This year, all the spotlights in the kite world were on the French Big Air competition, Lords of Tram. The event had already been a success in previous editions, but this year, the organizers brought many new features for a considerable qualitative leap. The competition was differentiated by a waiting period of one month, to be able to benefit from the best conditions and to have a show worthy of a stage of the BAKL, a new spot, the one of Barcarès, a generous service, food, and accommodation for all the staff and the riders present, and live streaming of the competition.

This year our founder, Simone TIMPANO (Simo), was at the event and back again as a judge.
Here are his reflections…

What does Lords of Tram represent for you this year?

Taking part as a judge in this year’s Lords of Tram’s edition is like completing a process that started 4 years ago when, alongside Tristan, I saw this project grow.

The first years, there was a lot of work to do and there were only a few of us to do it all. So much involvement to support an ambitious project that Tristan already had in mind.
And, as a friend, I was happy to help and support a discipline that I love and an event that I have been involved in since the beginning.

It’s amazing to see where we have ended up after four years.

Has the event evolved much since the beginning?

I remember the first year we had a south wind instead of a north wind, which was strange enough.
It was raining, and we were taking cover under our table to judge, with papers flying all over the place.

It was the beginning, the budget was tight, but the desire to do well was great.

At the time, I could already see the potential. The wind was not the most favorable, but Tristan had managed to organize many side activities and all the people involved were very happy. Moreover, there was no lack of entertainment, even if we didn’t manage to get a result.

Then, year after year, the competition took shape and this edition was the apotheosis of success.

Ride Lords of Tram 2022
Judges Lords Of Tram 2022

What does it mean to judge the Lords of Tram?

Lords of Tram has become a major competition on the international level, hosting the best riders in the world.

The judging format is the one I prefer: the athletes jump one after the other and it is possible to concentrate on each trick.
The competition goes fast, because the time needed depends on the wind. So the focus is permanent and the work is intense.

To judge such an event, it is necessary to know the moves, their difficulty, and to analyze their execution in order to establish which one, overall, deserves the best note.

The level is phenomenal and it’s often a matter of feeling, because it all comes down to a few hundredths of a point.

To judge this year, we had to find the right balance between feeling and analysis.

How did you experience the competition?

When judging, it’s good to be clear and tell the riders what is expected from them. And this year, everything went well because we were an experienced team and everything was well planned.

There was a race director who ensured that the heats, the timing and the speech to the competitors ran smoothly.
There was a chief judge to check the consistency of the scores (we always do a review at the end of each heat) and to make important decisions like “flag out” if the rider took too long to jump.
And 4 judges, including me. We know each other very well and the communication between us runs easily.

In addition, the organization built us a 5* hut for judging, which was ideal for being isolated from the crowd, having a good view of the competition area and being able to stay focused.

Next year judge or coach?

I consider myself a thoughtful person, I don’t like to do things superficially. Judging means understanding the core of the competition, the evolution of the moves and the technicality they require.

But most of these qualities come from my passion for teaching and coaching. Analyzing my students on the spot, reviewing and re-reviewing their videos and trying to figure out the best hints to improve is what I’m most passionate about.

Hours spent in front of the videos to understand each maneuver, technique and complexity. Identifying the details that can make the difference, and the weaknesses of each rider.

The two jobs are similar in some ways.
But between the two, my heart goes out to coaching because it has the most gratifying outcome.
In judging, the goal is to define which of two people is better.
In coaching, the goal is to develop the athlete involved, technically and beyond. In coaching, there is a human synergy that drives me more than anything else.

So next year, I don’t know… I rarely plan every detail of my life, we will see what the possibilities are and I will make my choice at the last minute!

Your last word about Lords of Tram 2022

Lords of Tram represents to me the gathering of “friends” ready to fight for a common cause, the love of big air kitesurfing and the will to support a beautiful and ambitious project.

Lords of Tram is like a second home to me. I’ve watched it grow and I’ve never missed an edition. The team and the volunteers who help out have been more or less the same since the beginning. Tristan has had a great ability to federate and build a team that works together with passion.

Moreover, Lords of Tram was a springboard for some riders, (remember that the second year the 3 French riders on the podium were selected for the RED BULL KING OF THE AIR) and a way to give visibility and prestige to Big Air and more generally to Kitesurfing, in France and internationally.

So, see you next year and don’t miss the news of LORDS OF TRAM because many things are still in preparation… follow the development of the project on the social networks.

Long life to Lords of Tram.


Photos and Video by @victor.janjic & ZoumProd.