Champion at Copa Kitley GKA Hydrofoil-Freestyle Kite World Cup Brazil
for editorial use only – credits Copa Kitley GKA Hydrofoil-Freestyle Kite World Cup
With so much at stake for numerous competitors, the final day of the Qatar Airways GKA Kite-Surf 2023 calendar was set to provide drama, tension, and excitement for both riders and fans beachside but also, around the globe.
Both Airton Cozzolino (ITA) and Moona Whyte (USA) will cast their names once again on the World Championship by concreating their victories in the semi-finals. With Matchu Lopes (ESP) missing out on a final spot after losing to Gabriel Benneton (BRA), all Airton had to do was beat his teammate and also World Title contender, Pedro Matos (BRA) in his semi-final. Although Matos just edged it in the waves, Cozzolino threw down the hammer with a huge 8.60 Shifty Front Side 3 which was enough to cross the line and take the World Title. The Italian, coming out of Cabo Verde, had his game face on all day and had work to do, because, Pedro’s waves scored both a 7.33 and 6.20, whereas Airton had a 6.20 and 6.40. The big 8.60 for that freestyle maneuver was essential in snapping up the title. Coming straight off his World Championship crown, Airton Cozzolino faced a tough battle against first-time finalist, Gabriel Benneton. The two riders were going blow for blow as the seesaw was swinging from one to the other. Airton opened up with a 5.70 wave with Gabriel answering back a 5.40. Following this Airton caught another good set and managed to have two wave scores counting, with the second a 6.57. Benneton had other ideas. A 9.07 Double Front Shove it got the crowd screaming. From this, he now led the final and put pressure on the Italian. Airton’s competition experience then kicked as he obliterated a monster Shifty Frontside 3 which scored a near-perfect 9.50. Gabriel’s second score, a 6.60 Double Frontroll, was not enough to push back into the lead and as time ticked, the buzzer sounded giving Airton yet another win on what will be a memorable day for the champ.
Moona Whyte once again showed why she’s a multiple World Champion. After a break from competition, 2023 saw her return to the tour with a bang. She needed a third-place finish or better to take the crown from the defending World Champ, Capucine Delannoy (FRA). “I’m so happy, I can’t believe what just happened. It’s so hard out there but I’m so happy to make it through. I felt like I wasn’t doing very well but I found the best of what was out there”. After losing to Moona in all her previous finals this year, Capucine was finally able to burn that bridge. Knowing the World Title was no longer hers she threw down her best heat of the competition beating Moona in the final to end her year on a high. Once again, Moona scored better in the waves but Capucine’s freestyle skills prevailed. This included the best individual score of the competition, a 9.00 for a perfect Double Frontroll. A move that Delannoy has done time and time again, however when it mattered most the best came out. The young French rider put the disappointment behind her as she knew that when it came to the World Championship, it was all out of her hands however now, ends her 2023 year with her second event win this year.
|Qatar Airways GKA Kite-Surf World Tour World Champion Results
|Copa Kitley GKA Kit-Surf World Cup Brazil 2023 results