Kitesurf Champs crowned in Brazil
Cozzolino, Lopes, Matos sweap the men’s world championship podium with Losserand finishing third in the world!
It was an exhilarating finale of the 2023 Qatar Airways GKA Kitesurf World Tour in windswept Cauipe, Brazil. Athletes came together from all around the globe, most of them no strangers to the sought-after destination famous among the kiteboarding world for its consistent winds, expansive beaches, inviting pousadas, and yummy Acai.
For our previous champions, Airton Cozzolino and Matchu Lopes, it became an increasingly tight battle between the Cape Verdeans as the season progressed. Neck and neck going into the grand finale, with Cozzolino a mere few points ahead of Lopes, it was clear that both athletes wanted the world title badly. Lopes started the year strong, taking home two wins, first at home in Cape Verde and then in Saquarema, Brazil, for the season's first two pure wave events.
But it would be another fellow teammate, Pedro Matos, who would put a ripple in Lopes' perfect scorecard when they met in the early rounds in Germany, leaving Lopes with his first 9th place finish and making room for Cozzolino to climb into pole position. Heading to the fourth event in Dakhla, Morocco, another pure wave event, Cozzolino and Lopes met in the fifth round, which ended in disappointment for Lopes. However, it was Matos who would come out with a victory in Morocco, substantially improving his ranking with his first-ever tour win and entering the realm of title contenders.
Leading up to the grand finale, three of the four tour stops were run in the pure wave format, with only the Germany stop running the mixed format that would also come into play in Cauipe. Adding this variety to the judging format means that athletes must be training for both wave riding and strapless freestyle. With this mixed format, a rider's heat score comprises one best wave score, one best trick score, and a 2nd best wave or trick score. With the small wave conditions that were present in Cauipe, it was not surprising that many riders were taking advantage of the third score option and threw down some genuinely fantastic freestyle tricks. One such rider is the unstoppable Cozzolino. Right out the gate, Cozzolino posted high scores for a faultless frontside 360 and a backroll tic tac that paired nicely with a solid wave score, sending him straight through to round 5 that would set the tone for the rest of the event.
Lopes would thus claim the third-place finish in Brazil and his Vice-Championship title for the year. Lopes comments: "I'm pretty stoked about the result. It's not what I wanted, but it was a great year. I got to win the two most important events with the biggest waves, scoring a perfect 10-point score in Saquarema and taking the win at home. Now, coming to Brazil to finish as the vice-champion, I'm absolutely very happy. Of course, many things have happened throughout the year; I was injured before Morocco, Germany didn't go well, and when I finished my last heat here in Brazil, I re-injured my knee in the same place. I've had a lot of ups and downs, but mostly good things and I'm stoked the year is over. I'm looking forward to going home and seeing my family, disconnecting, seeing my friends, eating local food, riding Coches barrels, and starting training right away because the event in Cape Verde is coming soon. I really want to put in a solid performance there. I also want to thank Duotone, Ion, and my coach, Luis De Dois, who put in a lot of effort and motivated me in the moments when I was down."
Cozzolino would prove defiant as the event reached its crescendo, meeting Gabriel Benetton, who previously took down heavy hitters Sebastian Ribeiro and Matchu Lopes, for the ultimate final. But Cozzolino would not be deterred, going wave for a wave with his opponent and then turning the tides with conviction, scoring an almost perfect 9.50 shifty frontside 3. Cozzolino was riding on another level in the final, his motivation to take the win almost palatable. Huge congratulations to Cozzolino, who took home both an event win as well as yet another world title to add to his growing list!
A few words from the champ: "First of all, thank you so much for still believing in me and helping me achieve my dreams. Finally the pressure is out, we did it again after 3 years of trying so hard for another World Title. 6x world champion! I have no words for this feeling. I’m really proud of myself because I never stopped trying after the hard times and the injuries, I stayed calm and positive during those 3 years and it all came into place again. I felt strong again mentally and physically and now I am more motivated than ever to keep trying..."
»Thanks to Duotone, my family, friends, girlfriend, fans, and other sponsors for the support. None of this would be possible without you. Lets go for more!«
On the women's side of the contest, it has been quite the year for our Camille Losserand, who is relatively new to the world tour scene but is progressing at lightening speed. The current Surfboard Big Air champion has been turning heads all year long with her impressive freestyle tricks and her motivation and determination to continue improving in all areas of her riding. Losserand comments: "To round off this beautiful year, I managed to finish 4th in the competition here in Cauipe, Brazil. It certainly wasn't the conditions I'm used to kiting in, but this experience taught me some unique life lessons. I'm very grateful to have made it this far in the wave discipline this year, as I ranked at the 3rd place overall in 2023. Also, winning the 2023 Big Air World Championship in Tarifa was my biggest achievement of the season..."
»All in all, it motivates me even more to pursue my dreams and goals. I hope this is just the beginning of a long journey. Can't wait to see what 2024 will bring...«
In addition to all of the action in the Freestyle and Kitesurf realm going down over recent days in Cauipe, the Copa Kitely GKA Hydrofoil-Freestyle World Cup ran a successful event, taking advantage of the seemingly endless supply of windy days that the northeastern coast of Brazil has on offer. Team rider Baptiste Bourdoulous represented Duotone, who made his debut only one year prior at the 2022 Taiba World Cup, and posted solid scores in the opening rounds; however, he was narrowly edged out in round 4 by less than half a point. Congratulations to Bourdoulous for his performance!
We are incredibly proud of all our team's performance and are sending out a huge congratulations to Airton Cozzolino, Matchu Lopes, Pedro Matos, Camille Losserand all of the GKA Kitesurf World Cup Brazil podium finishers; it was an exciting and unforgettable conclusion!