It was a long night’s wait for Keahi de Aboitiz and Matchu Lopes who were first up in semi final number one. The waves were a little smaller than day two and the wind a little lighter at times, but as Patri McLaughlin said, “The waves were still really good, and One Eye is really good no matter how big it is!”
Patri himself was up next against Brazilian Filippe Ferreira. Just four guys remained, but the action ran hot as riders traded waves and at times it was wave selection as much as performance that made the difference. Let’s get into the photos and stories from the riders at GKA Wave & Strapless Freestyle day three that saw the climax to the men’s and women’s competition – full report from the ladies to come…
SEMI FINAL #O1
KEAHI DE ABOITIZ (AUS) Vs MATCHU LOPES (CAPE VERDE)
“The wind looked okay and then as we started it dropped a bit. For me backside it was pretty offshore and quite light which made it hard. I saw Matchu got some good waves and had a feeling he’d won that one.” — KEAHI
“Yeah the wind was a little bit light, so I got a friend to wait outside the break before the heat with another kite in case the wind did drop – which it did. Luckily I managed to get the other kite, Keahi was underpowered and I managed to get a few waves, surfing them all the way in and finishing them off well. Yeah I made it and I’m stoked to get that over Keahi because he’s such a good rider.” — MATCHU
SEMI FINAL #02
PATRI McLAUGHLIN (HAWAII) Vs FILIPPE FERREIRA (BRAZIL)
“I live in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and the wind is like this, more cross-shore from the left, but smaller, more like one metre wave height and I’m usually riding a 12 or ten, not six or eight. I’ve been here twice before for F-One meetings and for the previous KSP competition where I lost to Patri in the quarters. Now I’m here again and I lost in the semi final, but it’s okay, I’m really happy for my surf, I did well in my heat, and that’s competition.” — FILLIPPE
“He´s a great rider and he had a really good heat. I just found my flow in this semi and had some really good waves, got a barrel and like four turns on the same wave, so I was pretty confident that I was going to advance to the final.” — PATRI
MATCHU LOPES Vs PATRI McLAUGHLIN
“I knew selecting the best wave of the set was going to be important, and I thought I did. I was out further and I let the first two go by and it was the third one which was the biggest lump in the swell, but you never really know what a bit smaller swell like this going to do when it hits the reef. When it’s really big out there it’s a bit easier to predict it. But today the swell could hit the shelf down there and close out, or it could line up really well, you don’t really know. So it was challenging and then Matchu just turned around on the wave behind and it hit the reef perfectly, lined up and he got four good turns, so I’m sure that was one of his top scores. After that I was trying to hunt down a barrel and I got one, but it wasn’t a really good wave. It was a good barrel – pretty wide, but it was short. I kicked out after that and then there were no more sets that came through, so I kind of knew he’d won, even out on the water.” — PATRI
“Yeah Patri is a big wave rider, he just goes, does it and makes it. I just went out there and enjoyed the moment, tried to get the best of it, to make my two waves and get another one. I wanted to make something special and I just feel good, so stoked about it, man! I’ve never done well here in competition before. It’s my second time competing here, my first time was four years ago and I was so scared about the waves and the conditions; it was big… insane… crazy… and now for the second time being here I don’t believe that I’ve got this win. I still think that you guys are joking with me!” — MATCHU
“Matchu got that one for sure, but he deserves it dude, he works so hard and I’m psyched to see him take the win. He’s a really passionate competitor, so I’m happy for him. I just want to go kite big waves really, that’s what I’m passionate about. I’m psyched with second place though, for sure. It’s great.” — PATRI
KEAHI DE ABOITIZ Vs FILIPPE FERREIRA
“The loser final was a lot better for me. The wind filled in and especially backside out here it’s better to have a little more side-shore wind, which it was. I find I can get some good waves and that heat was good. I had a pretty good warm-up before the heat, figured the conditions out and had a lot of fun. The sets were better and it was basically non-stop waves. It’s always fun going against someone that’s backside too because you’re both on the same playing field. I haven’t ridden against Filippe in a while and it’s good to see that he’s ripping and stoked to come out on top of that one.” — KEAHI
“Yesterday the waves were bigger, and a different wind direction which I preferred. I’m really stoked with my fourth place though and I want to say thank you to my sponsors. I’m really happy!” — FILIPPE
1st: Matchu, 2nd Patri, 3rd Keahi, 4th Filippe
The women took to the water straight after the men´s podium with nine girls competing. The probable favorite was local Ninja Bichler who also took the win at the KSP event when it was here in Le Morne in 2012.
Ninja – she’s so comfortable here!
More images and reaction coming tomorrow for this contest, but in the end as you all probably know, it was Ninja who prevailed in a tight final between three excellent female riders, with Brazilian Milla Ferreira (Filippe´s sister) coming second and Moona Whyte from Hawaii in third.
Congratulations to all involved, from competitors to Carlos on video, SAR production for the drone, Toby on camera, organizers, judges and helpers. Great effort all round. Another spectacle is planned for the weekend with the riders of this combination Wave & Strapless Freestyle tour taking to the lagoon to really put on a show for the crowds up close and, as always, very personal!