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Copa Kitley GKA Kite-Surf & Hydrofoil-Freestyle World Cups Brazil - Day 2

by Jim Gaunt 25 Nov 2022 04:09 PST 23-27 November 2022

Coming into day two of the Copa Kitley GKA Kite-Surf World Cup Brazil, the top four riders were still mathematically in with a chance of claiming the world title at this second and final event of the 2022 season. (Airton Cozzolino is absent at this event through injury in South Africa, however is also out of the championship running after finishing fifth in Morocco in round one.)

Current Kite-Surf World Tour rankings:

    1. James Carew (AUS) 1000 points
    2. Sebastian Ribeiro (BRA) 870
    3. Matchu Lopes (ESP) 770
    3. Mad Ali Beqqali (MOR) 700

As the atmosphere built during an early morning skipper's meeting, the clouds stopped the wind from building and the tide continued to drop.

By the time the action resumed for the remaining heats of round three, a big spring tide was revealing challenges of its own with rocks evident in the shoreline; previously unseen in the week.

Smaller wave conditions and lighter winds faced riders in rounds three and four.

Swell selection was key with the better riders able to maximise what critical sections there were, using tight kite control to stay close to the wave.

Highest wave and combo score of the event at that stage came in round three from World Champ James Carew (19.73) against Luke Millard and Gray Foster. Scoring an 8 point wave ride in these small conditions shows just how much of a diverse hitting game Carew can bring to any situation, with airs, 360s and more - staying constantly connected with the wave. Like all round three winners, he was directly through to round five.

Round Four

Round four was a last chance for riders who had finished second and third in round three. Gabriel Benetton, Camille Delannoy and Kiko Roig all took advantage of their aerial skills with slick double front rolls carrying them through.

Round Five

The wind and wave situation finally picked up early in round five and the remaining afternoon action played out in highly contestable and, more typical, Taiba conditions.

In round five heat two, it was top five tour rider from Rio de Janeiro, Pedro Matos, who pushed the top heat score higher - 20.70 - with a heat full of new school, pure surf-style riding.

In heat six another Brazilian, Gabriel Benetton, really hit his stride with a double front shuvit and then a fully loose, fins out surfing attack against Reece Myerscough. Benetton smashed through to 24.40 points... but his day was about to get even better!

Round Five results:

R5 H8 James Carew (AUS) 20.70 / Kiko Roig ESP) 11.70
R5 H7 Leonardo Grangeiro (BRA) 16.60 / Camille Delannoy (FRA) 13.50
R5 H6 Gabriel Benetton (BRA) 24.40 / Reece Myerscough (CAN) 14.14
R5 H5 Sebastian Ribeiro (BRA) 16.14 / Francesco Cappuzzo (ITA) 13.49
R5 H4 Matchu Lopes (ESP) 13.77 / Yaris Dellomo (ITA) 12.83
R5 H3 Nicola Abadjiev (BUL) 13.87 / Wesley Silva 12.30
R5 H1 Hendrick Lopes (CHE) 14.67 / Artur Morais (BRA) 14.47

Quarter-Finals

Fast forward to the quarter finals and Gabriel took out one of the leading Championship contenders in a thrilling, all-Brazilian, frontside versus backside encounter.

Number two in the rankings, Sebastien Ribeiro was suddenly out of the competition.

Quarter Final results:

James Carew (AUS) 17.37 / Leonardo Grangeiro (BRA) 11.03
Gabriel Benetton (BRA) 19.43 / Sebastian Ribeiro (BRA) 17.07
Matchu Lopes (ESP) 17.54 / Nicola Abadjiev (BUL) 15.24
Pedro Matos (BRA) 17.53 / Hendrick Lopes (SUI) 16.76

Semi-Finals to come on Day 3 (Friday):

  • Pedro Matos (BRA) V Matchu Lopes
  • Gabriel Benetton (BRA) V James Carew (AUS)

The championship now comes down to Matchu Lopes chasing James Carew down, but he needs James to lose in the semi-finals.

Matchu came through a tight quarter final against Nicola Abadjiev. Clearly down about his performance with several missed tricks, Lopes hopes that was just an 'off-day'.

Matchu will ride in the first semi-final against Pedro Matos. If Matchu loses that heat, the Championship will be James Carew's.

But... if Matchu beats Pedro, the pressure shifts to the second semi-final.

Regardless of what Matchu achieves, though... if James Carew can beat the highest performer of the event, Brazilian Gabriel Benetton in the second semi-final, then the Australian will be assured of claiming back-to-back World Championships.

Should Gabriel beat James in the second semi-final and Matchu goes on to win the event, then Matchu will be top of the world for the second time in his career, having previously won the first GKA Kite World Tour title in 2016.

So... is there much riding on all this then? You bet there is!

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