GKA WAVE & STRAPLESS FREESTYLE STOP #03 - THE FINAL WRAP
Le Morne, Mauritius, 16th September 2016
Photos: Toby Bromwich
So it's with sadness that we bid you farewell from Mauritius. What a sensational, action packed event it's been! But don't worry, we'll be back in Dakhla, Morocco for what is the final and deciding event of the season, running from 14th - 19th October.
Firstly, a little bit of bad news to get out of the way:
Unfortunately we have had to take the decision to cancel the Brazilian event, which was due to run in Fortaleza in November. A combination of local realities, such as international recognition of the Zika virus as well as issues on the local event organiser's side, have conspired to bring about an almost impossible situation for us to overcome.
We are very sorry that the GKA Wave & Strapless Freestyle tour won't include Brazil this year, but we are however very optimistic that we'll welcome Fortaleza onto our tour schedule for 2017.
Now, to the good news!
2016 has already been a very exciting year on tour. Looking back at three fantastic events in Tarifa, Sotavento and now wrapping up here in Mauritius, we've seen some incredible performances and there's no doubt in just a short few months that this incredibly talented pack of new school surfboard wave kiters have pushed the disciplines of Wave & Strapless Freestyle to new levels.
The last event in Dakhla is shaping up to offer yet more highs as it will feature a single discipline that combines both Wave and Strapless Freestyle into the same competition to decide the GKA Wave & Strapless Freestyle Rider of the Year for 2016.
Tarifa and Sotavento were purely Strapless Freestyle events with a pure wave riding element counting towards the overall championship here in Mauritius.
Combining the two into one discipline will now surely bring out the best in these guys, giving us an even brighter vision for the future of this sport.
When we look at the standings, it's very tense in deed.
After trailing his great friend and closest rival Airton Cozzolino (Italy) for the first two rounds, Matchu Lopes (Cape Verde) suddenly finds himself at the top of the leaderboard with a 300 point advantage over Airton going into the final round.
Matchu, on top in Mauritius!
Paulino Pereira (Portugal), although finished fifth in Mauritius, retains third position overall that he's held all season, and he remains a threat.
Paulino - he'll be front side, feeling right at home and has all the assets to mix things up at the next combo event!
The guys are already devising their strategies and heat plans. For Airton especially there is no room for error after a costly early exit in Mauritius which left him in ninth position at this event. He and Matchu in particular have long dreamed of being a 'wave kiting' champion, and the realisation of the GKA tour this year has given them their first real opportunity in several seasons.
Airton: no room for error!
We know that Airton is the ultimate competitor though, especially under pressure – specialising in producing the unexpected. He'll be relying on a trip up from Matchu like he had here in Mauritius...
In competition, upsets are always possible.
The girls will return for another event in Dakhla too. Registration goes live from tomorrow, so we'll update you each week with news of the development on their side and we are hopeful of being able to run a full world tour schedule for them alongside the men in 2017.
So, we thank everyone for all their hard riding, passion and spirit at this event in Mauritius, and wish everyone well in their training for the next four short weeks.
See you in the desert!
Here are the standings:
(after three events of a total of four):
1 Matchu Lopes (CV) 2800 points
2 Airton Cozzolino (ITA) 2500
3 Paulino Pereira (POR) 2300
4 Jan Marcos Riveras (DR) 1750
5 Ralph Boelen (FRA) 1680
(after one event of two):
1 Ninja Bichler (GER) 1000
2 Milla Knesse (BRA) 900
3 Moona Whyte (USA) 810
4=Kathrin Ernest (GER) 730
4= Tatiana Mukhina 730
4= Lyde Heckroodt (ZA) 730
Please find the full ranking list here:
HASHTAGS TO SHARE PLEASE:
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The GKA Wave & Strapless Freestyle Tour will see a mix of freestyle and wave events run in 2016, eventually resulting in the crowning of a GKA Wave & Strapless Freestyle Rider of the Year. After Mauritius the tour moves to Dakhla – Morocco in October.
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