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Martin Lark

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  1. GKA Kite World Cup Mauritius - Fina Wrap-up! Tuesday 17th September 2019 Location: Bel Ombre, Mauritius at C-Beach Club / Kite Globing After an unbelievable nine days of solid action for both the Freestyle and Kite-Surf disciplines of the GKA Kite World Tour that were competing side by side in Bel Ombre, a beautiful closing ceremony, hosted by the Heritage C-Beach Club and Kite Globing officially crowned the winners on Sunday. 1). Bel Ombre - embedded in GKA history as one of the most classic events we've seen. We will be back! The competition ran hot and heavy for nine solid days, delivering one of the tightest finishes ever in the men's Freestyle with Adeuri Corniel taking the win with the last trick of the event and by just 0.01 points over Valentin Rodriguez. Mikaili Sol recovered from a scare in her semi-final to dominate the final and increase her lead at the top of the championship. In Kite-Surf, the reef at Bel Ombre was on fire all week and we saw heroes rise up and answer the call to shine. Airton Cozzolino proved unbeatable with a phenomenally wild and powerful approach in all angles of the waves and was joined by fellow barrel hunters, James Carew and Sebastian Ribeiro on the final podium - after Ribeiro completed a massive comeback in the double elimination. In the women's Kite-Surf local heroine Ninja Ricot performed a similarly impressive climb back up through seven heats to meet Jalou Langeree in the final, but Jalou was in a different class this event. Strapless Freestyle specialist Carla Herrera-Oria was pleased to reach the podium, a result that keeps her at the top of the championship! 2). Men's Kite-Surf, left to right: 3rd Sebastian Ribeiro (BRA) / 1st Airton Cozzolino (CV) / 2nd James Carew (AUS) 3). Women's Kite-Surf, left to right: 3rd Carla Herrera-Oria (ESP) / 1st Jalou Langeree (NED) / 2nd Ninja Ricot (MRU) 4). Men's Freestyle, left to right: 3rd Liam Whaley (ESP) / 1st Adeuri Corniel (DR) / 2nd Valentin Rodriguez (COL) 5). Women's Freestyle, left to right: 3rd Bruna Kajiya (BRA) / 1st Mikaili Sol (BRA) / 2nd Rita Arnaus (ESP) SEASON STANDINGS: In Kite-Surf – leaders Airton Cozzolino and Carla Herrera maintain their leads, as does Mikaili Sol in the women’s Freestyle, but Adeuri Corniel is the new leader of the men’s freestyle division, pushing Maxime Chabloz into second, and Carlos Mario into third. Find the season rankings here. The next round for both disciplines begins in Dakhla: 4 – 8th October for Freestyle and 9 – 13th for Kite-Surf. Dakhla will be the final round for Freestyle, while the Kite-Surf riders move onto their final event at Prea in Brazil in November. WWW.GKAKITEWORLDTOUR.COM Words: Jim Gaunt Photos: Svetlana Romantsova and Ydwer van der Heide Videos: Mintautas Grigas
  2. Teenage tour leader poised to bag hat-trick of victories at KiteFoil World Series in China. 16 September 2019 1). 2019 KiteFoil World Series in Pingtan, China Slovenia’s Toni Vodisek is within touching distance of a third successive KiteFoil World Series tour stop victory after another day of breathtakingly-tight racing at the season’s penultimate event on the Yellow Sea track off eastern China’s Pingtan Island. Vodisek, 19, landed two bullets and a second in the challenging conditions, with winds gusting to 27kts over a mounting swell laced with chop, that made most competitors’ 11m kites more than a handful. But with France’s Axel Mazella on a charge and snapping at his heels, series’ leader Vodisek can afford no slip-ups in the three races of the final fifth day of the regatta, where punchy breezes and big seas will test the 27-strong mixed fleet from 13 nations to the limit. 2). 2019 KiteFoil World Series in Pingtan, China In the final fourth race on the event’s penultimate day the powerful Vodisek, on his white Ozone R1V3 kite, had led round every mark with scorchingly-quick, assured racing and looked on course for another bullet. Yet he misjudged the final bottom gate and began to gybe too soon, before thinking better of it. Mazella—who has rarely posted a finish below the top three—fell into the same trap but crashed his kite, allowing Théo de Ramecourt (FRA) through to take the bullet and third spot overall. The Pingtan regatta—with prize money $40,00—is the second of back-to-back China stops following Weifang Binhai last week. It sets the stage for the grand finale off Cagliari’s Poetto Beach, on the Italian resort island of Sardinia next month, when the men’s and women’s world champions will be crowned. 3). 2019 KiteFoil World Series in Pingtan, China Four-times International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) Formula Kite world champion, the US’s Daniela Moroz, 18, has her eyes firmly fixed on the prize and comfortably heads the women’s order in Pingtan, sitting 12th overall. On day four she continued to press the men’s fleet made up of most of the world’s fastest kitefoil racers, squeezing out a 9th place finish in the opening contest that furthered her cause. Chasing Moroz on the leaderboard is the fast-improving Max Maeder (SNG), at just 13 one of the youngest competitors, who was looking on the bright side of the monstrous conditions in Pingtan that were proving a tough test even for the best. 4). 2019 KiteFoil World Series in Pingtan, China “People are having way worse days than me,” said Maeder. “I had a good day. I got round cleanly. It’s difficult. But in Pingtan it’s about survival. Luckily I’ve been in Pingtan’s high wind conditions before. I’m just a few points behind Daniela Moroz, but she’s still too powerful for me.” But it was the enthralling competition at the head of the order that proved captivating, with any of the top-ranked men capable landing bullets even in the face of Vodisek’s dominance. Reigning Formula Kite world champion, France’s Nico Parlier, jaded and carrying illness after several weeks on the road in China, was getting closer to the blistering pace he is capable of. He earned two seconds and thirds giving him fourth overall, ahead of fellow countryman, Maxime Nocher, who suffered a shoulder injury in a spectacular crash in day three’s gnarly conditions. 5). 2019 KiteFoil World Series in Pingtan, China The pair’s fourth and fifth spots mean the French lock out four of the top five spots, with Mazella leading their order and intent on pushing to the end in the hope of overhauling a strong Vodisek, though the back-to-back competitions are taking their toll. “There are still three races tomorrow, but it will be really hard to catch [Vodisek],” said Mazella. “The conditions are really difficult here. I’m really tired. I know I can go faster, but my muscles aren't so sure. Let’s see what happens.” Top five overall after 17 races (three discards) 1 Toni Vodisek (SLO) 21pts 2 Axel Mazella (FRA) 29pts 3 Théo de Ramecourt (FRA) 42pts 4 Nico Parlier (FRA) 45pts 5 Maxime Nocher (FRA) 64pts Top five women after 17 races (three discards) 1 Daniela Moroz (USA) 147pts 2 Kirstyn O’Brien (USA) 171pts 3 Elena Kalinina (RUS) 189pts 4 Jingle Chen (CHN) 258pts 5 Valeria Garashchenko (RUS) 271pts 2019 TT:R Chinese National Championship Pingtan - Highlights Day 4 Full results: www.kitefoilworldseries.com/results
  3. Battle for honours tightens in swelling women’s ranks at KiteFoil World Series in China 15 September 2019 1). 2019 KiteFoil World Series in Pingtan, China The margins separating the top women at the penultimate stop of the KiteFoil World Series being fought out in Pingtan, east China, shrank dramatically in a clutch of breathless races in challenging conditions. But at the head of the women’s fleet, four-time Formula Kite world champion, Daniela Moroz (USA), retained her convincing lead on the third day of intense battles on the Yellow Sea track, despite dismissing her outing as ‘the worst” she had experienced. Just three leaderboard places behind her in the 35-strong mixed fleet, reigning KiteFoil world champion, Kirstyn O’Brien (USA), is locked in titanic struggle with Russia’s Elena Kalinina and just kept ahead after five races in punchy 27kts north-easterly breezes and mounting swells. 2). 2019 KiteFoil World Series in Pingtan, China While the women fought their own private battles, Slovenia’s Toni Vodisek, 19, again looked imperious snatching three bullets to help him stay top of the order despite errors, including a catastrophic crash metres from the finish line while leading in the day’s second race. France’s Axel Mazella, like most of the other men flying an 11m kite, capitalised by grabbing a bullet, and two seconds and thirds to leapfrog fellow countryman Théo de Ramecourt, closing the gap on Vodisek. Both Vodisek and Moroz, 18, head the rankings in the globe-trotting International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) 2019 KiteFoil World Series after emphatic victories in Gizzeria, Italy, in July, and at the first of back-to-back China stops, in Weifang Binhai, last week. 3). 2019 KiteFoil World Series in Pingtan, China The world champions in the “open” IKA KiteFoil tour—a developmental class with minimal restrictions to foster innovation—will be crowned next month at the season finale on the Italian resort island of Sardinia, at Cagliari’s Poetto Beach. For Moroz, unable to complete last year’s tour depriving her of a title chance, securing the KiteFoil title is a vital piece of unfinished business. Her 2019 title bid is bolstered by her current leaderboard twelfth spot in Pingtan, in a fleet stacked with the world’s fastest men. “It’s the one title I haven’t gotten,” said Moroz. “So I’m definitely looking for that one. That’s why this event and the final World Series event are my main focus. I feel comfortable in the girls’ fleet. In some races I’m looking back at the girls, but other times when I’m feeling good, I’m competitive with the men’s fleet. My main focus ultimately is to get in the top ten.” 4). 2019 KiteFoil World Series in Pingtan, China Yet with growing ranks of women kitefoil athletes, thanks to the inclusion of mixed team relay kitefoil racing in the Paris 2024 Olympics, Moroz is taking nothing for granted. Among the more intriguing prospects is the scheduled arrival of multiple former freestyle world champion, Spain’s Gisela Pulido, due to dip her toe in kitefoil racing waters at the Formula Kite European Championships in Torregrande, Sardinia, next week. The increased competition is acutely evident in the tight battle in Pingtan between O’Brien and former Formula Kite world champion Kalinina, where they sit fifteenth and sixteenth overall respectively. Both relish pitting their pace against the quickest men. “We’ve got nice wind and swell today,” said O’Brien, who finished strongly after crashing in the day’s first race and subsequently missing the second. “I’m racing against China’s Haoran Zhang and Elena Kalinina. I love being on the course with the guys. It means there’s more people to measure up against. You learn so much, seeing if they’re going for speed or angles, and what works best.” 5). 2019 KiteFoil World Series in Pingtan, China Slightly further down the order, China’s Jingle Chen, 19, got the jump on newcomer, Russia’s Valeria Garashchenko, 18. But the pair are locked together on the leaderboard when the Russian tangled her kite after a crash and missed the day’s first two races. For Chen, too, the strong breezes and rolling swell mixed with short chop, are far from the light breezes and flat seas she normally trains in. But having the world’s best come to her doorstep is an invaluable opportunity. “I’m doing better than I was earlier,” said Chen. “I’m afraid of the foil in these conditions; so different from my training. Also, in training I only have two others near me; here it’s 20 or more going very fast. I’m getting used to it. It’s great training. You also see the lines they’re taking and learn a lot—very quickly.” Top five overall after 13 races (two discards) 1 Toni Vodisek (SLO) 17pts 2 Axel Mazella (FRA) 23pts 3 Théo de Ramecourt (FRA) 34pts 4 Nico Parlier (FRA) 41pts 5 Maxime Nocher (FRA) 41pts Top five women after 13 races (two discards) 1 Daniela Moroz (USA) 115pts 2 Kirstyn O’Brien (USA) 147pts 3 Elena Kalinina (RUS) 169pts 4 Jingle Chen (CHN) 205pts 5 Valeria Garashchenko (RUS) 221pts 2019 Kitefoil World Series Pingtan - Highlights Day 3 Full results: www.kitefoilworldseries.com/results
  4. GKA Kite World Cup Mauritius: Day Nine

    Day of reckoning for Kite-Surf elite at Bel Ombre. DOUBLE ELIMINATION: ALMOST AT THE CLIMAX Saturday 14th September 2019 Location: Bel Ombre, Mauritius at C-Beach Club / Kite Globing Current discipline: Kite-Surf Judging Criteria: Pure wave – 20 minute heats / best 2 waves count from 15 possible waves Wind: Sideshore 15 – 22 knots Wave conditions: A mixed bag – clean, smackable, pitching, crumbling, big and small! Make of it what you will and grab the biggies. That’s it! Nine epic days later, two huge double eliminations complete in the men’s and women’s kite-surf division after a ragingly tight Freestyle competition earlier in the week. Here’s the story of how the two wave finals played out on the Heritage Bel Ombre reef, starting with the women’s final which was the event’s final show, finishing at just after 3pm. Scroll down for the men’s report. WOMEN’S FINAL: Jalou Langeree (NED) V Ninja Ricot (GER / MRU) Just like Sebastian Ribeiro, we saw another heroic comeback performance from Ninja Ricot in the women’s doubles today. In her seventh heat of the day (astonishingly her sixth back-to-back), Ninja (a German who has lived in Mauritius for many years) was still firing well, and volleyed up a quick pair of waves, gaining a 5.47 and 6.2, throwing a tasty 11.67 firmly into Jalou’s court. As the next set reared up, both women came in on the first wave; Ninja further upwind pulled away and let Jalou go at it, but the reigning World Champ managed just two turns causing no threat to Ninja’s tally. Jalou’s legs were clearly looking fresh, particularly coming off the top after such strong bottom turns. She was ultra fluid, kicking up a big fan of spray as she carved the board back beyond 180 towards the white water. Both these women have beautiful caving and progressive surf styles. When they throw themselves low into a bottom turn they turn just as sharply back up the face as the men. We have two of the top three women in wave kiting going head to head here (we’re missing Moona Whyte who was competing on home turf at a US event). Striking back hard on her fifth wave, Langeree was awarded with a high 7.7 and suddenly sitting on a two wave tally of 13.83. Strong. Ricot (formerly Bichler) is the island’s heroine having won two world tour events on Mauritius 2012 and 2016, had already managed a score of 13.17 against Edin a couple of hours earlier in round five and 14.1 in her single elimination heat against Jalou. (Jalou won that heat though with 15.77 from two waves, ejecting Ninja early, which is why Ninja had to fight her way up through so many double elimination rounds today). The long and short of that little narrative is that this heat was far from over… Ninja needed to only match Jalou’s 7.7 to take the lead. Jalou was scoring again, working three turns on the inside before punching out over a mini close-out to see Ninja on a big one. She reeled out one, two, three huge turns and then a fourth against the white water on the inside. Her rail was somehow just about holding on along with her legs on those last two turns – who knows how many bottom turns she made today? Somehow she then managed a tail slide at the end. That could be up in the 7s if the judges didn’t see too much of a faltering line with her tired legs. It took a while for that score to come in… it was a big moment. 6.73: just not quite enough. Jalou was getting stronger as the heat went on (this was her first heat of the day remember). Her turns were sharp and aggressive and she was shredding fluidly along the sections now. An 8.27 popped up on the livescore, a crushing blow from the world champion and she was sitting on 15.97, the highest heat score of the event. The waves continued – this set had been kind to the contest – but none of the remaining waves added to the score, despite some meaty hacks at the lip from both women. The wave count was very even, too: 13 waves to 12 in Jalou’s favour. Jalou’s tight and incisive top to bottom surfing is compact and controlled, keeping her right in the curling section all the time. Throughout the heat it’s fair to say that Ninja had the biggest hacks at the top of the biggest waves, but it was Jalou’s totally fluid, constant rail-to-rail surfing with speed and power that earned the biggest rewards from the judges. They may not have been the biggest waves in the set, but she worked them ideally to her strengths. 1). 1st Jalou Langeree 15.97, 2nd Ninja Ricot: 12.93, 3rd Carla Herrera Oria 2). Carla Herrera Oria, Jalou Langeree, Ninja Ricot RESULT: Jalou Langeree wins the GKA Kite World Cup Mauritius Kite-Surf division! 1st Jalou Langeree 15.97 2nd Ninja Ricot: 12.93 3rd Carla Herrera Oria There were other good performances in the women’s event, particularly from Aussie charger Peri Roberts who re-found her bottle and was powering through some big turn combinations and had the judges off their seats on the tower when she pulled into a solid barrel! She was swallowed hole but brave as hell. (#Peripithunter) Olivia Jenkins showed more of her true colours. Having got comfortable with the spot, the Brit who resides in Hawaii rode with more pace and power today, halted in the end, as six riders were, by Ninja. Kitesurfing Waves | Sebastian Ribeiro Wins 7 Heats in the Doubles | Day 8 | Gka Mauritius Friday 13th proved lucky for Sebastian Ribeiro. After a disappointing early exit in round two of the single elimination at the hands of James Carew, the Brazilian powered through seven heats in the double elimination and was lined up to get his revenge in his semi-final match up against Carew. Sebastian met James Carew in the men’s first heat of the day – the semi-final. The Duotone team mates went toe-to-toe, wave-for-wave in an all out back side power surfing assault. As predicted the wave count was high with a minute to go: 12 for James, 13 for Ribeiro; James ahead by a whisker. Sebastian’s surge through the double elimination finally came to a finish. He won seven heats yesterday after a disaster in the single elimination and somehow worked his way up to the podium. SEMI-FINAL RESULT: Carew wins 15.06 to 14.8 and would face single elimination winner Airton Cozzolino in another final – this time for the overall event win. Sebastian finished the event in third position. Congrats! Someone get that man a beer! 13.15 – MEN’S FINAL Buckle-up boys and girls it’s: James Carew (AUS) V Airton Cozzolino (CV) James snuck into a pitching wave on his first run, got a big cover up and managed to sneak out through a little gap in the front door. Meanwhile Airton was on the biggest wave of the day. ‘Are you kidding?’ we screamed in the media room. His wave riding is just so staggeringly powerful. Bam-bam-bam, turn after turn, huge spray at the lip every time. 7.87 first wave, 7.5 for his second. 15.37 versus James’ 9.42 after two waves. Oh yes, this final was ON! Remember, if James could beat Airton in this heat, he’d force a super final and they’d go at it again as Airton had to be beaten twice as the single elimination champion. Airton looked better able to take advantage of the ‘dirtier’ sections on his hacking frontside approach, cutting back into the wave whenever an off-the-lip wasn’t possible. James, however, was unleashing thunderous hits right at wave’s peak, battering the crumbling lip line into submission. Although he’d learnt from the single elimination final against Airton that focusing too much on chasing a barrel wasn’t a reliable strategy, he knew that if there was a sniff of a big one it needed to be his. He closed the deficit; three turns for a 6.95 brought him up to 11.7, still trailing Airton’s 15.37. James then switched his approach and started tacking back and forth in the upwind corner. He was looking for a wall with potential to throw and bailed early on a couple of waves even though they looked well set-up for multiple hits. He must have seen Airton’s combination strikes. In 17 years, I have never seen anyone bottom turn as hard and tight on their frontside as Airton. He actually comes out of his turn with more speed, rather than less, which means that his smacks at the top of the wave are simply outstanding. Pure power surfing. Eight waves in and his first two scores still remained his best, however. Airton’s the ultimate competitor. Like a world class sprinter he can power out of the blocks, start on a high and put his opponent under pressure from the start. It was a quiet few minutes for Australian Carew until he managed a 5.23, taking him up to 12.18. He worked his way all the way down a really long wave from one side of the competition box to the other but managed only three turns because there had been so much white water to evade. Wave ten for Airton was spectacular and obviously going to get a big score. An 8.83 dropped, made up of the most vertical, animalistic succession of turns and hits – perfectly at the lip every time and never out of the critical section. I hope we can show you that wave in full on the highlights video. It was absolutely incredible. Waves started to shape up bigger and right at the end of the heat James pulled in looking for the cover up once more. It didn’t happen. A minute later he got another opportunity – this time he went in and pulled out punching emphatically through the curtain. It wasn’t massive or particularly deep, but he’d found one and it was worth 8.07, bringing him up to 15.02… In the end the difference was that 8.83 wave where Airton plugged his brain directly into the main power supply of the wave and let the voltage flow through his body, charging that face as hard as any wave has ever been kited from start to finish. Total destruction. The riders were going so hard that they filled their allotted 15 wave count with five minutes left to go, so it then turned into a free session… and there were highlights! Airton banked into yet another turn, brushed his fingers in the water as he looked up and saw the chance for shade. He allowed his turn to slow and bring him up the wave where he re-set his rail, pulled in and punched through the curtain. Sadly, no score showed up on the scoreboard – it was wave 17! Once again a packed heat from these two and an absolute joy to watch: 15 counting waves each. There’s the bell. School’s out. 3). Men's podium: 1st Airton Cozzolino, 2nd James Carew, 3rd Sebastian Ribeiro RESULT: Airton Cozzolino is the Mauritius champion: 16.7 to 15.02. 1st Airton Cozzolino 2nd James Carew 3rd Sebastian Ribeiro Kitesurfing Waves Men’s & Women’s Finals | Day 9 | Gka Mauritius WWW.GKAKITEWORLDTOUR.COM Words: Jim Gaunt Photos: Svetlana Romantsova and Ydwer van der Heide Videos: Mintautas Grigas
  5. Slovenian tour leader hits top in day of drama at KiteFoil World Series’ China stop. 14 September 2019 The Slovenian teenager leading the KiteFoil World Series tour reasserted himself in formidable fashion to go top of the standings at the third stop in Pingtan, eastern China, in testing conditions. But while Toni Vodisek, 19, opened his day's account with three flawless bullets on the windward-leeward Yellow Sea track that left the world’s fastest kitefoilers in his wake, he did not have it all his own way. With his distinctive fluorescent orange helmet and board, Vodisek appeared to have the day’s penultimate fourth race in the bag, too, after leading for most of the way round the course. But he misjudged a gybe allowing France’s Axel Mazella the inside track on the last downwind leg, giving him the bullet. 1). 2019 KiteFoil World Series in Pingtan, China Worse was to come. After a mistake on the upwind leg he found himself trailing in the punchy north-easterly 18kts to 20kts breezes, but then crashed a gybe hard on the final downwind leg, an error blamed partly on a borrowed harness after his own broke earlier. Nonetheless, an ebullient but exhausted Vodisek comfortably tops the leaderboard on the second of the five-day regatta—with its purse of $40,000—which will set the stage for the climactic fourth act of the series on the Italian island of Sardinia next month when the men’s and women’s world champions will be crowned. The reigning International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) KiteFoil women’s world champion, the US’s Kirstyn O’Brien, hit her stride again in the favoured stronger breezes that match the conditions she trains in, enabling her to outpace former world champion Russia’s Elena Kalinina on the track and the leaderboard. “I finished in front of Elena [Kalinina] in every race,” said O’Brien. “These conditions are really fun for me. With the swell and being really windy, there are so many more elements. And the one important thing is learning how to keep my board when I crash. That makes a big difference.” Women’s leader, Formula Kite world champion Daniela Moroz (USA), does not usually have such problems, though she suffered an unusual disqualification for being over the the start line early in the day’s third race as she battled in the 27-strong mixed fleet, yet still sits eleventh overall. It was the powerful Vodisek’s heroics that captured the imagination, though. Riding his white Ozone R1V2 15m kite, larger than most rivals on 13m or even 11m kites, Vodisek battled to hold the kite on the upwind legs, only to “smoke” opponents with better angles and searing pace downwind and leave them trailing over the track’s two laps. 2). 2019 KiteFoil World Series in Pingtan, China “I crashed the last gybe in the last race, and it cost me,” said Vodisek. “But that’s OK. I can discard that score. I was on the 15m and finished all the races on it. Being able to hold a stronger kite really is a benefit for me. But now I want to die and go to sleep.” Slightly adrift of Vodisek, Croatia’s Martin Dolenc seemed to find his feet on day two and and moved up the order to seventh spot overall courtesy of a raft of good finishes, including a third in his opening foray. “I was on a 13m kite and it’s really powerful in these conditions,” said Dolenc. “I was a bit scared of it at first, but got used to it. I noticed the others changing down after the first race, but Toni Vodisek stayed on his 15m so I decided to stick with the 13m.” Dolenc ended the day just ahead of Ejder Ginyol (TUR), who opened his day’s reckoning with a fourth spot that helped him climb the leaderboard, keeping in the top ten. “It’s very gusty and it’s very choppy,” said Ginyol. “It’s a bit in the big boys’ territory. But it’s good and it’s fun. My aim is just to keep myself in the top ten. Let’s see what happens.” Top five overall after eight races (one discard) 1 Toni Vodisek (SLO) 12pts 2 Théo de Ramecourt (FRA) 19pts 3 Axel Mazella (FRA) 19pts 4 Maxime Nocher (FRA) 29pts 5 Nico Parlier (FRA) 31pts Top five women after eight races (one discard) 1 Daniela Moroz (USA) 69pts 2 Kirstyn O’Brien (USA) 92pts 3 Elena Kalinina (RUS) 112pts 4 Valeria Garashchenko (RUS) 134pts 5 Jingle Chen (CHN) 145pts 2019 Kitefoil World Series Pingtan - Highlights Day 2 Full results: www.kitefoilworldseries.com/results
  6. GKA Kite World Cup Mauritius: Day Eight

    Ribeiro runs riot through the men's doubles. DOUBLE ELIMINATION: ALMOST AT THE CLIMAX Friday 13th September 2019 Location: Bel Ombre, Mauritius at C-Beach Club / Kite Globing 1). Right on time all day, Ribeiro Current discipline: Kite-Surf double elimination Judging Criteria: Pure wave – 18 minute heats / best 2 waves count from 15 possible waves Wind: Sideshore 18 - 28 knots Wave conditions: Clean, but also very peaky ranging from head high to double overhead and often closing out. Demanding at times, glorious at others! 2). Sebastian Ribeiro Friday 13th! Good evening from the Heritage Resort lagoon in Bel Ombre where the men's double elimination has been rolling hot and heavy today. Friday 13th proved lucky for Sebastian Ribeiro. After a disappointing early exit in round two of the single elimination at the hands of James Carew, the Brazilian powered through seven heats in the double elimination and is lined up to get his chance at revenge: James Carew awaits the re-match tomorrow. Here's how the last heat of the day went down: 17.40pm - One more scalp to Ribeiro = 7 wins today for the Brazilian! 3). Sebastian was reading the spot like a book by the end Last heat of the day - round 8: Heat 33 Oswald Smith V Sebastian Ribeiro The sets looked strong at the start of the heat and Ozzie was the first to strike, a quick one-two combo on an uneven face; big punches from the South African. Looking on from out back Sebastian let a wave pick him up for a better view as he watched Ozzie’s form. He knew the scale of the task at hand, turned back to the horizon and letting the big wall roll on. 4). Just one chance to get it right today for Ozzie after a sublime performance to finish third in the single eliminations. Although fresh, it can be so hard to roll straight into a heat cold when the other rider is so dialled in. It's tough at the top! The Brazilian took the next wave, did his familiar foot switch, bringing his left foot forward to his favoured backside stance and dropped down. Almost immediately the wave turned into a freak, breaking towards him from both sides. He U-turned sharply to abort and just managed to drive backwards through the wave’s peak before it enveloped him. A moment later he was dropping in again, this time flowing rhythmically up and down, showing the judges his super vertical combinations, extreme in the way he positions his head down as he pivots in the lip - fins free almost every time. 5). Timing, positioning, awareness... and stamina Ozzie found a peak that pinched up oddly into a sharp triangle. He tried to pull under but had to abort, straight lining towards the reef as the face collapsed. Sebastian had two good scores of 7.27 and 6.47 which gave him a solid 13.74 / 7.37 lead. This fight for the podium still had eight minutes left. Ozzie wasn’t having any luck finding the longer more shapely rides, but remember Sebastian had been out there doing heats in the morning and then solidly since 4pm. He’d seen all states of tide and seemingly knew when to chance a run to the inside and when not to. Seven waves each with seven minutes to go. Ozzie, frontside, bailed on two waves in a row that just didn’t steepen up, he popped over the back and looked left to see Sebastian absolutely steaming in on a bomb, maximum pace - but would the peak throw over? No, he had to straight line it as it closed out behind him. Yet again the Brazilian found a good one, floated beautifully along a large stretch of white water, took a big drop and immediately banked hard, effortlessly smooth, leaving him to glide almost mechanically around yet another top turn two metres above the shallow reef. He may only have got two big turns, but it’s his approach, speed control and timing that was making these waves perhaps look more useful than they really were. 6). Sebstian took local star Willow-River Tonkin-Shakes out of the competition in round five. Willow was having the time of his life though, like always Friday the 13th, riding lucky heat number 7 of the day - all the headlines are his. He raced along one more wave near the end of the heat and pulled in beneath a lip that started pitching. For a second we thought he’d somehow exit the white water like a hero again. But no. Ozzie had a real good go on a couple at the end, but pushing super hard dropped down off a brutal lip smack and couldn’t stay on the board. Like a warrior, Sebastian put the day's final beast to bed, finding the cleanest face of the entire heat and cruised through a few lazy turns. He knew he’d done it and his legs were shot. Looking over to the rapidly dropping, golden sun, his thighs must have been burning hot. He's gonna need help to walk tonight and, once back on the beach, said in a complete daze that he'd had to massage his leg while going back upwind because it had stopped working during his last barrel attempt! Ribeiro won - 13.74 to 7.37 and will face James Carew next in the semi final on Saturday morning. 7). 19 year old Charlie Wise stood out in each of his heats in this event. There were several riders who ripped today, but the Australian is definitely a raw wave talent. Sadly for him, he came up against a rampant Ribeiro in round 3 who was dead-set on making up for lost ground in the singles SEBASTIAN'S SCALPS Round 8, heat #33: Oswald Smith Round 7, heat #32: Jan Marcos Riveras Round 6, heat #31: Pedro Matos Round 5, heat #30B: Willow-River Tonkin-Shakes Round 4, heat #29B: Jeremy Chan Round 3, heat #27B: Charlie Wise Round 2, heat #25A: Alessandro D'Ambrosio Sebastian Ribeiro Wins 7 Heats in the Wave Doubles | Day 8 | Gka Mauritius WWW.GKAKITEWORLDTOUR.COM Words: Jim Gaunt Photos: Svetlana Romantsova and Ydwer van der Heide Videos: Mintautas Grigas
  7. New order as Frenchman finds his groove at World Series’ second China stop. 13 September 2019 1). 2019 KiteFoil World Series in Pingtan, China France’s Théo de Ramecourt stole the show at the opening of the KiteWorld Series’ third act on Pingtan Island, eastern China, when he seized two bullets that were enough to get his nose in front in the standings. De Ramecourt just edged out current World Series’ leader, Slovenia’s Toni Vodisek, who looked unstoppable when he closed out the first of two back-to-back stops in China with a bravura flourish earlier in the week. Just as it appeared that Vodisek, 19, was about to continue where he had left off a few days ago in Weifang, he crashed on the last downwind leg of the opening day’s third and final race in 16kts of breeze after leading round every mark. 2). 2019 KiteFoil World Series in Pingtan, China Still, despite De Ramecourt’s much-improved performance on his Flysurfer VMG 15m kite in the tricky seas, he was only equal on points with Vodisek and held leaderboard’s top spot on scoring countbacks. Day one of the series’ penultimate stop Fujian province’s Pingtan, ahead of the final on the Italian resort island of Sardinia next month, lived up to its promise of thrillingly-close, breathtakingly-quick action on the water. So tight was the racing that none of the leading contenders in the mixed fleet of 27 athletes from 13 countries were able to dominate, each invariably slipping up with a slightly poorer finish that proved costly for their overall score. 3). 2019 KiteFoil World Series in Pingtan, China Reigning Formula Kite world champion, France’s Nico Parlier, appeared on course to post good finishes, but tripped with a poor result in the third race that left him just behind Germany’s Florian Gruber in fourth, and Axel Mazella (FRA), in third. “The first and second races were really nice, though in the end I was a little underpowered on my 13m kite against Toni Vodisek and Théo de Ramecourt going downwind,” said Mazella. “I changed to the 15m for the last race which was better, but I made some mistakes and crashed. But it was still good.” De Ramecourt was thrilled to rediscover the kind of form that he had begun to show in the closing stages of the Weifang stop after a lacklustre performance in the opening days’ exchanges. 4). 2019 KiteFoil World Series in Pingtan, China "I won two of the three races, so it's a good start. The difference is that I got my motivation back. It's super-nice to accelerate. The water's quite technical because of all the chop. As soon as you start enjoying yourself, your performance improves.” In the eight-strong women’s group competing in mixed fleet, reigning KiteFoil world champion Kirstyn O’Brien (USA) used the favoured stronger breezes effectively to overhaul rival, Russia’s Elena Kalinina, besting her in each race. But reigning Formula Kite world champion, the US’s Daniela Moroz, maintained her winning ways in the women’s fleet, taking the leaderboard’s tenth spot overall against many of the world’s fastest men. Top five men after three races (no discards) 1 Théo de Ramecourt (FRA) 7pts 2 Toni Vodisek (SLO) 7pts 3 Axel Mazella (FRA) 12pts 4 Florian Gruber (GER) 12pts 5 Nico Parlier (FRA) 20pts Top five women after three races (no discards) 1 Daniela Moroz (USA) 32pts 2 Kirstyn O’Brien (USA) 41pts 3 Elena Kalinina (RUS) 51pts 4 Valeria Garashchenko (RUS) 56pts 5 Jingle Chen (CHN) 76pts 2019 Kitefoil World Series Pingtan - Highlights Day 1 Full results: www.kitefoilworldseries.com/results
  8. GKA Kite World Cup Mauritius: Day Seven

    Jalou Langeree claims victory in the women's single elimination! SINGLE ELIMINATION: WOMEN'S FINALS AND MEN'S DOUBLES START Thursday 12th September 2019 Location: Bel Ombre, Mauritius at C-Beach Club / Kite Globing 1). Jalou led the charge at Bel Ombre Completing the women’s single elimination heats that began yesterday, we reached a well contested final between the two leading contenders who had to battle it out for the title at the final event of the season in Brazil last year. Carla Herrera Oria, a strapless freestyle specialist who is adapting to waves, and eventual 2019 title winner, Jalou Langeree, a highly respected double wave world champion who had to develop her freestyle game last year to help her over the line in winning the 2018 crown. THE WOMEN’S FINAL Jalou Langeree (NED) V Carla Herrera-Oria (ESP) Eight minutes and four waves into the heat, Jalou had a best two wave score of 13.53, already higher than Carla had managed so far in the competition, so with the pressure off to some extent, as is the case when you relax, the waves seemed to come to her. Every approach back in to the reef she seemed to be able to pick the faces that would hold up best and demonstrated to the judges her flowing and fluid style, repeatedly letting her fins loose during her top turn. 2). Carla Herrera-Oria, getting into her groove in waves Carla, however, it must be said is much improved in waves, but reaching the final here is a solid bonus for her in terms of the championship – which she leads through her excellent strapless freestyle results at other events. The Spaniard put everything into this heat having made it this far, careering down from the lip, turning back up and leaving her turns as late as she could at the top, dropping steep and then banking hard again. Her seventh wave gave her a 5.47, pushing her up to 9.47 overall, still chasing down Jalou’s 13.53 that she maintained from waves two and four neat the start of the heat. Six minutes remained… eight waves to seven registered, with Carla bagging most. That didn't matter though; just the two best scores count. 3). Jalou letting the tail loose Jalou chased all her waves in close and seemed more comfortable when engaging repeatedly with the lip. There have been fewer big waves so far in the final, but with four minutes left a new set came in. Jalou faded right into the foam giving herself more of an open face and then attacked, managing just two turns though before hopping over the back early to ensure she’d still have time to catch one of the remaining waves in the set. Carla did the same. 4). Jalou burning turns in front of the judges' platform at the reef Seconds later Jalou was being escorted in on a clean wall. She held her rail, waited for the lip to feather, cut up and turned right underneath the lip… safe and secure… she dropped in again and smacked the lip once more before the entire 30 yard section to her left boomed shut as the section closed out. The set’s end was looming, as was the heat, and Jalou had picked another growing lump. Obviously coming hard off the top she kicked up a big fan of spray beyond the mass of white water on the wave in front of her that we were having to peer over. She repeated the process on her next turn so there was no mistaking the calibre of her control. Bang-tidy, she looked good. One minute left and the scores were still 13.53 v 9.47. Closeout followed closeout for the next 30 seconds; both women had wisely managed to not chase those ones in. Jalou made three turns on what was surely her last wave, but behind Carla was frantically outrunning a massive wall of white water. As the wave took form she started an evenly timed assault, managing only two turns before the shallows sent the wave into meltdown. In the end it wasn’t enough. Jalou had done it! 5). The finalists unite WOMEN’S SINGLE ELIMINATION FINAL RESULT: 1st Jalou Langeree wins the women’s single elimination: 13.53 2nd Carla Herrera takes second: 9.47 6). Jalou Langeree, leading lady WOMEN’S MINI-FINAL Sophia Abreu (BRA) V Maria Kinkina (BUL) 7). Sophia Abreu almost had third position in her grasp in this her first ever competition Battle of the newcomers proved a pretty stylish affair with both riders cutting clean and repeated hacks down the line. The scores were really tight throughout, but in the end, and probably fair on balance from what we saw throughout the whole single elimination, Kinkina snuck her way ahead of the Brazilian onto the last step of the podium at her first GKA event! Look out for these two ladies over the coming months. They’ve taken their surfing abilities into kiting and with some more competition experience, we hope to see them challenging Jalou in the wave stakes more closely soon! MINI FINAL RESULT: 3rd place women’s single elimination: Maria Kinkina (BUL) 6.7 4th place women’s single elimination: Sophia Abreu (BRA) 6.33 8). Bulgarian Maria Kinkina 9). Women's single elimination Kite-Surf result, left to right: 4th Sophia Abreu, 3rd Maria Kinkina, 1st Jalou Langeree, 2nd Carla Herrera-Oria Prior to all that, the day was still young when we were gifted an early treat and in a different heat draw fate, if these two hadn’t met in round three, Jalou V Ninja could have easily been the final. QUARTER FINAL 1 Jalou Langeree (NED) V Ninja Ricot (MRU / GER) When you come to Mauritius, you always have to beat Ninja Ricot if you want to win the crown. Formerly Ninja Bichler, she was the 2016 GKA Kite-Surf World Cup Mauritius Champion and the 2012 winner when the KSP ran the tour here, so is the undisputed queen of waves on this island. 10). Jalou and Ninja - maximum respect The first six waves for each rider seemed to rush by in this heat, it was action packed. With seven minutes remaining the score was 15.54 to 14.1 in Jalou’s favour. If Ninja could get one more 7 point score to match Jalou’s 2 x 7s, she’d be right there. Jalou slotted her highest score of 7.8 on her ninth wave after a steady and consistent barrage of great scores, mostly over the 6.5 mark throughout. Ninja wasn’t far behind on the scoreboard, but her points for each individual wave were some way below those of Jalou’s. With just two waves counting though, things can change quickly, so the heat remained close with three minutes left on the clock: 15.77 for Jalou and 14.1 to Ninja. 11). Ninja and Jalou trading waves At the end of the heat the wave count was 14 to Jalou and 12 to Ninja – a high standard and second only to themselves in their previous heats on day six. Jalou commented that this was one of the best heats of her career – lots of respect between these two. Jalou won and went through to the semi-finals: Score - 15.77 Ninja will return in the double eliminations coming over the next couple of days: Score - 14.1 12). Jalou and Ninja heading back upwind to the launch at Bel Ombre MEN’S DOUBLES The men’s doubles resumed on completion of the women’s singles, starting with the riders who were ejected first in the single elimination and given the chance to re-enter the competition with a large list of competitors in front of them. As before, they'd ride in 20 minute man-on-man heats. 13). One of the tour's top performers this year, Simon Joosten from Barbados, advanced past and knocked out South Africa's infamous big air merchant, Josh Emmanuel The double elimination ladder continues like that, with riders having to advance through several rounds before they can reach the top finishers from the single elimination. Eventually the ladder narrows to become a simple case of the winner staying on the water to meet the next best rider from the singles, until someone is eventually left to face yesterday's winner, Airton Cozzolino, who already waits in the final. 14). Willow, emerging dramatically from a superb barrel, and then loading up another special move moments later - check the GKA Socials tomorrow for the flossing action - well, we can't let him get away with that one, eh?! The day ended with the last shred of usable light, a golden sunset glimmering across the water as local rider Willow-River Shakes-Tonkin emerged from a long, deep barrel, earning a 9.07. We've seen similar barrels get a fraction higher towards a perfect 10, but rather than continue to work the remaining wall of the wave, Willow decided that it was a moment worthy of letting go of the bar and swinging his hands by his side - rocking the floss manoeuvre. Willow is a man who lets his emotions lead him, but his instincts to pull high and slip in and out of that tube have propelled him into round 3 of the double elimination, beating Louis Marvin, another local. Women's Single Elimination Final Waves | Day 7 | Gka Mauritius The action continues tomorrow, skippers for the riders is at 09.00 (GMT +4) WWW.GKAKITEWORLDTOUR.COM Words: Jim Gaunt Photos: Svetlana Romantsova and Ydwer van der Heide Videos: Mintautas Grigas
  9. Red Bull King of the Air is back – the most prestigious big air kiteboarding contest in the world – is undergoing a revamp for 2020 and now is your chance to get your entry in. 1). Aurélien Pétreau performs during the Red Bull King of the Air in Cape Town, South Africa on February 6, 2019 Photographer Credit: Ydwer van der Heide / Red Bull Content Pool “All the changes are aimed at giving a wider range of riders – both pro and amateur – a shot at competing,” explained Sportive Director, Sergio Cantagalli. “Extreme Big Air Kiteboarding has grown into a fully fledged discipline globally, which, after seven editions, gives us the opportunity to offer something fresh in terms of format,” he said. The new format will see an increased number of participants in the event through a qualification round, and there will be no gender preferences. Kiteboarders who think they have what it takes to compete in with the world’d best aerialists in an extreme air contest, are invited to submit a one-minute video of their biggest airs to redbullkingoftheair.com. Entries are open to any riders, male or female, from anywhere in the world. 2).Red Bull King of The Air Event Format © Red Bull The deadline for submissions is 15 November 2019. From these, the event committee will select the top 14 clips. These riders will then earn a spot in the official qualification round. This will take place at a floating Cape Town venue that providing the best conditions somewhere between 24 and 31 January 2020. Four wildcards will join the 14 invitees in a Dingle format (repecharge) event. The top six riders from this event will then go on to compete against the six top finishers from 2019 in the Red Bull King of the Air main event at Kite Beach, Cape Town. The weather window for the main event will be 1 to 16 February 2020 “Reducing the Main Fleet from 18 to 12 riders will allow us to concentrate the core part of the event in for a pure-adrenaline, extreme kiteboarding showcase,” said Cantagalli. “This event is unique in that it is in continued evolution with the input of the riders and the judges it is always our aim at improving it,” he added. According to Cantagalli, the judging panel are looking for video clips featuring big, completed, aerials. “The judges must clearly be able to see the potential of the rider". EVENT DATES AND CONTEST WINDOWS 23 Jan: Qualifier’s registration day 24 - 31 Jan: Qualifying rounds open window 31 Jan: Finalist’s registration day + opening ceremony 01 - 16 Feb: Main event open window (16 days / 3 weekends) REDBULL.COM/RED-BULL-KING-OF-THE-AIR-2020 Words: RedBull Photographer Credit: Ydwer van der Heide / Red Bull Content Pool
  10. GKA Kite World Cup Mauritius: Day Six

    Cave man CarewIt is what it is... and today it was spectacular! MEN'S SINGLE ELIMINATION: THE FINALS Wednesday 11th September 2019 Location: Bel Ombre, Mauritius at C-Beach Club / Kite Globing 1). Oswald Smith 2). Graham Harney The reef builds steeply from the ocean floor here at Bel Ombre and as such sometimes struggles to allow a big swell to steadily pitch. The abrupt nature of this reef’s shape can really jack up a smaller swell though, and today’s reduced ocean pulses made powerful contact with the shallow coral structure to produce superb, clean, mid-to-large waves over the reef. Conditions continued to deliver all day, inspiring some outstanding performances – high skills were richly rewarded. 3). Open sesame - Airton kindly rings the doorbell and waits for an invitation We re-joined the men’s single elimination with two heats still to complete in round two, between Kiko Roig Torres and Jeremy Chan, and then Airton Cozzolino versus Graham Carney. Airton started the day fully charged from the get-go at 09.30am. The head-high to double overhead cross-shore conditions looked to suit him down to the ground. Some people had been commenting that perhaps this wouldn’t be his event as there are better pure kite’surfers’ here than him, and that sometimes he’s a bit too aggressive with his kite when judges are looking for a pure surf style, but all that went out of the window when faced with a reef that demanded respect in order to avoid the eventual big close-outs. 4). Upper cut, square on the jaw, the wave faltered under Airton's attack Airton, however, showed no respect and went at his heats like an animal uncaged. Fearless and fast, his pin-point accuracy and incredible ability to read every section perfectly was foreboding for any competitor. In beating Graham Harney, the double World Champion from Cape Verde found himself lined up against local rider Jeremy Chan, who had famously knocked Cozzolino out at the same round three stage of this competition in 2016 (giving Matchu Lopes enough of an opportunity to take full advantage, winning that event, and eventually the 2016 Championship by the smallest of margins later in the year). To say he had been looking forward to revenge was probably an understatement. 5). Jeremy Chan - looking for the barrel to upset Airton's path once more! James Carew was continuing his own no-holds-barred approach on his backside, saying that he felt that the size and form of today’s wave suited his radical driving turns and know-no-limits barrel hunting. Event MC this time (through shoulder injury) Matchu Lopes says, “He’s powerful, radical, always positive – he’s full-send all the time; success or failure. Whether he’s ill or injured, it doesn’t matter, he’s a powerhouse that takes a huge force to take down.” (James picked up an ankle strain when training earlier in the week, and looked to be limping a bit still on the beach – watching him on the water, you wouldn’t know, though). 6). Cave man Carew The Australian came through a tight backside heat against his team mate Pedro Matos. Up next was Oswald Smith who had just ejected Mitu Monteiro, lying second in the Championship. A surprise? Depends on your perspective. South African Smith doesn’t do the whole tour and was riding fast and loose, having already reached the quarter finals of the twin-tip Freestyle earlier in the week and now in his preferred discipline was looking very dangerous, totally at home hacking waves on his front hand, nothing to lose, grabbing a nice cover up barrel on his way past Mitu. 7). James and Ozzie - at it, hell for leather for 20 minutes 8). Look at me! Commanding attention - the judges had a tough job on today SEMI-FINAL 01: Carew V Smith was one of the most thrilling heats of the day, packed with solid rides. 8.9 and 7.73 were James’ best two scores out of a haul of 13 wave attempts; the most we’d seen piled into a heat so far. Ozzie wasn’t far behind on ten waves, with a 7.3 high score of his own, but the super powerful Australian backsider confirmed his almost sure destiny of making it to the final, such has been the consistent calibre of his heat performances here so far. 9). Carew - backside verticality - a skill honed in 'Straya, employed against the best Back on Airton’s side of the draw, in his quarter final re-match with Jeremy Chan there were no close calls. Having scored a 9.7 on his seventh wave, Airton hooked onto another big swell for wave eight. Dropping in he carved incisively back up, turned sharply at the top, stalled and then hit the gas full bore into a sick barrel, punched through the curtain, but no need to adjust – his weight was perfect – he went straight into another powerful bottom turn, detonated the lip, air dropped back into the wave, made another two turns and kicked out, shaking his hand by his side and looking up to the sky with thanks. He knew how rad that was… did the judges? Yes they did – 10 POINTS. Airton went on to overcome Jan Marcos Riveras in the semi-final, who had performed with his usual composed and clinical wave attack, but just couldn’t hang on to Airton’s coat tails this time. THE FINAL Airton Cozzolino (CV) V James Carew (AUS) The wave size, structure and power were perfectly suited for these two to put everything into their performances. Airton charging frontside / James hacking on his back hand – this would be one to savour. Right at the start Airton dropped in and James followed suit on the big wave following directly behind; the two white Duotone’s marching down-the-line together. Airton turned first, super fast, careering out of his bottom turn propelling maximum speed to the lip… one, two, three times he battered the peeling peak, squeezing everything out of every wave. James couldn’t match him on that one. Most waves in the first few minutes were at least head-high while some way beyond. 10). Meaty sections James knew how much success he’d had chasing barrels (he scored a 9.5 doing so in his first heat of the competition way back on day one). A few minutes into the heat his intentions were clear, fading in once, then twice, he found the pitch he wanted third time on the huge face, held his line, entered a cavernous pit… but didn’t come out. Reflective of Airton’s fully armoured approach, on one wave Airton found white water closing in behind and in front of him when the face became seemingly affected by two different swell directions. He eyed the point of impact and dissected both waves straight down the middle – a dagger to the snarling dragon’s heart. He’s just so compact and powerful; a warrior with unshakable energy and determined to take the iron throne. Time and again both riders pulled in at the first hint of a throwing lip, but it wasn’t yielding fruit. James continued to pick bombs and switched up his approach, gouging gnarly bottom turns and launching himself at the lip, however couldn’t quite make the hefty air drops back down when the throwing wave pitched him forward. Airton, meanwhile, found more consistency in his own big off-the-tops (favourably frontside) successfully landing at pace back into the wave. 11). It was always coming in the final - Airton Just after halfway through the 20 minute heat James started to come back, pulling the deficit back to just three points. But, almost inevitably, Airton pulled in to a section and emerged from the whitewater. A head flick to clear his vision he banked straight into another turn, sliding his fins out on the wave’s white water coping. He had that look of confidence that we’ve seen so often. With eight minutes left neither rider had scored more than a seven point ride in the final, and the best two wave score was standing at 14.33 / 11.3 in Airton’s favour. On his eighth trick, James poached a 6.8 score, suddenly it was tighter: 14.33 – 13.83. Airton managed to lock into a big one just seconds later, it looked good but he had to do one massive turn around a white section and then it all closed out. No change in scores. The frontside / backside competition has been pretty even through the entire single elimination competition, but in the end Airton was able to impress the judges with just a few more moments of flair, showing his comfort in repeatedly letting his tail loose at the top of the wave, something James was limited by a little more on his back hand. Airton also managed to find the waves that held up for longer, nailing five turns on his last wave, rewarded with a 7.93. There would be one last gasp attempt from the Australian when James had pulled almost level with a 7.4, but alas, it just wasn’t enough and visually, in terms of his constantly dynamic approach, Airton deserved the win despite the close scoreline. However, competition is what it is – and here it’s the best two waves that count. James oh so nearly had him. FINAL SCORE Airton: 15.16 James: 14.43 12). James and Airton with GKA tour manager, Tom Hartmann MINI-FINAL Ozzie grabbed the last podium position in the mini-final against Jan Marcos Riveras. Ozzie’s wave attack was tight and constantly in the pocket. Jan Marcos continued to find size out the back, but Ozzie is just so explosive when he comes off the bottom: bam – always huge spray punching right under the lip. He found a few golden moments towards the end and pushed Jan Marcos off the podium. 13). High times for Ozzie The South African is surely the most all-round competitive rider in the sport right now (he also competed in world tour slalom racing in the past, currently competes in the King of the Air and finished runner-up at the MegaLoop Challenge this summer). #skillhogger SINGLE ELIMINATION STANDINGS 1 Airton Cozzolino (CV) 2 James Carew (AUS) 3 Oswald Smith (RSA) 4 Jan Marcos Riveras (DR) 14). The boys of Bel Ombre The women’s event also got underway today, reaching the end of round two. Find the results on the Kite-Surf event page, and a full wrap coming tomorrow on completion of their round. 15). Jalou Langeree is off to a great start in the women's singles Men's Singles Final | Day 6 | Gka Mauritius The action continues tomorrow, skippers for the riders is at 09.00 (GMT +4) WWW.GKAKITEWORLDTOUR.COM Words: Jim Gaunt Photos: Svetlana Romantsova and Ydwer van der Heide Videos: Mintautas Grigas
  11. Wave Event On – GKA Mauritius Day 5

    Time for Barrels at Bel Ombre! MEN'S SINGLE ELIMINATION: ROUNDS ONE AND TWO Tuesday 10th September 2019 Location: Bel Ombre, Mauritius at C-Beach Club / Kite Globing 1). GKA Kite World Cup Mauritius - Wave Event After an enthralling day of Freestyle final action on Monday, we switched back to the continuation of the Kite-Surf discipline, with the men’s single elimination out on the reef behind the Heritage Lagoon in Bel Ombre. There were some really big waves coming through, challenging the reef to hold up the faces as long as possible. It took a while for most riders to build their confidence through the 20 minute heats in these shallow waters, working their way up and down the big marauding faces. 2). Charlie Wise Francesco Capuzzo won his first heat this morning and was the first rider to update us on how the conditions really felt: “The wind is shifting a bit, but okay and the waves are quite big, though closing out occasionally. If you pick the right one it’s fun because they’re between two and three metres on the face.” The waves continued to beat in, holding form and size before becoming playable, steeper and quicker for the final 40 metre sections. The predictability of the foam, breaking left to right as we looked at it seemed consistent – but for the riders it was difficult to manage the moment to either start linking turns, or delay until the time to pull the pin, take a high line and try to thread the barrel. Jeremy Chan, a local rider, infamous for having knocked Airton Cozzolino out of the competition in 2017, once again used his local knowledge to show the judges how to really work a wave all the way to the inside. 3). Airton - fanging it When Airton Cozzolino entered the competition in heat 8A, suddenly the waves looked different; somehow more approachable and easier to read. They weren’t, but judge Torrin Bright commented to me that his extreme mastery to maintain line tension wherever he is on the wave, whether punching the lip and dropping back in from three metres up, or gouging the hell out of a bottom turn, is testament to just how many hours that man spends on the water in his life. It’s more than anyone I’ve seen. 4). Ready to thread the needle He was the first rider to go full throttle for a barrel, getting covered up for at least 15 metres; sadly not coming out, but his lines sliced the cascading lip sharply for several seconds and drew whoops from the judging tower. Aggression, high wave count and an extremely varied wave attack; his opponent Bart Labonne is a solid rider, and must have rued drawing Airton first round. Who doesn’t? 5). GKA Kite World Cup Mauritius - Wave Event 6). GKA Kite World Cup Mauritius - Wave Event Elsewhere young guns Pedro Matos and Charlie Wise had a close backside / frontside battle. Brazilian Matos focussed more on trying to catch the bigger waves further upwind / deeper, obviously seeing an advantage with steady drawn out, smooth carves, while Charlie was very athletic on his front hand, working the smaller sections downwind, getting lots of turns on the inside. Matos took it by a whisker. 7). James Carew discovers a cave The highlight of the day came in heat 9A: a battle between Duotone team mates, both backsiders; James Carew and Sebastian Ribeiro. James’ wave count was not only high, but expertly selected – and he scored an outstanding 9.5 for a very deep barrel. Brave! Somehow Sebastian’s wave selection just never panned out, whether it was down to wrong position, poor luck, or James just being a wave magnet… 8). Carew Covered in glory - 9.5 Oswald Smith (also reached the quarter finals in Freestyle yesterday) recovered in his heat against Reece Myerscough after putting his kite in the drink on his first wave and then taking ten minutes trying to relaunch it in the strong current. In the end James Carew was still hanging around the reef to watch the action and kited over to swap kites with Ozzy. With five minutes left in the heat Ozzy found advantage being frontside compared to Reece’s backside approach and seemed more comfortable in that stance on these waves, linking several turns on a few waves, managing to catch a biggish one too. 9). Mitu Monteiro knew when to change his game Last heat of note, local shredder Willow-River Tonkin-Shakes versus the maestro Mitu Monteiro. Both locked into a full-on barrel hunt, catching great walls of water out back, knowing the reward for a barrel could be enough to win a heat with a single wave. They each had lots of attempts, but in the end realised the hunt wasn’t proving successful (but was nevertheless respectable!), so registered a late flurry of turns, with Mitu proving he had the upper hand. HEAT RESULTS FROM DAY 5 R2 HEAT 12 – HEAT POSTPONED Kiko Roig Torres (ESP) V Jeremy Chan (MRU) R2 HEAT 11B (W) Jan Marcos Riveras (DR) 3.69 V Raoni Lemos (BRA) 2.13 R2 HEAT 11A (W) Francesco Cappuzzo (ITA) 6.83 V Nicola Abadjiev (BUL) 6.13 R2: HEAT 10B (W) Mitu Monteiro (CV) 10.74 V Willow River Tonkin (MRU) 6.17 R2: HEAT 10A (W) Oswald Smith (RSA) 8.27 V Reece Myserscough (CAN) 6.53 R2: HEAT 9B (W) Pedro Matos (BRA) 12.17 V Charlie Wise (AUS) 11.4 R2: HEAT 9A James Carew (AUS) 15.83 V Sebastian Ribeiro (BRA) 10.07 R1: HEAT 8B: (W) Graham Harney (CAN) V Jorn Donat (GER) R1: HEAT 8A: (W) Airton Cozzolino (CV / ITA) V Brendan Labonne (MRU) R1: HEAT 7B: (W) Jeremy Chan (MRU) V Toni Cilliberto (ITA) R1: HEAT 7A: (W) Kiko Roig Torres (ESP) V Alessandra D’Ambrosio (RSA) R1: HEAT 6B: Raoni Lemos (BRA) V Luke Millard (AUS) R1: HEAT 6A: (W) Jan Marcos Riveras (DR) V Daniel Kux (MRU) R 1: HEAT 5B: (W) Nicola Abadjiev (BUL) V Roderick Pijls (NED) R1: HEAT 5A: (W) Francesco Capuzzo (ITA) V Louis Marvin (MRU) Kitesurfing Wave Action Compilation | Day 5 | Gka Mauritius WWW.GKAKITEWORLDTOUR.COM Report: Jim Gaunt Photos: Ydwer van der Heide Videos: Mintautas Grigas
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