4th World Championship title for Airton!

Duotone Kiteboarding Teamrider Airton Cozzolino World Champion
Duotone Kiteboarding Airton Cozzolino World Champion Pro Whip 2020

Where better to host the sixth and final stop of the GKA KITE-SURF WORLD TOUR than the windy, northeast coast of Prea, Brazil. With points still up for grabs, athletes put everything on the line for the ultimate showdown.

Over four days, people from across the world tuned into the live stream or made camp on the beach in Prea, to experience the last curtain call.

From perfect scores to the unlucky losses, the unimaginable and the fortunate, Duotone’s Airton Cozzolino and Mika Sol sealed the deal at the Ceara Kite Pro event, crowning Airton with his 4th World Championship title.

Here’s what our team riders had to say.

AIRTON COZZOLINO

 

Everyone came to the competition on fire. It’s been an incredible season and we have all been pushing the limits together at every event. Brazil has really consistent wind so it was good to finish with action. I didn’t find the conditions that easy so it was a mission to win, but I’m stoked. Looking back, I was nervous. When this happens I become too relaxed and loose myself.

If you ask Airton what inspired him to bring freestyle to strapless surfboards, he will tell you that he used to watch movies from twintip freestyle legend Aaron Hadlow. For the first time ever, Airton was awarded two perfect 10’s from the judges, one of which was for a boogie loop; invented by Ruben Lenten made achievable by Aaron Hadlow.

Duotone Kiteboarding Airton Cozzolino GKA World Champion 2019

“It’s not easy to do the boogie loop, I’ve been trying for years and I did it today for only the second time. Somehow, I did it in competition! I’ve been watching Aaron and Ruben do them and I really wanted to do it strapless. Congrats to everyone today and I’m super stoked for this win, woo!”  

 

AIRTON’s road to victory

Featuring six events this year, riders can discard their two worst results from six to give them their overall season points finish.

Airton’s final scorecard is therefore impeccable, with four wins, mixing wave and strapless freestyle victories, demonstrating his incredible mastery of all-round surfboard riding.

1st Sylt, Germany

1st Mauritius

1st Dakhla, Morocco

1st Prea, Brazil

Duotone Kiteboarding Airton Cozzolino James Carew

JAMES CAREW

 

“I came into this event in 3rd position overall. It was a big one for me as I was going head to head with Mitu for 2nd overall. I needed to finish two places in front of him, which I did in the singles so I was stoked to secure 2nd with Mitu in 4th. I wasn’t able to hold on through the doubles as Camille beat me. It was a tough heat and the wind a bit weird, I struggled to connect. Nevertheless, I ended the 2019 tour in 3rd place, a big improvement to 10th last year”.

15.30 – MEN’S ROUND 9 HEAT 34 James Carew (AUS) V Camille Delannoy (FRA) by GKA:

James lost his board first trick while Camille started in the same way as his last heat, confidently landing a double front and then a front roll double tick tack right after. C’est bon! James made a toeside front 3 on the way out but then crashed again on his boosted back roll tick tack flip. He just wasn’t getting his usual massive height. His third attempt, however, was big and perfect! The number three ranked rider really wanting it having just seen number two Mitu go out. Camille was yet to crash after four tricks and he already had a 9 for a front roll tick tack rodeo. The score was 31.13 to 15.53.

“Prea is windy, super consistent and perfect for strapless freestyle. I used my 10 m Neo pretty much every day with 22 m lines and a low V. The Pro Voke is an incredible performer. The channels on the bottom spread the water and really help with landing hard and keeping speed. It’s also really smooth in chop and strong winds.

To have this quality of conditions for the last stop of the season is really important for the whole tour in general. We can push the limits and go out with a bang. The stronger conditions meant the judges were looking for height. It wasn’t so much about technicality, but more about power, going big, landing hard and smooth. Airton really stood out, sending it hard with a whole new level of comfort and ability in the air. No one was going to catch him this time.

Over the last two years the GKA has done a really good job in supporting our sport and the world tour. A lot of people are now tuning in to the livestream whenever possible and it’s spreading the word about the riders, brands and variety of disciplines.

To see the tour really thrive and grow consistently each year is great and I’m stoked to be part of it.”

MATCHU LOPES

 

“I’m stoked to be back in Brazil even though I wasn’t competing. It’s been tough coming back from injury with a lot of ups and downs, but I’m here and ready to get back on the water in preparation for next season.

The strapless freestyle event was crazy this year and the spot was perfect to get really close to the action. Airton and James have taken their riding to the next level, it’s incredible.

I jumped on the mic for a bit to motivate the people watching. It’s not really my thing, but I had a lot of fun explaining what was going on, who the riders were and where they came from; people reacted to it and started going to the guys for selfies after a heat which was cool.

The GKA put in a lot of effort for this event, the setup was sick! It was an awesome end the 2019 world tour, just a shame I wasn’t part of it. Next year.”

Duotone Kiteboarding Airton Cozzolino World Champion
Duotone Kiteboarding Airton Cozzolino World Champion Neo 2020
Duotone Kiteboarding Mikaili Sol Final GKA Freestyle Event

Mikaili Sol:

 

Who knew that Mika’s need for some down-time would put her on the podium, again. With a few weeks at home in Prea, Brazil, leading up to the final GKA Freestyle event where she will be crowned World Champion, she hung up her boots and joined Duotone’s Kite-Surf competitors Jan Marcos Riveras and James Carew - with a Neo and Pro Wam, as the boys trained for their final world championship of 2019.

Under the wings of the best and with no agenda, Mika’s natural aptitude as a kite athlete saw her progress from a first-timer to a potential competitor. 10 days after she unrivalled her wave kite, Neo, and stepped onto a surf board, James and Jan Marcos couldn’t ignore the potential.

With no time like the present and happy on home soil, Mika entered her first strapless event - of world tour standards - and won by 30 points.

“I have no words, I was training so hard the last two weeks, but I really can’t believe I’ve won. I’m so thankful.”

‘This event helped me get my motivation back. 2019 couldn’t have been any worse for me. I came into the season with high hopes and prepared to go for it. Sadly, I discovered I had a knee injury that needed urgent surgery; it changed everything.I started out well with a 3rd in Cape Verde so I was really disappointed. Although my performance in this event wasn’t great, I finally feel back to myself. The level of strapless freestyle has increased and having Mika join the event was great. Finishing 3rd overall is still good, but now I’m back on track my goal is start preparing for the 2020 season.’

Duotone Kiteboarding Airton Cozzolino World Champion

Jan Marcos

 

Jan Marcos has been on the strapless scene for years and is often credited as the rider who pioneered the strapless kiteloop. His consistent performance this year on tour, across wave and strapless, secures 4th place overall. 

Congratulations to our champions and all riders who competed at this year’s GKA Kite-Surf World Cup events.

GKA strapless Winners Brazil #TEAMTALK

GKA strapless Winners Brazil #TEAMTALK

For the full blow by blow report, head to the official GKA website for all the news.

Choice of the World Champion Airton Cozzolino