1-8 September 2021

TatajubaFest 2021

Words by Kyle Cabano

The third event of the 2021 Big Air Kite League World Tour took place this past week in Tatajuba, Brazil. Riders from all around the world came together to battle it for the top positions among the three divisions: Amateur, Women and Pro.

We set out a one week event window from 01 to 08 September to make sure we ran the competition on the most ideal conditions and we ended up using five of the days during this window. The wind in Brazil is second to none and we were blessed with an abundant forecast this past week. 

Competitors were riding fully powered on the 8 and 9m kites on most days, barring the uniquely sized competitors who needed to go smaller. The lagoon in Tatajuba is only safe for competition on higher tides and provides butter flat takeoffs when the tide isn’t too high. On the final two days of the competition the high tide was too high, making for choppy take-offs and a strong current of water moving with the tidal flow. Well done to all of the riders for performing so well in the tough conditions! One of the goals of our organization is to only run big air with ideal conditions and we believe the riders really pulled the cat out of the hat in the less-than-ideal spring tide conditions, this speaks volumes about their skill level.

This event saw the debut of our new judging system and it was a massive success. Our new judging system was developed by 19Finger software development in conjunction with the BAKL Board Members and integrated into heatscoring.com – the system we use for live scoring and broadcasting in BAKL competitions. The new judging system increases the accuracy of scores and shortens the training time required to get judges up to speed in this ever-changing world of big air kiting. Riders took turns to do their tricks on the lagoon, which helped ensure that the judges could see every trick and capture accurate scores.

We were able to stream this event world wide thanks to our dreamy stream team consisting of Michal Jagniatkowski, Greg James, Adrian Kerr and Colin Colin Carroll who were placed all around the world. The live stream brings the action to those who carry the big air spirit but are not able to be in Brazil. This one’s for you guys and girls! 

If you have not yet seen the live stream from TatajubaFest 2021, click here to watch it!

It was no simple feat bringing the live stream into realization in the rural reaches of Tatajuba. Infrastructure is limited here but with massive thanks to Vantage Global Event Production and La Ventana Tatajuba we were able to make this dream a reality. We even had WiFi spanning the entire lagoon so that the Surfr App could work. 

The Surfr App added a bonus prize of 500 Euros to the rider with the highest recorded jump. This prize went to local Brazilian shredder, Francisco Edinardo, with a jump measuring 14.8m – well done Edinardo! Other notable metrics from the event was Abrao catching 8.1  seconds of air time, Beto Gomez with the furthest jump clearing 97m and also recording the fast jump with a maximum speed of 69.9km/h during one of his loops. The addition of these metrics to our live stream added depth for the viewers as well as the judges. You can measure your sessions too! Be sure to download the Surfr App and track your sessions using your smartphone. It is free to use!

The amateur division is set out for up and coming big air riders to get them into the rhythm of contest riding and they absolutely rocked it! Each of these riders have the potential to ride in the pro fleet, particularly those who made it to the final rounds. In the end the title was taken by Victor Emanoe (BR) followed by Tone Monteiro (BR) in 2nd place and Dennis Petersen (DE) in 3rd place. Well done to all of the riders who competed in the amateur division! 

The women’s division has come a long way both Pippa and Zara competing in the open divisions too. These girls are shredding! Although there were not many riders in this division we are proud to be running a division for the female riders to compete in and welcoming them to the big air scene. In the finals it was Pippa Van Iersel (NL) who came away with the 1st place, Zara Hoegenraad in 2nd (NL), Silvia Rossini (IT) and Jasmine Cho (US) in equal 3rd. Well done ladies!

With the first ever BAKL World Title in contention, the level of riding in the Pro division at this competition simply shot through the roof. The perfect big air conditions on the Tatajuba lagoon are very suitable for technical riding. There is not much gust in the wind here and with no kickers to add to the jump equation it really evened the playing field for the riders to perform to the best of their ability. Riders who were able to get extra height out of their jumps and added yank through carefully timed kite loops were rewarded and progressed through their heats. For the rest it was a gauntlet of elimination heats and head to head battles against the world’s most talented big air riders. 

A glance at the heat table of the Pro division and you will see what looks like an endless combination of likely finalists. Each of these riders have the skill to be in the final but in the end it was down to Giel Vlugt (DE) on his new Ocean Rodeo gear, Janek Grzegorzewski (PL) and the underdog Beto Gomez (CO) who worked his way flawlessly into the final from the first round of the event. In the end Janek came out on top, holding onto his title from last year, followed up closely by Beto in 2nd and Giel in 3rd place. 

A massive shoutout to all of the riders who brought the real heat to this event! A word of thanks to the organizers and partners for turning this dream into a reality. We firmly believe that competitions are important for the development of our sport. During this event every single rider learnt something new. In the wake of the final day, many of the competitors were straight back into the water and into training. The desire to be on top is stronger than ever before and the riders are behaving like the athletes they are. 

The riders in the Pro division earn points based on their results in the competition. The riders with the most points at the end of the final event will be crowned the BAKL World Tour Champion! At this point the tour leader is Janek but with two more events planned this year this can change. 

Click here to view the current BAKL Rider Rankings

Our next event is around the corner. The Lords of Tram will be taking place in Gruissan, France next month between 09-17 October 2021 so stay tuned for more high performance action as the fleet takes to the air in the Mediterranean ocean in the famous Tramontane wind.

We are also very excited to announce our following event that will BAKL Cape Town and is scheduled to run between 01 and 30 December. This promises to be a stinger with many riders already planning to fly in for this stop of the tour. 

We would like to once again thank our event partners for their generosity. You are the true champions!

Surfr App

Sunset Kiteboarding

Vantage Global Event Production


La Ventana Tatajuba

Physiotherapist Jan Vlugt from fysiotherapieheusden-veen.nl

Physiotherapist Alice Murad


To see the full event ladders across the three divisions, click here!

Also, special thanks to the following legends:

  • Gleison
  • Maike
  • Keani
  • Thiago
  • Juanma
  • Miguel
  • Carolina
  • Caca
  • Juergen
  • Adrian and Colin
  • Greg James
  • And so many more who made this event possible!