re-sized gisela

3 superb Captains and a battle being fought with kites not cannons

Once again Cadiz will be the venue for a re-enactment of the Battle of Trafalgar. The kitesurfing battle will take place from 7 to 12 October, as always… dependent on wind, and the scenario will be the same as at the legendary battle of 1805, at Cape Trafalgar.

This, I thought, called  for a brief preview on the Captains of each team: Gisela Pulida for Spain, Mallory de la Villemarque for France and Aaron Hadlow, England.

As one of the best-known female names in the sport, holding seven freestyle, one wave, and several second disciplines world titles, Gisela Pulido, familiarly known as Gigi, is a fitting captain for the Spanish Team. At just 18-years old she has already had an astonishing career. Born and brought up in Barcelona she became fascinated by kitesurfing at the tender age of 6 whilst watching her father enjoy the sport. 3-yrs later she convinced him to drive her to the Junior European Championships in France with the promise that if she was not placed on the podium she would wait a few years to grow up before trying again. Of course she was on the podium – in 2nd place and thus her career had begun.

In 2004 the family relocated to the kitesurfing mecca of Tarifa. “I live in Tarifa because there are great conditions for training, and I was able to combine my trainings with school. Now I am in an online school, but still live here,” she said. After dominating the KPWT circuit, she continued to succeed in the PKRA championships and in August 2006 (at age 13) she beat Kristin Boese to win the first of her 6 PKRA freestyle titles.

Gisela will never be satisfied with ‘ordinary’. Her competitive nature and love of the sport is leading her to bigger and better things and she now has the Olympics in her sights. “Besides the competition I like to have big challenges. Last year in August I crossed the Gibraltar Strait competing against the ferry that goes from Tarifa to Tanger. And in December I rode in the 12 Apostles in Australia. I want to keep going down this path.”

She will present formidable opposition to France and England.

However, 24-yr old Mallory de la Villemarque is a fitting candidate to lead the French team. Twice Junior Champion of France and now a regular on the PKRA tour he would love to uphold the honour of France and vindicate history by beating the British! Living in Tarifa, which is not that far from Cadiz, might give him a small advantage which, as far as the Brits are concerned, the French and the Spanish are going to need – they, Les Anglais, will be determined that this event will be a small matter of history repeating itself!

But de la Villemarque will be equally determined to uphold French honour and bring home a French victory. A few personal friends such as Forest Bakker, Victor Hays and Marie Switala will be kiting with him, helping to coalesce the team.

It will be a stiff challenge.

Captaining the British team will be 23-year old Aaron Hadlow. Aaron needs no introduction from us, if you kite you’ll know who he is. If you’ve been a regular reader of our site you will have come across previous articles on him, so, quite apart from being THE top kitesurfer in the world and 5 times PKRA World Champion, he now fully intends to defend Britain’s honour at the re-staging of the Battle of Trafalgar.

 “Once I was at the top the only way to stay there was to innovate, my motivation was at an all time high, learning new tricks that nobody else had done or seen was a great feeling, as good as winning a competition, that combo worked hand in hand and I would say was the key point that kept me at the top for 5 years.” However, since 2010 Aaron has withdrawn from the circuit taking time out to concentrate on his own brand for a bit and visit new places, not to say that he has withdrawn from the limelight. “I am still motivated and love creating new tricks and look forward to competing again in the future to show off what I have learnt in my time off.”

Which is why you will be seeing him captaining England at the Battle of Trafalgar.

Feast your eyes on the following video… megaloops indeed!

We’ll be keeping a close eye on this competition. What fun it will be!

feature photo courtesy of www.giselapulido.com

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