SARDINIA (Italy) – Rolling hills and the turquoise blue waters of the Mediterranean made the perfect backdrop for the first-ever pure strapless kitesurfing competition, Red Bull Unfastened, last week. Host of the event was none other than 2011 KSP World Champion and strapless kitesurfing pioneer Airton Cozzolino, born in Cape Verde but a resident of Sardinia for over ten years.
Joining Cozzolino for the revolutionary five-day competition (April 9-13) were international kitesurf stars Matchu Lopes, Reo Stevens, Bear Karry, Patrick Rebstock and Patri McLaughlin as well as Italian wildcards Francesco Maffei and Sandro Pisu.
The first event was a flat-water freestyle competition where the host Airton Cozzolino won the day’s crown, beating Patri McLaughlin from Hawaii after an incredible final heat. Patrick Rebstock from California took third place after impressively winning five heats in a row.
Good wind conditions allowed the competition to go on with a second event in which the riders had to perform their best trick. This time the tables were turned: Patri McLaughlin beat Airton in the final with an “Unhooked Aerial 180 HP Surface”.
Despite fierce competition, it was Cozzolino who was crowned the overall winner with 390 points. “Strapless kitesurfing is a brand new discipline. I would love to see more people practicing it and maybe for it to be included in the Olympics. I hope Red Bull Unfastened will be the start of a new adventure,” commented Cozzolino as the competition came to a close.
1. Airton Cozzolino Lopes ITA with 390 points
2. Patri McLaughlin USA with 370 points
3. Patrick Rebstock USA with 324 points
4. Matchu Lopes Almeida CBV 287 points
5. Reo Stevens USA with 262 points
6. Francesco Maffei ITA with 252 points
7. Alexander John (Bear) Karry USA with 247 points
8. Sandro Pisu ITA with 200 points
Pictures: Damiano Levati and Alberto Maiorano / Red Bull Content Pool