Congratulations to our 2017 Qualifier League Champions
It is with great pleasure that we announce our 2017 Qualifier League Champions, after the conclusion of our final Qualifier League event in El Gouna, Egypt.
This year's 2017 Qualifier League Tour was composed of three stops, Leucate, Texel and El Gouna. These events provided a great opportunity for young talent to prove their worth and gain entry into the Elite League for 2017. The Qualifier League saw the participation of over 40 men and 15 women from over 22 different nationalities. Though the objective of this League is to form a platform for young up-and-coming athletes to adapt to the WKl competition system and gain experience in preparation for the Elite, what we have seen is outstanding talent right from the very start. With athletes as young as 11 years old, it is a glimpse into the future of competitive kiteboarding, and we have no doubt that this will be reflected in freestyle kiteboarding in the years to come.
We proudly present you our top three podium finishers for both the Men and Women. These are the Elite riders of the future, so keep your eyes on these new talents, as you will be seeing plenty of them in the near future!
Men's Qualifier League Winners 2017
1st - Nicolas Delmas - France
This 20 year old rider from a small town close to Montpellier in France, has taken the Qualifier League by storm this year. He has shown an outstanding level on both the Elite and Qualifier Leagues, and finishes this season with a 1st place for the Qualifier League 2017.
"This year has been a really important one for me. I achieved my goal, which was to be in the Elite League this year. I also won the Qualifier League competition, so I am really happy about this result, which will allow me to compete in the Elite League next year as well. It has always been a dream of mine to be qualified on the world tour. Now I have achieved it and I travel around the world and share amazing moments with the other riders. The level is very high and there is a long way to reach the top of the Elite League, but I am more motivated than ever to attack the new year." Nicolas Delmas
2nd - Maxime Chabloz - Switzerland
It's been an incredible year for this young 16 year old rider from Switzerland. After taking podium wins at the Youth Cup in Costa Brava, and at the Qualifier League in El Gouna, he can end the season knowing that he gave it his all, and with a solid and well-deserved result.
"It feels very good to be second in the Qualifier League because I started the year with a 13th place in Leaucate, then I managed to jump up to 4th in Texel and take the win in El Gouna. This has given me an amazing 2nd place overall right behind my team mate Nicolas Delmas and infront of my good friend and training partner Christian Tio. It's an even greater feeling to know that I am now able to compete in the Elite League for 2018, which was my most important goal for 2017." Maxine Chabloz
3rd - Christian Tio - Philippines
Christian Tio, also just 16 years of age, stormed into our first event of the year in Leucate with his powerful and stylish riding, allowing him entry into the 2017 Elite League. Originating from the Philippines, this RedBull athlete has closed the season with a fantastic 3rd place for the Qualifier League. We can expect to see plenty of big action from Christian during 2018.
"My first year competing in the WKL has been a steep learning curve, getting to ride together with so many good athletes, has made me want to push more. During the last year I have traveled more than ever before, and have been making new experiences all the time. Making it into the WKL elite league early in the year has pushed me to train and and keep focused. With training in both Sri Lanka and Brazil this year, in addition to WKL events I have learnt a lot, but still need to keep pushing." Christian Tio
Women's Qualifier League Winners 2017
1st - Maureen Castelle - France
Maureen has spent a lot of time training hard both in her home spot of Noumea, and also in France training with the French team. This has had an incredibly successful result for her, giving her 1st place finish and securing her spot in the Elite League for 2018. Her strong performance throughout the year has been exceptional.
"This year my main goal was to integrate the WKL elite tour. And for that I trained hard at home in Nouméa. I knew that my whole year was going to be played on one competition in France during the qualification at the Mondial du vent. I managed to reach my goal, and all this year on the elite WKL tour was only happiness! I'm waiting for one thing to be able to continue next year. This year it was a first for me to compete on the world tour. It was a good experience, and I know now that's what I like to do. I like to overtake myself again and again to go as far as possible in the competition. Travel and discover new spots around the world and also one of the things that make me appreciate every moment. I always keep in mind that I am extremely lucky to be able to do what I do and I am very grateful. I am very happy to be able to continue on the world tour next year, the level of girls is constantly increasing and being allowed the best will be more and more difficult. It's always motivating to be able to ride with girls who have a great level, it motivates me and pushes me to progress again and again. I’m eager that next year begins to continue this adventure. But in the meantime it’s time to train!" Maureen Castelle
2nd - Mikaili Sol - Brazil/US
Mikaili Sol has proved that she is one to watch out for, at only 13 years of age, she took the win at the Qualifier League event in El Gouna. A young rider with great promise, she is itching to get started in the Elite League, which requires her to be 14 years old to compete. This year sees Mika join the World Class Kite Academy, which will allow her to combine her studies along with kite training in the best spots around the World. We look forward to seeing plenty more from this young Brazilian talent!
"I spent several weeks training with Fabio Ingrosso in Brasil to prepare, and I think that helped a lot. I improved my consistency a lot. It feels good to be the youngest girl, because you are beating girls who are a lot older, so its really satisfying. Im really happy with my performance, and I hope to do the same next season! Mikaili Sol
3rd - Verka Klabbers - Netherlands
Vera Klabbers has had an exceptional season, qualifying for the Elite League at the start of the year, and now finishing the season with a 3rd place in the Qualifier League. Combining her university studies together with competing, she is doing an amazing job of staying on top and progressing her riding with every competition. We can expect to see plenty more from Vera in 2018!
"I am happy to finish 3rd and be on the podium of the Qualifier League of 2017. At the beginning of the year I Qualified myself for the Elite league and for the rest of the year i have been competing in both leagues. By finishing 3rd in the overall ranking of the Qualifiers I can keep my spot in the Elite league the coming season . I am happy and motivated to compete again next year and let's see where the future takes me." Vera Klabbers
As the 2017 season draws to a close, we have one final event left of the Elite League before we can see the final rankings, and who will be climbing up to the Elite, and who will not qualify.
We would like to congratulate all of the Qualifier League riders for their hard work and motivation during this 2017 season, showing that the level is extremely high right from the start. The future of kiteboarding is bright!