies with their training while gaining valuable cultural experiences along the way and the coaching staff believes that competition is a key component of the team’s training philosophy. Attending World Class is a bit like living at a never-ending summer camp. Athletes and faculty spend all day, every day together. So, when competition day comes around, bunkmates and best friends must balance friendship, loyalty, and rivalry.

For some World Class athletes, these school-sponsored contests are the highest-level competitions they may enter in their athletic career. For other athletes, however, these competitions are training tools that help them prepare to compete on kiteboarding’s biggest stage. Student-athletes meet with their coaches on a weekly basis to identify goals and monitor progress in the areas of athletics, academics, and character development.



Some of the World Class students have big goals in mind. Janek Grzegorzewski would like to earn a spot in Red Bull King of the Air one day, Mika Sol has her eyes on the World Kiteboarding League Elite League, Kimo Mahmoud is looking to finish on top at the 2018 Youth Cup, Cameron Auld and Tom Seager are hunting for top finishes in the pro division at the British Kitesports Association championships, and Vetea Boersma and Tomas Aguirre are looking to ascend the ranks of the Kite Park League.

It is a World Class tradition to name each competition after the winner of the previous competition. Kimo Mahmoud narrowly won the first competition of the academic year, the Kit Griffiths Invitational in Hood River, Oregon, so the Brazil competition was named in his honor.

In the opening round, Tom Seager snapped a line and was left stranded and deflated on the far-side of the lagoon. His teammates jumped into action. Vetea Boersma, his toughest opponent in the heat, gave up his kite to Tom. Tom stomped a huge Blind Judge 3, scoring huge points and threatening Vetea’s chances of advancing.



Brazil’s Mika Sol, Tomas Aguirre from Maui and Vetea Boersma of Hood River won their first heats riding with power, proper execution, and consistency, earning a trip directly to the final. Second and third place from the three heats were placed in the dingle, which was a spectacle. The competitors were encouraged to stick with a pre-determined heat strategy, but as they watched their peers attempt massive tricks, strategy became secondary and riders started going for broke.

Cameron stuck a Double Hinterberger Mobe and Janek nailed a Tootsie Roll. Advancing into the final were Janek Grzegorzewski of Poland, Cameron Auld from Scotland, Kimo Mahmoud of Portugal, and England’s Tom Seager.



As the sun inched lower in the sky, it was time to a decide upon a winner. Vetea set the pace, stomping a clean Blind Judge 3 and Mute grab S-mobe 5. His competitors felt the pressure and were forced to accept defeat or change their game plan. Mika, hungry for victory, landed an impressive Backmobe and Indy grab Back-to-blind airpass. Kimo, looking for back-to-back wins, threw down a massive 315 and S-mobe 5. Vetea was unfazed and continued to stack points, landing a clean KGB and 315. Mika was not going down with a fight as she threw an impressive Heart Attack. In the end, no one could catch Vetea’s early points and he claimed the top spot. Second and third went to Kimo and Mika respectively.

Vetea earned pride and privilege, becoming the namesake for the next competition, and snagging the golden plate, an all-powerful plate that lets him cut to the front of the dinner line.

Stay tuned for the Vetea Boersma Big Air Challenge, coming to you from Cape Town, South Africa in February of 2018!


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