In the double eliminations, after two days of ceaseless competition, Airton Cozzolino and Carla Herrera Oria defended their top place positions from Wednesday’s single elimination finals to win the GKA Kite-Surf World Cup Sylt!
They took on all comers in strong onshore conditions, riding in extended 10 minute heats in which competitors were judged for a combination of 60% strapless freestyle and 40% wave riding.
It was a great test of the mixed format discipline, with competitors riding to the conditions and showing what can be done when technical freestyle skill and wave riding ability combine at a high level.
Here’s how it happened!
Airton airs again!
Airton had taken on Mitu in the singles on Wednesday, but on Thrusday he had to overcome James Carew to hold on to his top spot. Both riders opened up with precision front hand wave riding, absolutely raking into bottom turns and wringing every last hit out of the beach break conditions.
Carew was looking dangerous, hooking into one wave and combining powered hacks with a board-off off the lip and back into the wave. Fresh off the back of beating Mitu to make it to the final, he had the momentum and with a little over two minutes to go he was in the lead and Airton was under threat.
Airton hadn’t stuck a handlepass, but he was channeling so much power into each and every turn and seamlessly integrating strapless freestyle tricks into his wave assaults.
It was tense when the buzzer went, but as the scores came through Airton was announced the winner.. by just 0.27 points. An ultra-tight margin, but it was enough!
Carew and Mitu
James didn’t get an easy ride to the final. He had to get past none other than Mitu Monteiro first and he had to do it twice because the heat was repeated after a safety jet-ski obstructed Mitu late in the heat.
The first time round, Mitu hadn’t been on the same form as in the single eliminations, but when the heat restarted he exploded off the starting blocks with a huge backroll board-off.
James took an early lead though with a high scoring wave which he followed up with a front roll tick tack and he was clearly determined to hold on to his ticket to the final.
On the second attempt, Mitu landed a super clean backroll rodeo finger flip and he was ahead on technical ability, but James was making more from the wave portion of the scoring.
Mitu was closing the gap though, and he landed perhaps the best kiteloop backroll of the event with just two minutes left on the clock.
Carew then responded with a clean 360 shuvit off the wave before Mitu stuck a backroll board-spin into a tick tack just before the buzzer. It was impossible to guess who’d won as the klaxon sounded.
However, as the scores went up it was clear that James had prevailed for the second time, and he who would go through to take on Airton for the GKA Kite-Surf World Cup Sylt title.
James beat Joosten
To earn a spot against Mitu, James had first had to settle a score with Simon Joosten who beat him into fourth in Wednesday’s single elimination mini-final.
Carew started with a kiteloop board-off and Joosten answered with a faultless kiteloop backroll. James then began to focus more on the waves with a nice floater off the lip while Joosten opted for an even bigger kiteloop backroll.
Simon then realised that he’d have to look towards the waves as well if he was going to beat James, but while he can certainly match him for strapless tricks he wasn’t able to rise to his level in the surf and James won, securing his podium position with Simon settling for fourth.
Jan Marcos goes on the offensive
Jan Marcos Riveras has an uncanny ability to do well in double eliminations and he was on fire in doubles.
First off, he beat Camille Delannoy coming into the heat like a section-seeking missile, finding the best waves of the heat and launching a huge kiteloop board-off off the lip of a wave and back on to the face before nonchalantly riding away (#NoClaim).
Then he pushed past Paulino Pereira, riding to the conditions and tactically choosing to focus more on strapless freestyle scores (which were worth more due to the way criteria was set out) while Paulino zoned in on the waves.
Jan Marcos won the heat by 1.5 points, and it looked like he might go all the way to the podium but James stopped him in his tracks with a combination of high scoring wave rides and some innovate strapless tricks.
Women’s Division: Carla retains the top spot
Carla Herrera Oria was, frankly, unassailable. Having already comfortably won the single eliminations, she was able to watch the battle play out beneath her as the other riders in the division vied for a chance to take her on for first place.
When Charlotte Carpentier saw off a challenge from Susi Scwarztrauber, it meant that she’d face Carla for the second time in as many days. Charlotte had a good opportunity in this heat, with more points available than there had been yesterday for wave riding, and she sought out some nice sections in amongst the onshore carnage.
Carla was on another level though. She’s indisputably the top female strapless freestyler right now, but her wave riding has also advanced in recent months.
Though she linked technical tricks like front roll board-offs with fluid toeside rides and she won the heat by a substantial 23.6 points. That’s a huge margin for a final!
The battle for third
Elsewhere in the women’s division, some spirited exchanges happened as the riders fought for third place. Susi Schwarztrauber overcame an equipment failure early in her heat to beat Peri Roberts, who was posting some of the highest wave riding scores of the day in the women’s division.
Aussie rider Peri actually had the top single score in that heat for a solid opening ride, but she struggled to find another hittable section after that while Susi opted for smaller hits (and more of them) to edge past on points.
Peri did manage to retain fourth though in the face of a challenge from talented young rider Capucine Delannoy. Other than Carla, Capucine (who’s only 14 years-old) displayed the highest strapless freestyle level of all the women and was the only other rider landing rotations.
With a bit more experience in competition and in the waves, she’ll be one to watch!
1: Airton Cozzolino (CPV)
2: James Carew (AUS)
3: Mitu Monteiro (CPV)
4: Simon Joosten (BRB)
5: Jan Marcos Riveras (DOM)
1: Carla Herrera Oria (ESP)
2: Charlotte Carpentier (FRA)
3: Susanne Schwarztrauber (DEU)
4: Peri Roberts (AUS)
5: Capucine Delannoy (FRA)