Kiteboarding champions crowned in a stormy season for the sport

December 22, 2015 | Kiteboarding
Aaron Hadlow: the 2015 VKWC world champion | Photo: Kolesky/Red Bull

With five events completed, and four canceled stages, the Virgin Kitesurf World Championships (VKWC) announced the season's winners across four disciplines.

Professional kiteboarding lived, once again, a turbulent year. The International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) and the VKWC traded mutual accusations and claimed the right to crown world champions in the sport. No one heard a word from athletes. Were they afraid of retaliations?

Kites didn't fly in four scheduled venues: Brazil, Argentina, China, and South Africa. Blame it on the endless disputes that no one really understood. So, basically, the season was over by the end of August.

Nevertheless, another year is over, and champions have been crowned in Freestyle (Liam Whaley and Gisela Pulido), Big Air (Kevin Langeree and Gisela Pulido), Wave (Keahi de Aboitiz and Jalou Langeree), and Slalom (Florian Gruber and Katja Roose).

The VKWC also crowned overall champions - the best athletes competing in all disciplines. They are Aaron Hadlow and Gisela Pulido. The newly renamed Pro Kite Tour (PKT) led by Richard Branson will return in 2016.

World Sailing, the world governing body for the sport of sailing, allowed both IKA and PKT to crown world champions in 2016. The decision will likely cause hesitation, uncertainty and confusion among professional kiteboarders.

2015 Virgin Kitesurf World Championships | World Champions

Freestyle Men: Liam Whaley (ES)
Freestyle Women: Gisela Pulido (ES)
Big Air Men: Kevin Langeree (NL)
Big Air Women: Gisela Pulido (ES)
Wave Men: Keahi de Aboitiz (AUS)
Wave Women: Jalou Langeree (NL)
Slalom Men: Florian Gruber (GER)
Slalom Women: Katja Roose (NL)
Overall Men: Aaron Hadlow (UK)
Overall Women: Gisela Pulido (ES)