One Eye Rears-up To Shows its Savage Side as a Packed Competitive Field Register for the Final Showdown of 2017
GKA Kite-Surf World Tour 2017 | 6th September 2017: Le Morne, Mauritius
Report: Matt Pearce / Photos: Ydwer van der Heide
Matchu and Airton sign up for their biggest battle / Photo: @Ydwer
It was a busy scene this morning at The Point in Le Morne where no less than 71 riders had amassed to register for the final event of the 2017 GKA Kite-Surf World Tour!
52 men and 19 women signed on the dotted line to take on the infamous One Eye over the next 12 days and today it bared its teeth as a three meter swell with 15 second period threw up some heaving waves that could be seen jacking up from afar before detonating on the reef.
Sebastian Ribiero tempts fate after registration / Photo @Ydwer
Airton Cozzolino, who currently leads the men’s division, came into this event hoping to retain his lead and take the official world championship title, but he’s not going to have an easy run of it as, in amongst the 50+ competitors he’ll be up against, there are some of the best waveriders on the planet - not least of which is Matchu Lopes who won the event here last year and who has a real shot of regaining his championship title if things don't go Airton's way in the early stages of the competition.
He may look relaxed but Matchu is in it to win it! / Photo: @Ydwer
There’s also some serious local talent in the mix including South African transplant Willow-River Tonkin who’s lived here for eight years and basically learnt to kite at this very spot. Of course dismissing the maestro himself, Mitu Monteiro, who knows One Eye inside out, would be a very foolish move!
Mitu back on form and good to go / Photo: @Ydwer
There’s a similarly strong field in the women’s division as well with former KSP World Champion and One Eye aficionado Jalou Langeree making her debut on the GKA Kite-Surf World Tour as well as defending champion Milla Ferreira and Ninja-Maria Bichler who has won here twice before, and is usually dominant at her home spot.
The stoke rises / Photo: @Ydwer
The swell is forecast to drop in size a little tomorrow, becoming cleaner as a result, and that’s when the 36 riders in the men’s division who need to go through the qualifying trials will hit the water with the 12 pre-qualified riders who've competed at other events on this year's tour going straight to the main event alongside four local wildcards.
Keahi gets critical in the warm-up today / Photo: @Ydwer
The women’s division won’t be holding qualifiers, so all 19 registered riders will also go straight into the main event once the men’s division is underway and, many of them, particularly Jalou, are relishing the chance to put it all on the line in waves of consequence - as you'll see in her interview tomorrow!
GKA Secretary General Jörgen Vogt addresses the riders at tonight's official opening ceremony / Photo: @Ydwer
The first possible start for the first day of competition is at 9am tomorrow local time. Follow the GKA on social media to stay in the loop throughout.
Find the full GKA Kite-Surf World Tour 2017 event schedule here:
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