Victory for Valentin

Duotone Kiteboarding Valentin Rodriguez World Champion

They say timing is everything. If it’s meant to happen and you’re really ready, it will come. Well, VALENTIN RODRIGUEZ, it must be your time.

Over the years, young Val has been waiting in the wings, looking for the right moment to take centre stage and secure the future of freestyle. The Ceara Kite Pro marked the final stop on the GKA Freestyle World Championship and Val’s time to shine.

Duotone Kiteboarding Valentin Rodriguez World Champion
Duotone Kiteboarding World champion Valentin Rodriguez

“A month before the competition I had a feeling that I’d never experienced before. I was super concentrated and calm, with two possible outcomes of 2nd or 1st place. I needed to figure out how both would affect my life.

In the beginning I had no expectations, but I had the chance to make something happen in the semis. I thought; ‘I have to be first, I want to be first and many people want me to be first.”

The semi final heat started well with good scores, but I crashed three tricks in a row. It was hard. I knew that I had to land an 8 point trick before the flag went up. I went for it and everything came together. I think it was my time. The finals are still a blur!”

Thanks to the incredible live streaming and global interaction provided by the GKA to the international kiteboarding community, Val’s performance and huge entry onto the international stage was watched by all and supported by many, including Duotone’s Aaron Hadlow.

An icon in the evolution of freestyle with numerous world titles to his name, Hadlow has pushed the limits of freestyle performance for over a decade. Continuing to inspire the next generation he’s played a fundamental part in the development of equipment such as the Duotone Vegas and Hadlow TS board.

Duotone Kiteboarding Valentin Rodriguez World Champion

What are your thoughts on young gun, Valentin’s performance in Brazil?


I was watching the live stream during the finals of the final stop on the 2019 GKA Freestyle World Championship in Prea, Brazil. Having seen how Valentin was riding previously, I was quite sure his performance would be exceptional but there was a lot going on that could effect him mentally.

He got off to the perfect start with two amazing tricks that had big scores, but then there was a long break. When you are full of adrenaline and on a roll like that, it can be really hard to come back with the same feeling.

By overcoming this hurdle, Valentin showed that he was also mentality prepared by starting again and finding another big score. In the end it came down to his last trick that would secure the win and take it out of anyones else’s reach.

I’ve been there myself and it’s a really high pressure situation. I was really proud of how he handled it and happy he came through. There is no better feeling!”

Duotone Kiteboarding Aaron Hadlow
Duotone Kiteboarding Valentin Rodriguez TS Hadlow 2020

Aaron, you’ve trail-blazed the freestyle discipline on a world class level for over a decade. How does it feel to see the next generation step up to the plate?


Seeing the level increase so much in a short amount of time is great. I felt like it was kind of stagnant for a while but since a few new, fresh faces have come in to the industry we have really seen the technical difficulty increase. This year especially, the quality of the tricks from the likes of Valentin, Liam (Whaley) and a few others is really nice to see.”

Valentin chose to ride the 2020 Duotone Hadlow TS and Vegas. How do these designs and setup suit his style of riding?


“I am really happy to see Valentin doing so well and choosing to ride a board and kite I’ve put so much time and development into over the years. The Hadlow TS is perfect for his size and weight, it’s the ultimate board for him.

Valentin is pulling huge tricks with heavy landings and there are certain features in the design specifically for that. 

The flex pattern is relatively stiff and delivers massive pop. The channels can handle big landings, which I would say are most important aspect for him right now; something that accompany his smooth style in the trick.”

Duotone Kiteboarding Valentin Rodriguez World Champion
Duotone Kiteboarding World Champions Valentin and Mikaili

What are your thoughts on the future of freestyle ?


I always wonder what else can be done. But at the moment, it’s really about the execution of these tricks. It goes in stages of who can do the new best trick, then it comes to a point where a lot of people are doing them and it is about who is doing them best -  this has happened many times in the past and is happening again with 720 and 900 handlepass. I am curious to see what happens next.”


“It’s a distant memory since a pretty much unknown teenage rider has created such a buzz in their first World Championship season… never mind coming and winning the thing at their first attempt. Val is special and exhibits an incredibly powerful riding style that seems unbelievable from such a slightly framed 17-year-old. Who knows what he’ll be capable of as he gets stronger and stronger over the coming seasons. Hopefully he’ll always keep the smile he’s been riding with all season though, ever since storming his way to the podium at the first event of the season. “Hello Colombia!



319 scoring: 8.97

Slim 9 scoring: 9.27

KGB7 scoring: 9.43

Heart attack 7 scoring: 9.63

Duotone Kiteboarding World Champion Valentin Rodriguez Team Series Hadlow 2020

Podium quotes:

Liam: “Congrats to Val for winning a world title at 17. This event has been amazing. I’d like to have been on the top step, but this event has still been amazing.”

Adeuri: “It was a really good fight, but Val is super good. But coming to this event in first was great and let’s kick some ass next year.”

Val: “I have no words now to explain. I just want to thank Duotone and everyone who is supporting me now and I’m looking forward to sending it even more!”

Choice of the World Champion Valentin Rodriguez

Rodriguez Wins World Freestyle Title #TEAMTALK

Rodriguez Wins World Freestyle Title #TEAMTALK