The Best Freestyle Competitor – 2016 Reader’s Choice Awards


Winning does not make you the best competitor. A great competitor is just as good at taking a loss and being a worthy adversary. We have stood on the sidelines and watched as the years competition unfolded showing the true spirit of competition of the top female freestyle riders as they battle it out.

If you are wondering what makes these rider worthy of our short list, let us explain.

Bruna Kajiya was beaten early on in an upset in Germany. Smiling in defeat she went away, focussed and then came back and got the job done to win the event.

Hannah Whiteley took a nasty crash just before the last tour stop which knocked her for six. As the event began it was clear that she was not her usual self, but with a job to do she kept to herself and then attacked the competition in the end coming in second and getting her highest event placing.

Annabel van Westerop missed the first tour stop and had to come at the second via the qualifications, something she had never had to do in the past. Unfazed she knuckled down and made it through the finals, coming in third in the end.

Paula Novotna seems the be the girl that always just misses the podium. Without a doubt one of the strongest technical riders out there and just looking at her videos will show you this. Yet her resilience, hard work and constant training show a spirit that deserves to be rewarded.

Pauline Valesa was a full time competitor on the tour for the first time this year. Professional, calm and polite with a smile, her sportsmanship and consistency see her currently placed sixth with everything to play for in the last stop.

Therese Taabbel is not someone you will hear spoken ill of from her peers ever. To understand why this girl is a great friend and competitor we just need to think back to a round 3 heat in Germany where she was against her friend and rival Rita Arnaus. Rita’s kite would not re-launch and so mid-heat Therese kited over to help her friend out at the expense of her performance. This is a true competitor.

Francesca Bagnoli is labelled by us as the unluckiest girl in competitive kiteboarding. A hugely talented rider she recently has developed a trend for just missing out on the main event due to what could be considered pretty bad luck. Yet she still beams positivity and is supportive of all the riders and her man as he competes in the men’s competition. Your time will come Francesca.

Isabeau Galiart thoroughly deserves a place in this list after her performance in Germany. She caused a few upsets with her consistent points scoring and trick landing throughout her qualification and heats and showed a composure and awareness of the competition that demonstrated maturity beyond her years.

Now it is just up to you to decide which is your favourite for 2016.

Voting is now closed, the winners will be announced shortly.

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