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GKA Kite-Surf World Cup Prea, Day 2 - Women's Single Elimination

by Jim Gaunt 15 Nov 2019 05:25 PST 12-16 November 2019
No need to blink, that's Mikaili on top of a strapless freestyle podium... Single elimination winner: Mikaili Sol, 2nd Marcela Witt, 3rd Carla Herrera-Oria, 4th Charlotte Carpentier - GKA Kite-Surf World Cup Prea day 2 © Svetlana Romantsova

Having already sealed the deal on this year's GKA Freestyle World Championship with one more round to come (also in Brazil, next week), 15-year-old Mikaili Sol decided that, as the Kite-Surf discipline was wrapping up at her home spot in Prea, she'd have nothing to lose by throwing her hat into the ring.

Compared to the more established men's scene, as a professional movement the women's strapless freestyle discipline is still in its infancy. This being only the second full female tour season, Mikaili has perhaps spotted a way of catching up to Spaniard Gisela Pulido's massive haul of nine official World Titles (that she had achieved by 2014) by potentially trying to win two titles next year!

The young Brazilian only decided to start training properly for strapless freestyle two weeks ago, but such are the consistency of conditions here in Prea that she was able to dedicate six hours on the water each day for that fortnight.

Against Canadian tour regular, Frances Kelly, she opened up with her first trick attempt in her first heat by scoring the season's highest women's trick score, getting a 9.4 for a front roll, popping harder than anyone else and yet showing beautiful control throughout the rotation and landing with speed. Sure, she's young and has incredible freestyle acumen and body kinaesthetics, but that's just a bit rude!

Carla Herrera-Oria has already done enough to secure the women's Kite-Surf world title and she showed all the resilience we've come to respect from this hard working competitor. A kitesurfing instructor from Tarifa, the Ocean Rodeo rider developed a pure enjoyment for this discipline three years ago and pushed hard for more women to take it up and create a regular tour fleet.

Carla drew Mikaili in the semi-final: 2019 Freestyle World Champion against 2019 Kite-Surf World Champion. Clearly there was more pressure on Carla as the specialist in this discipline, but the scale of facing a truly prodigious, younger talent who was riding relaxed at her home spot, quickly became apparent.

Carla is so consistent in her array of tricks, you have to respect the way she has set about becoming a competitor and learning to nail tricks across five different categories - whatever the conditions. As the highest ranked rider she had a bye in round one. Her three single elimination heat scores yesterday (with five tricks counting from different trick families / ten attempts allowed) were 26.57, 24.83 and 23.04; the smooth back roll rodeo being her key weapon, frequently securing her more than six points each time.

However, Mikaili's comfort with high speed technical freestyle gave her the edge and it's amazing to see how she's managed to transfer that into the strapless discipline. Her semi-final performance against Carla gave the Brazilian her highest heat score of the day, 38.27; made up with 6.5 for a back roll board-off, 9.67 for a front roll board-off, 3.27 for a big straight air, 9.33 for a front roll and 9.5 for a back roll rodeo.

Carla went on to claim third step on the single elimination podium, convincingly beating French rider Charlotte Carpentier in the mini-final, while Mikaili went on to meet another Brazilian rising star in the final.

We last saw Marcela Witt at the event here in Prea last year and with just a few years kiting under her belt, this Rio resident (but regular Prea visitor) (who also has her own show on Brazilian TV!) demonstrated an impressive ability to perform her tricks with more height and amplitude than most.

Marcela has also confirmed that she will be attending more events outside of Brazil next year.

Neither rider achieved their biggest heat score in the final, but Mikaili reserved her highest individual tricks score, laying down a perfect 10 for a slick front roll right as the starting horn sounded... and she finished a full ten points ahead of Marcela.

Women's Single Elimination result:

1. Mikaili Sol (BRA)
2. Marcela Witt (BRA)
3. Carla Herrera-Oria (ESP)
4. Charlotte Carpentier (FRA)

A look ahead to fantastic Friday!

On conclusion of the women's single elimination, the men hit the water again late yesterday afternoon to get their double elimination under way.

Most notably fighting their way back from disappointing early exits in the singles were Jan Marcos Riveras, Francesco Capuzzo and, deserving special mention, 19 year-old Kiko Roig Torres from Spain.

Young Kiko put together a couple of superb heat performances and even managed to score two nines along the way when he took a front roll tick-tack (a hot move-of-the-moment) a step further, by adding a double tick-tick (double board spin). Super fluid, one of the tour's favourite young riders drew howls from his fellow competitors on the beach.

Lining up in round four:

Getting things kicked-off for the men will be:

Yaris Dell Omo (ITA) V Simon Joosten (BAR)
Jan Marcos Riveras (DR) V Reece Myerscough (CAN)
Kiko Roig (ESP) V Pedro Matos (BRA)
Francesco Capuzzo (ITA) V Anderson Reboucas (BRA)

From there, four of those riders will make up two heats in round five before the double elimination ladder collapses to become a single line of heats with riders then going up against the highest ranked riders from the single elimination, starting with Mitu Monteiro. The winner of that will then face Camille Delannoy, then James Carew and, finally, Airton Cozzolino, who as the single elimination winner is already waiting in the final... and must be beaten twice.

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