French Champions


After a windless french nationals the previous two years, VALENTIN GARAT returned strong to retain the French national champion title against a strong field of competitors. Hosted in the south of France, Leucate is known for its strong Tramontana winds and it dished up the complete spectrum of conditions. Valentin showcased skills in big air and freestyle to capture first place. We caught up with the repeat champion to see how his event went!


Congratulations on becoming French national championship! how does it feel to win the title once again!

It feels super good to have won the French national championship again! The last two years we didn't have wind to run the events and this year we had pretty good conditions. We have a lot of good riders, Arthur (Guillebert), Louka (Pitot), Paul (Serin) and all the young guys who are coming up, all on the world tour, so winning against those guys, it feels pretty good!

Leucate is known for some having some extreme winds and it looked like you had some of that during the event, how were the conditions during the event?

During the event we didn't have the traditional Tramontana wind, we had wind coming from the south bringing strong wind and waves. It was super good, the first day we did some big air because the wind was so strong and with the big waves it filled up the lagoon to create a perfect flat water spot which we were able to use for the finals when the winds got down to 20 knots.

Did you have anyone on caddy duty?

At the nationals we had the Senior and Junior division, so i had Edgar (Ulrich) helping me when it was my heat and i would help him out on his heats. I’m happy for him that he won in the junior division!

October is probably the latest the Mondial Du Vent has ever been held, how long in advance did you know about the event and how were your preparations?

We were aware it was going to happen this date, we just were not sure if it might be cancelled due to covid. I was preparing as if the event was going to happen, i went to Greece to train and then we had pretty good conditions at home at the beginning of summer as well so we could kite quite a lot. I had been preparing for this event quite seriously as it was the only event we had scheduled this year, so It was a big event.

How were those preparations and did any Covid 19 restrictions cause problems with your plans?

Preparation started as soon as we heard about the French Championships, i think we had the news before the summer that it was planned to go ahead. All the Frenchies were pretty excited about the competition as there were not many events scheduled. We also had a big air competition just the week before the French championship. I hadn’t trained big air as i was in Greece focusing on freestyle this summer. At the big air event i came second to Arthur, it was a big fight but i managed to take my revenge at the French National!

Do you train with the other French riders?

Yes, that’s how we train, with Arthur and all the French riders, we kite every windy day on the spots from Montpellier to Leucate. We made the most of it, there wasn’t much traveling outside of France due to Covid but we figured out there was plenty of good spots at home when we look at the conditions and choose the good sessions.

For sure the covid restrictions hasn’t allowed us to travel as usual, but we have to adapt. Having the best french riders living in the south of France close to each other allows you to ride with your friends, and having that makes for the perfect environment to train and improve your tricks.

Duotone Kiteboarding French Champions Val Garat

Take us through your equipment set during the event.

For the first day for the big air i was using the Evo and the new Jaime SLS. For me its the best combo for big air, with the Evo you go high and it loops well. Then for the freestyle i switched to my favourite kite, the Vegas and the Team Series 142 and boots, the classic freestyle set up. It’s crazy how good those two set ups are for each discipline, Evo and Jaime for big air and the Vegas and Team Series for freestyle, i like to adapt my riding to the conditions and i like how they allow me to show to people and the judges what is possible in both of the conditions we had.

This was your first contest during an ongoing pandemic, how did that effect things?

We had an event the week before so the restrictions were the same. Spectators could come but had to wear a mask and keep social distance. This was the same for the competitors, we had to keep our social distance. The prize ceremony was straight after the heat with everyone wearing a mask for the podium photo and that was it. We just have to adapt and you can see we are able to run some good events. People not on the beach were able to follow with the daily video and photo updates.

What was the judging criteria?

It’s the same as the world tour with seven tricks and four counting towards your overall score. The only difference we have for the French nationals is we have to adapt to the conditions. The first day the conditions were very strong so perfect for going the big then clips as it was almost impossible to unhook. As the conditions were 20 knots with flat water on the last day we switch back to freestyle, so it was the judging criteria we were all familiar with from the GKA.

Any shout outs?

I would like to thank my sponsors who allow me to do what I love, kite boarding training and travelling the world. And then all of my friends and family that are always supporting me. It was a rough year last year with my knee injury, I worked really hard to get back into shape and took my training really seriously, i’m eating healthy and going to the gym a lot. I also want to thank all the French team riders with who I travel all around the world with,

I'm really happy that we have a strong level here and because of that we push each other, we have a good level here in France so thanks to all of them.

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Duotone Kiteboarding Val Garat French Champion

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Edgar Ulrich

In his final year in the Junior division, the young french sensation Edgar Ulrich took the Junior national champion title, we caught up with Edgar to see how his competition went.

Congratulations Edgar! How does it feel?

For my last year in the juniors I wanted to finish on a good note and goal achieved! I'm super happy, especially in this complicated year. Now it’s time to rub shoulders with the seniors!

How were the conditions?

From the first round to the semi finals we had two days of side-on strong wind! (30-40 knots ) with big waves rolling in! The forecast announced lighter winds for the end of the week, so the riders voted to run the finals on Thursday, we managed to move the zone to a small lagoon to get a pure freestyle final !

Did you have a support team helping you out during your heats?

The French team is known as a big family , so no matter in which heat you are in, there is always a friend available to help you out, but i want to give a special thanks to Val Garat!

How long in advance did you know the event was going ahead?

The competition was announced two months in advance, but could be canceled at any time due to the Covid situation, it was a bit of a stressful waiting period.

How did you prepare?

Training has been mentally hard, I couldn’t travel to a nice spot before the event. After eight months at home it’s hard to keep the motivation when all sessions look the same. So I decided to move to Montpelier to change up spots and train with Val Garat .

What was your equipment choice for the event?

The first round to the semi finals in the strong wind I was using my 8 m dice and Jaime S/L/S with straps to pull some big kite loop board offs. During the final the Wind was about 15-20 knots I was using my 10 m Evo, again with my Jaime SLS and straps. After a long time without using my boots I couldn’t take the risk to put them back on the final!

Duotone Kiteboarding French Champions

What changes were there to the event with the ongoing pandemic?

The mask was compulsory for official ceremonies but Kiteboarding being an outdoor sport there were no restrictions on the number of supporters and spectators, everyone just had to follow standard social distancing procedures.

What was the judging criteria in the Juniors competition?

The judging criteria what is the same that we are having right now on the GKA freestyle world tour. We had a pure freestyle competition, but if the wind is getting stronger than 30 knots, then you can pull out some big air tricks or some kite loops.

Congratulations Edgar, is there anyone you would like to give a shout out to?

Duotone for their support and the confidence they have in me. I would also like to thank my family for being able to be at the competition and thanks to all my friends for the motivation.

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Duotone Kiteboarding Edgar Ulrich french champion

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