With a new location on the 2023 Qatar Airways GKA kite-surf world tour schedule, the riders, judges, trainers, and support teams, were all highly excited with the kick-off of the second event of the year.


The renowned breaks of the small town of Saquarema to the east of Rio de Janeiro, hold a special place in Brazilian competitive surfing history. Many contests were held here in the 60’s and 70’s, and still are today, with Saquarema’s Itaúna Beach, being a regular stop on the WSL’s (World Surf League) tour schedule.

Arriving in Brazil, it was clear that the current ranking leaders Matchu Lopes (ESP) and Moona Whyte (USA) were set to do everything necessary to keep their title bids on track. Up against a tough field of opponents including a number of local riders who have the spot totally dialled, the fickle wind and wave conditions of Saquarema were very likely to bring additional challenges.


With the opening day kicking off with the women, the compact field of seven female chargers, including the freshly crowned Qatar Airways GKA Big Air Kite Surfboard World Champion, Duotone’s Camille Losserand (SUI), fought like there was no tomorrow. Tackling the moody conditions of Saquarema was testing, but the girls were shredding regardless, showing off their fluid turns in critical sections. Congratulations to Hawaii-based Moona Whyte who secured the victory with our Young Blood Camille Losserand in 4th place. Well done all the female rippers

After that the big waiting game started for the men. Due to a lack of conditions, the competition had to be put on hold for several days with a few heats run in between when the weather allowed. Luckily, as so often happens in life, good things came to those who wait! Finally on day 10 of the 12-day event window, Saquarema turned it on for the riders. Pumping double to triple overhead high waves with 15-20 knots cross-offshore wind transformed the spot into a super crazy arena. Even for the top waveriders in the world, these conditions proved challenging, resulting in a number of major upsets, but also in some massive performances.


Once the competition had progressed to the semi-finals, team Duotone held three of the four remaining spots in the competition. 4x World Champion Airton Cozzolino (ITA) and Matchu Lopes (ESP), the winner of the last event in Cape Verde, came out on top. What followed was a final for the ages. Wave selection was absolutely critical as most of the rogue waves that rolled in exploded in huge dangerous closeouts on the sandbar.

Both Lopes and Cozzolino went big, with powerful hacks, massive carves and radical airdrops. Stomping out an insanely radical and perfectly executed vertical hack on a thumper wave, Matchu scored the highest wave score of the entire event (8.66) so far with only three minutes to go. No one could foresee what was still to come when history was written in the last 10 seconds of the heat with Lopes getting fully pitted in a wild green Saquarema cave, which the judges rewarded with a perfect 10.


Claiming back-to-back victories in the first two events of the year puts Matchu in a strong position for the world title. Next up is the GKA Kite-Surf World Cup Sylt, in Germany, and we simply cannot wait for the title race to continue!

Congratulations to all the riders, we couldn’t be any prouder of our team, you guys truly push the sport to the next level!