Is Airton Cozzolino really from another planet?
His opponents deliver their thoughts:
“Pfff, maybe in the next life I can get up to his level. There’s always one guy on the tour that’s an alien. In freestyle it was the same back in the day with Aaron. Airton is doing the same; he’s pushing the sport and we’re trying to go with him, but it’s really hard. He’s so technical and aggressive but he makes it look so clean. It’s amazing to see.”
KEAHI DE ABOITIZ
“It’s been insane to see Airton, especially at these last few events, because he’s able to do almost anything. Wave riding has perhaps been his slight weakness in the past, but in Cape Verde he was on fire and here in a strapless freestyle event at Sotavento he was on another level. It’s been crazy to see someone going that big and that powered. But yeah, in conditions like this he’s a huge inspiration.”
MALLORY DE LA VILLEMARQUE (JUDGE)
“The thing that really stands out is his commitment in all his tricks. The height, the amplitude, the speed; everything. He puts 1,000% in all the time.
“In strapless you have to grab your board, or put it in between your legs, but at some point you’re using only one hand to control your kite, and that’s where he’s impressive because he always manages to pull that last loop and land perfectly cleanly when almost no one else would even come close. That’s what surprises us almost every time.”
“He’s going sick, he’s the man. He has humor, his feet on the ground and he’s doing what he needs to do. Besides that he’s my bro, we compete, on the water we kill each other, ‘I send you to hell, I kick your ass’, but when we are back we are brothers, you know. Respect! We’re from the same place…
“Sometimes I’m trying tricks and I’ll take one or two months to get it, then he comes and in maybe a couple of hours or less he’s doing more than 50% of that trick. Sometimes it’s annoying, but he’s pure talent and he’s strong.”
“I like to play with the gusts. When a gust comes I feel so comfortable because I have more hang-time and I like the control at height. Yesterday when I did that huge trick, I was spinning this way and the kite was round the other way, so I turned my body and did a kite loop straight away, which actually straightened me up again. People think with a kite loop it’s a hard thing, but when you are really high up in the air, it’s easier to keep control and you can slow it down. If you keep your kite high you’re just a weight pulling straight down, so you have to play with the kite.”
“Before this year we were doing front shuvits, double fronts and handle-passes, now we’re coming up with old school stuff, which feels like a good innovation. All the riders are motivated for it and I like people copying my moves, it’s cool, haha.”