Kitesurfing is meditation. Yes, you heard us right! It keeps you in the present. You strike an element of balance amidst two natural forces — wind and water. Fly – Surf – Sail — All these three experiences combined into one exhilarating activity — Kitesurfing. The essence of kitesurfing and the feel is ineffable, no matter how hard we try to describe it.
Are you starting kiteboarding and want to know who are the best riders in the world? For that, we have created a guide with the number 1 kitesurfers worldwide. Basically, in this guide, we present you on a silver platter who are the Kings of kitesurfing.
Since kitesurfing brings together many disciplines, first we tell you who are the best kiters of 2020. Second, we show you who are the legends of kitesurfing, that is, those who have marked the history of the kite world. Finally, you will find the most promising kiters worldwide.
Without further ado, let´s see what are the best pro kiters on the planet!
WHO ARE THE BEST KITESURFERS IN 2020?
We introduce you the kings and queens of 2020 according to the modality in which they compete, and the reference competition where they have been proclaimed winners
—- Strapless / Waves – Ranking of the WKA Tour (Global Kitesports Associations)
—-Freestyle – WKA Tour Ranking (Global Kitesports Associations)
—– Big air / Freeride – Red bull King of the air
—– Hydrofoil / RACE – Formula Kite World Series
BEST STRAPLESS KITESURF RIDERS
The strapless is a surprising modality, where riders compete with their surfboards to do the best style tricks. It is characterized by wearing loose feet. It is quite spectacular to watch them flying and performing tricks both hooked and unhooked from the bar.
Airton Cozzolino, Ponta Preta, Cape Verde
Airton was four years old when he started surfing with rotated boards in the so-called African Caribbean. He used to make friends with the windsurfers who passed by and many of them, before leaving the island, gave him the boards. That is how at 6 years old he had already used a bodyboard for the first time.
But the curious history of Airton goes further. In 2010 he was adopted by an Italian businessman who set up his kitesurfing school on the island. Today, father and son run two of the best kite and windsurf schools in Cape Verde, and another in Sardinia. In 2011, Coozzolino won the World Surf Championship in the Wave riding category, and since then he has not stopped adding victories.
This boy is the king of strapless, with a great presence in recent years, all kitesurfers in the world know him, he has come to revolutionize the world of kitesurfing, his tricks are impressive, becoming a legend with only 25 years. It has won the top accolade in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. Among great achievements, he has the world record for staying in the air with a strapless board.
Spain is a country where great riders are born, especially on the women’s championship.
Carla is Spanish, born in the Dominican Republic, with 3 years old she came to Spain in Toledo and she spent her summers on the Cadiz coast learning surfing and kitesurfing. Later on, when she began to take kite seriously, Tarifa became her home.
2019 has been her year, proclaiming herself an absolute champion.
BEST KITESURF FREESTYLE RIDERS
Freestyle is the kitesurfing competition where riders use a twintip board anchored with boots. In this competition, big jumps prevail along with mainly unhooked acrobatics. Freestyle is one of the most demanding disciplines in terms of technical and physical level.
In recent years the world championships has undergone a total reconversion, now the younger riders are gaining more prominence. As you can see, the two 2019 champions are not over the age of majority.
Valentin Rodriguez , Calima, Colombia
This young Colombian promise has left behind the term “promise” to become a reference of freestyle worldwide, proclaiming himself a champion of the GKA 2019. This title adds to the third place achieved in the Junior World Cup in the 2017 season, which confirms him as one of the great kiters worldwide. This rider from Cali was 15 years old when he began to emerge among the greatest talents in the world. He had been windsurfing since he was eight years old but fell in love with kite since the first time he saw it. At her young age, he has already focused on kitesurfing at a professional level and without any doubt, the progression of this rider suggests that there are many years left to continue seeing Valentin at the top.
Mikaili Sol, Taiba, Brazil
This young Brazilian is achieving everything that can be conquered on a professional level. Her first year on the adult championship has swept away and she drags the past 2015,2016,2017 and 2018 junior world championships. Mikaili has come to stay following in the footsteps of her childhood idol, the Spanish Gisela Pulido, who he also achieved world titles at a very young age.
Big air / freeride would be one of the craziest modalities that exist. In this modality, the riders seek to perform the highest jumps, even with tricks. For this, they do not hesitate to perform great manoeuvres in the air pulling kite loops, that is, they get their kite to perform a full 360-degree loop in the air to get driven, It’s crazy! It is kitesurfing taken to an extreme with winds of more than 30 knots. Only the bravest riders have a room in this modality.
There is not a worldwide championship to measure the highest jumps but there are different companies that hold some events to crown the most skilled kiters. Among these events, the Red Bull King of the air stands out, which brings together the most extreme riders year after year.
The Red bull king of the air or KOTA is an annual freestyle kitesurfing event, where riders are judged based on the height of their jumps, variety of tricks and style. It has been performed for the last 8 years, every February, on the kite beach of Cape Town, South Africa.
Kevin Langeree, Noordwijk, The Netherlands
He is the only rider who has managed to win the Red Bull King of the air up to three times. This rider also managed to win the Freestyle World Championship in 2009 and he is one of the most active in social media with his own YouTube channel named Kevvblog, which is recommended for adrenaline fans.
Despite being one of the oldest riders, the good guy from Langeree proves year after year to be among the best.
Jesse Richman, Hawaii, United States
Jesse Richman is the current King of the air. In 2020 he was won his second title in the most extreme competition. This rider is characterized by a way of being crazy and fun. Richman is addicted to adrenaline and also competes in big wave competitions with his kite. He has managed to hold the world record for flying high with a kite (244 meters above sea level), snatched in 2018 by his great friend Nick Jacobsen (277 meters)
BEST FORMULA KITE / HIDROFOIL KITESURF RIDERS
This modality is one of the most important for the propagation of kitesurfing since it has been the modality chosen to be Olympic in Paris 2024. Spain has very good riders who are training hard to reach the Olympic event as they are in the men’s category Alex Climent ( @alejandrocliment) and in female the 10x world freestyle champion Gisela Pulido (@giselapulido) who has changed modality to try to fight for gold.
To choose the fastest rider we look at the world formula kite championship. This competition consists of being the fastest with kites and boards designed for it. The boards are made of carbon.
Theo de Ramecourt, Abbeville, France
This Frenchman has been champion of France up to three times. In 2019 it has been first in the ranking of the Formula Kite class world. His goal is to reach Paris 2024 at the top of the classification and everything seems to be going smoothly because he has started the first tests of 2020 in the first position.
Daniela Moroz, California, United States
Daniela Moroz is the current female formula kite world champion. This girl combines her passion for Kite with college studies as she is a third year student at Campolindo High School in Lafayette, CA.
She is one step away from turning her childhood dream into reality as everything points to her reaching the 2024 Paris Olympics at the top
Now that we have seen who are the best kite surfers of 2020, let’s go deep with other kite surfers who are or who have been on the podium. Some of these kitesurfers are considered the great riders from all the times, like Gisela Pulido
LEGENDS OF KITESURFING – SOME OF THE BEST KITESURFERS FROM ALL TIMES
If you like kitesurfing, then you should see how these guys are riding. When we talk about who are the best kitesurfers in the world, we can not forget the next pearls. All of them have won a name and they deserve to be on our list. Yet, if you don’t believe us, you can google them or check them out in youtube. It is really amazing what they have achieved and what they can do with a kite in their hands! 🙂
Oteniel Jorge Monteiro, Mitu, also known as “El Maestro”, is another Cape Verdean who was unbeatable for more than a decade. Today a legend in the Isla de la Sal, takes advantage of this sport to support the local community. “If I ever stop going to the sea, I would get sick. I need to put my feet in the sand every day and look at the horizon ”, he confesses. Meticulous and demanding, he was the creator of the Strapless Freestyle style that all the riders of the GKA Kite Surf World Tour now use and which consists of using the surfboard and the kite to generate a hybrid style between kite and surf in which they riders are not attached to the board. Mitu also has his own school on the east coast of Sal and although he started competing in the Windsurfing World Cup, since 2008 he is a fixture on the podium of the Kitesurfing World Championship. Last year he took the fourth position in his modality.
Another Caborverdian, nationalized Spanish, who is a real spectacle is this 23-year-old young man, who holds third place in the world championship strapless and waves. He also started in the kitesurfing world with his father, a windsurfer, when he was only 4 or 5 years old. “At first, I was just going to watch him, to help with the team but little by little, I started going to the beach with friends and bodyboarding. That was the beginning, ”he explains. And like many of the African riders, in those initial moments, he did not know how to swim although when he began to defend in the water and to feel more secure, his capacities were multiplied. During his childhood, he coincided on the beach with two of the greats, Mitu and Airton. “We were all neighbours,” and they taught him some tricks of which he has now become a great teacher.
Last year was a successful year for this young Australian, James Carew aka Storm Carew, who has been surfing since he was 3 years old. It was his uncle, who kitesurfed as a hobby, and his father who encouraged him to get on a board when he was almost a baby. It would not be long when Carew discovered that he had an enormous talent for this sport and began to practice it professionally. Today he is among the five best kitesurfers in the world at only 19 years old and last year he fought for the first place on the podium against the unbeatable, for now, Airton Cozzolino.
Ibizan living in Tarifa since he was 13 years old (in search of the wind), he was proclaimed world champion in Freestyle in 2005 together with Gisela Pulido. Born from a Spanish father and a Dutch mother, both windsurfers, Liam came to the sport guided by his father who took him to Cumbuco (Brazil) to practice every year. He progressively raised his level and at 17 he was already among the best riders in the world. “The perfect winds to compete for ranges from 35 to 40 knots upwards”, he says, “thus reaching heights of over twenty meters”. You can follow some of his amazing stunts on his Instagram.
The Catalan Gisela Pulido, who lives in Tarifa, has been 10 times world freestyle champion. She started very young at just 10 years old, and since then she has not stopped breaking precocious records. In addition to her undeniable technical skills with the Kite board and kite, Gisela has great contracts with a multitude of firms in the nautical sector thanks to her personality and her sacrifice. Gisela has been during all these years an example at a sporting and personal level for all kite lovers thanks to her titles and her behaviour outside of tournaments. In the year in which the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games are held and Kitesurfing is introduced as an Olympic modality, Gisela is one of the main hopes of Spanish sport.
List of the most promising kitesurfers in the world & young talents
Finally, we can not forget who are the most promising kiters in the world. The world of kitesurfing is a fast and dynamic world, where new talents are always appearing on stage ready to set new records. Remember the following names because everything looks like they are going to be the champions of the future.
World champion in 2016, the Brazilian from Caucaia, known as “the baby”, is one of the great promises of kitesurfing worldwide and one of the most acclaimed. It is said that “no kiter has been so solid in so many different categories”. He joined the worldwide championships just three years ago.
Carlos’s story is one of those that never ceases to surprise locals and strangers. Born in Brazil, under really significant poverty conditions, Carlos has not stopped fighting for a single day to make his dreams come true. It was in this way that a sponsor offered to provide the necessary financial means to compete in Kitesurfing worldwide.
Maxime is the new Swiss talent. Only two years ago he jumped onto the world kiteboarding scene and with just 17 years old he has already achieved more titles than most female athletes in his entire professional career. He managed to finish the Kite World Tour last year in 4th position in his modality, a great achievement for such a young rider.
This young Polish woman, born in 1990 was initiated in the world of snowboarding and she decided to jump into the nautical modality of Kitesurfing in 2004. She has been a champion in 2012 and she is another great example for young people who want to start in this sport. Her adaptation of winter sports, where she also reaped great triumphs, to Kitesurfing has been amazing and nowadays no one can deny her privileged place among the most prestigious riders in the world
The experienced Brazilian rider, born in Sao Paulo and raised on its incredible beaches, is another of the great icons of this sport. This São Paulo kite girl has been in the professional circuit for more than 10 years, giving us great moments and acrobatics.
One of the emerging riders who come from the European championship and the Vice European is this 23-year-old Dutch. After achieving great results in the lower categories and taking first place in the European championships, she is ready to leave her skin to overthrow the reign of the most established riders. It started with Kitesurfing in 2009 and its progression has attracted the attention of both professionals and sports brands.
Annabel Van Westerop
The second Dutch woman in the running is this young rider. Living in Aruba since she was eleven, the Caribbean beaches introduced her to the world of kitesurfing and water sports. Despite not having achieved great victories, with the exception of the silver medal obtained in the tournament in Colombia, the athlete points out very good manners and is another of the professionals who gathers a large number of followers in each World Kite Tour event.
The last female on this list of riders to follow is Paula Novotna. The Czech is another of the “covered” and great hopes to end the hegemony of the great riders. She started kitesurfing at the age of 14 after competing in numerous sports related to gymnastics. From 2012 she began to dedicate herself fully to the Kitesurfing modality in a professional way and since then she has been occupying the privileged positions of the classification.