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GKA Kite-Surf World Cup Morocco kicks off

by Gemma Hamaini 28 Oct 06:11 PDT 6-11 September 2021

The GKA Kite-Surf World Cup returns to Dakhla, one of the most spectacular locations of the GKA Kite World Tour.

Dakhla, Morocco welcomed back the World Tour athletes for the 11th edition of the Prince Moulay El Hassan Kite-Surf World Cup at the world-renowned spot of Foum Labouir. This location is known for epic waves and consistent wind, making it the ideal place for the final kite-surf event of this year.

The pressure is high after our last event in Denmark where no result was achieved due to the lack of wind, so it all comes down to this week here in the Moroccan desert. The top contenders will leave nothing to chance, with the World Titles hanging closer than ever.

There are various scenarios that could make or break a World Champion at this final event. If Australian leader James Carew makes it into the Quarter Finals, he will officially be crowned as World Champion here in Dakhla. However, if he gets knocked out, the door is left open for Matchu Lopes, Pedro Matos and Airton Cozzolino, who are not going to give up without a fight.

For the women, Peri Roberts is ready to stand her ground, and will also be crowned World Champion if she reaches the Semi-Finals. In the case that Roberts gets knocked out, Charlotte Carpentier and Johanna Catherina Edin both stand a chance if they reach the finals and win this event.

Registration and opening ceremony

There are 30 men and nine women of 14 different nationalities registered to compete at this final kite-surf event of the year. The opening ceremony took place at the event site of Foum Labouir next to West Point hotel. Local authorities welcomed the athletes and organization for the 11th edition of this event.

The day one action

The event kicked off at 12.45 pm with Men's Round 1 where the winners of each heat advanced directly to Round 3. It was Samuel Michaille, Ali Beqqali, Pablo Amores and Hendrick Lopes who moved through. Round 2 gave an opportunity to Reda Lafdali and Achraf Bentajar who also advanced into Round 3 and remained in the competition.

The sun came out and the wind conditions started to stabilise as we entered Round 3, where the big names came out and the title race started to heat up. The criteria remained the same, and athletes were given 10 waves with the top two scores counting. Three athletes per heat battled to advance directly to Round 5, which is a massive advantage both mentally and physically, allowing them to rest during Round 4.

There were some standout performers from this round such as Sebastien Riberio from Brazil who had the highest score of the day with 16.3 points.

"I'm so stoked to win my heat, but at the same time I'm still nervous as I haven't competed since Cabo Verde, which was almost two years ago," said Sebastien Ribeiro. "For my first wave, I was trying to just surf and stay calm. I said to myself, just do what you need to do. Then I started to really warm up. It's a lot of different feelings, and I'm just really stoked to be here."

Canadian rider Reece Myerscough also rode a fluid heat. The conditions were not easy, although the wind was stable, the sets were few and far between, meaning the riders had to really make the most of every wave that they caught. Current leader James Carew ended the day with a strong and dominant performance for Heat 14, showing that he means business and has come to this event with only one objective: To win his very first World Champion title.

The action will continue tomorrow with Round 4 of the Men and Round 1 of the Women. Things will start to get interesting as we reach the elimination rounds, where only the strongest will remain standing.

The first possible start has been called for 10am, so be sure to tune in as we may possibly crown a new World Champion if the conditions allow.

Live-stream will be running from the start of competition with all of the wave action, rider interviews and much more.

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