GKA WAVE & STRAPLESS FREESTYLE STOP #03 - DAY THREE – THE LADIES CONTEST!
Le Morne, Mauritius, 9th September 2016
PHOTOS: Toby Bromwich
The girls had to wait until the conclusion of the guy's contests yesterday here in Le Morne to get their first taste of competition at One Eye. Three days spent training upwind at Chameaux paid off as we were treated to a show of measured power and finesse in the surf.
In truth, the girl's contest was only confirmed just a few short weeks ago thanks to extra sponsors making that possible, and what good news that was with nine girls eventually either making the long journey here, or registering as a local.
The line up in round one was:
At the end of a three further rounds we were presented with an intriguing final that saw local hotshot and winner of the KSP event here in 2012, Ninja Bichler, go up against Moona Whyte from Hawaii and Milla Ferreira from Brazil.
As you know there's been an absence of credible, elite wave tour competition in recent seasons, and that wait has been as frustrating for the girls as the men, but it's obvious that although there hasn't been a specific contest focus for these ladies, they've been pushing themselves as hard as possible either at home, or away at the world's best breaks.
The final was tight, but each girl managed to pick good waves and show true surfstyle commitment and flow. In the end it was local Ninja who once more proved her prowess at this most hallowed of cross-offshore kiting wave spots. As she says, she "likes the risk!" and there's no doubt she's very comfortable here.
Let's hear from the top three now:
"I actually haven't been kiting that much recently because I had a baby in December, it was only really last week that I kited a lot. But of course before having the baby I used to ride this wave almost every day... and being able to read it properly is an advantage for sure. You learn to know when the waves are coming and how they will develop. That's one advantage, but I also like the risk! I try to push myself more and more!"
"It was great to have everyone here because I wasn't even sure that the girls would come. I've known the tour was happening for quite a long time, but I thought maybe I'd have to ride with the guys, but slowly the girls signed up and then I started to get really excited and the atmosphere was just great throughout the whole contest. I'm so happy that it happened." NINJA BICHLER
"I'm so happy to be riding here for the fourth time and getting second place. The girls were amazing out there. Ninja always rides so well, and it's great to compete against such a good standard of riders. We spent a few days training here before the contest started and all got more comfortable out there, so it was hard to know if we were going to make it through the heats or not."
"We all had fun on the beach but out there at One Eye it's very different. Before the heats I wished them all good luck, but in the heats we're just looking for waves and trying to do our best. My brother also competes, he got fourth yesterday and we're always nervous when watching each other. It's always like that, we always travel together to compete and help each other, it's nice and we keep each other calm. My dad usually comes too, but he had to go back to work this time." MILLA FERREIRA
Milla and Filippe
"It was definitely worth the wait for this competition! Conditions here were so good and it was so fun today. We had a smaller swell than the guys but it was still a pretty good size and perfect for the girls. The wind was a good direction too, so we could get a lot of turns as long as you picked a good one."
"I was riding my five metre mostly. The wind's lighter at home in Hawaii and I'm not used to going left, but I had I had a couple of days practicing here before the competition and think I got a lot better in that time, but yeah it's really different from home. I always get nervous before competitions, but I just tried to relax and know that I get my best results when I have fun, which I did.
"Both Milla and Ninja picked really good waves. Ninja especially did two really good turns right in front of me. She definitely know this spot and she rides well. Bring the tour to Hawaii so I can try to win at my home spot, ha ha!" MOONA WHYTE
Here's a couple of more ripping shots from Lyde Heckroodt here, and Tatiana Mukhina below, who both rode really well.
Tomorrow is going to be spectacular with a strapless freestyle competition in the lagoon, super close to the crowds at the offshore point on the beach! Woo Hoo! Look out for more updates.
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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 and Fortaleza in Brazil in November.
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