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Meet the GKA team: Episode 4 - The talent behind the scoreboards

by Kate Chandler 29 Apr 18:18 BST
The talent behind the scoreboards © Svetlana Romantsova

We're here to bust the Corona blues with another episode of Meet the Team, and this week we're beginning to introduce our judges, starting with head judge Mallory de la Villemarque.

Plus: if you're a fan of Rita Arnaus, read on to find out how you can ask her your questions in our live interview coming up tonight...

What does it take to judge the performance of the best kiteboarding athletes in the world?

Born in Guadeloupe you could say that Mallory de la Villemarque was destined to be a watersports enthusiast of some sort, however it wasn't until he moved to Tarifa, the kite capital of Europe, at the age of 15 that he got into kitesurfing. In fact he got so hooked on the sport, that he was competing freestyle in the World Championships within a few years, which is every young kitesurfer's dream. However, his competition days were plagued with injury upon injury, and instead of competing, Mallory decided to focus his attention on studying:he chose Hawaii as the place to study for a degree in Management.

It was in Hawaii that the Kite-Surf discipline caught his attention, as a keen surfer it seemed like the natural progression for a kite-loving, wave fanatic and very quickly he was hooked, Kite-Surf became Mallory's passion and riding waves still is his obsession to this day. After finishing his degree Mallory decided to return to Tarifa, and it was here he took his first job in the kite industry, as a distributor for F-One.

Working as a distributor is a great way to make contacts within the kiteboarding industry, and very quickly Mallory became one of the well known faces in the Spanish kite scene. While he was working for F-One the PKRA approached Mallory to judge at events, as he knew the sport, the industry and the tour inside out from his days as an athlete he was exactly what they were looking for.

He continued working in distribution and judging on the PKRA World Tour, then realised that the world of sales was not for him and decided to invest his hard earned money into property instead. He bought a couple of apartments and started renting them out to kiters and tourists and focused on judging as a full time career.

It was at the first strapless event in Tarifa that Mallory met the GKA team and was offered a judge's position on the tour, which he happily accepted. He continued judging Freestyle, Kite-Surf and Big Air. Mallory's judging career really took off, and he soon became head judge on the GKA Freestyle Tour and now, as of the2020 season he is head judge for both Kite-Surf and Freestyle disciplines, as well as shaping the future of competitive kiteboarding through developing the GKA Rulebook with his GKA judging colleague Dani Jimenez.

As well as judging on the GKA Kite World Tour, Mallory still has his properties in Tarifa, in fact he now manages several holiday properties in the area. If you are thinking of heading to the European Kite Mecca this season, he is the guy to contact for a holiday rental. You can find more details on his business here. He does all of this while juggling family life - impressive!

Don't forget we have Rita Arnaus on Stand-By with Jo Ciastula this week. If there is something you'd like to ask Rita it's not too late to get your questions in via direct message on the GKA Instagram. On Stand-By with Jo is live on Instagram Wednesday and Sunday at 9pm CET.

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