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Visit Qatar GKA Freestyle-Kite World Cup - Update

by Jim Gaunt 4 Feb 14:47 PST 31 January - 4 February 2023

Just under 90 minutes north of Doha, Fuwairit Kite Beach resort hosts round one of the 2023 Qatar Airways GKA Kite World Tour and this event is fully focused on the Freestyle discipline.

The venue for the Visit Qatar Freestyle-Kite World Cup is a stunning landlocked lagoon directly in front of the resort facilities, delivering world class flat water conditions. Click here to open the event live page where you'll find the livestreams, highlight videos, elimination ladders and live scores.

It was an early start this morning on Day four (Friday 03 February) with skipper's meeting at 06.30am with the action under way at 07.10am. Men's quarter final #4 was the first order of business with Gianmaria Coccoluto, Valentin Garat, Posito Martinez and Juan Rodriguez returning to the water to complete their heat which had been abandoned on day two in light winds.

Catch up on Friday morning's action
Men's quarter-final #4 and semi-finals - See all previous heat scores on the event live page here

Quarter-Final 04
Gianmaria Coccoluto (ITA) / Valentin Garat (FRA) /Posito Martinez (DOM) / Pedro Alexandre (BRA)

Abandoned on day two because of dropping winds, the re-start of the last men's quarter final saw a cool, calm and very collected performance from reigning champion Coccoluto. The Italian took a convincing heat win as the only rider to collect all seven variety points on offer, after landing a front blind mobe, backside 315, crowmobe 5 and KGB 5 as his four highest scoring tricks which were all from different trick families.

Despite a couple of crashes in his seven trick attempts, Dominican Posito Martinez followed Cocco to the semis, claiming four variety points as he scored tricks from three different families.

Quarter Final 4 result:

  • Gianmaria Coccoluto (ITA) 32.93 (7 variety points)
  • Posito Martinez (DOM) 24.80 (4)
  • Valentin Garat (FRA) 16.77 (4)
  • Pedro Alexandre (BRA) 3.70 (1)

Gianmaria livestream interview:
"After a long break without kiting in the new year, I need to perform well here. The conditions are good with flat water and I'm happy with my performance. I really like the new format because we're start to see some new tricks, like toeside tricks, rewinds and mummy wrapped. I did some toeside tricks and combos in my heat, it's really fun and nice to see something new in the heat for everyone. So looks promising."

Semi-Final 01
Valentin Rodriguez (COL) / Louka Pitot (FRA) / Manoel Soares (BRA) / Posito Martinez (DOM)

In strengthening winds, but with riders still on 13m kites, Posito Martinez was looking lit on his powered passes and seemed to be suffering with butt checking several landings.

2019 World Champion Valentin Rodriguez was looking very fresh in the early morning hours. Just beyond the halfway point in the heat with three tricks to go this was shaping up to be a battle for first and second between the Colombian and Brazilian Manoel Soares, who finished runner-up in last year's championship.

Indeed, Valentin did all the damage in his first four tricks, which were all very clean and perfectly judged to hit the full 7 points for variety across four families: backmobe 5, KGB 7, crow mobe 5 and backside 317. He was well set for the final.

As we reached the last two trick attempts for each rider, Louka Pitot once again super charged his overall heat score by demonstrating that he's a leading contender here when it comes to the combo trick family, particularly with toeside tricks.

Demonstrating very clean take-offs and smooth rotations, his seventh and final combo trick linked a crow mobe into a back-to-wrapped, finished off with another crow mobe! The judges are looking for quality not quantity in these combos and we saw some riders pick up only very low scores for trying to link three average tricks rather than two good ones. However, this particular three-trick combo was excellent, scoring 6.87. That completed the four trick family bonus score for the Mauritius resident and with that he hopped ahead of Manoel Soares to take second place and was propelled into his first GKA Kite World Tour final instead of the Brazilian.

Manoel himself had ridden a good heat, which included the highest trick score of the morning with an 8.10 for a huge heart attack 7. Sacrificing three super valuable points by hitting just three trick families overall, he earned four variety points rather than seven, and you can see the crushing damage that did to him below:

Semi-Final 01 result

  • Valentin Rodriguez (COL) 33.53 (7 variety points) (Into the final)
  • Louka Pitot (FRA) 32.94 (7) (Into the final)
  • Manoel Soares (BRA) 32.43 (4)
  • Posito Martinez (DOM) 22.72 (4)

Valentin and Louka livestream interviews:
Val: "I had a good heat, I did all my tricks, didn't crash much but just butt checked a couple of heart attack 5s. I was a bit frustrated that some tricks didn't score as they should have, but I still got the win, so I'm pretty stoked because that's all that matters. Hopefully in the final they can push the scores to how I feel they were deserved, ha ha."

Louka: "Super happy! It's my first ever final at a GKA event. I joined this year with a new format which seems to be to my advantage and I'm really enjoying it. The combo saved me in this heat and I'm excited to see a good final first. The conditions are epic right now, let's see what happens."

Semi-Final 02
Carlos Mario (BRA) / Karim Mahmoud (MOR) / Juan Rodriguez (COL) / Gianmaria Coccoluto (ITA)

Looking every inch a four time World Champion at the start of the heat, Carlos Mario rode the lagoon with ease, firing off an incredibly clean trio of tricks in the first half of the heat: backside 7, heart attack 7 and a front blind mobe gave him the early advantage on the scoreboard.

The second half of his heat was more splintered for the Brazilian with a crash and lower combination scores, In contrast Gianmaria's slower initial start picked up pace very impressively towards the end of the heat.

Showing perhaps the best adaptation to this new format, the Italian picked off the families very confidently upgrading both his early front blind mobe with a nose and tail grab on trick six and he then turned his crow mobe on trick three into a crow mobe 5 on trick seven.

Cocco's fourth trick was a beautiful combo, linking a backside 313 into a front blind mobe, but even that didn't feature in his top four tricks, which were a backside 315, KGB 5, front blind mobe and a crow mobe 5. So in fact he landed tricks across five families in his heat.

Coccoluto looks slick, assured and is bringing the sort of form that landed him the world title in Brazil last year.

Although Juan Rodriguez struggled to make clean landings; possibly forced into mistakes while on the hunt to hit different families, he did indeed hit tricks across four families, earning the full 7 variety points. When the final scores were in, those extra points brought him up much closer to Carlos Mario in second than he otherwise would have been.

Two crashes at the start followed by a big butt checked landing put too much pressure on Mahmoud's remaining four tricks, but he did manage to stomp slick KGB 5 for 6.90 points on trick five that drew the applause on the beach. No doubt, the teenager is a hot one to watch in the coming months.

Semi-Final 02 result

  • Gianmaria Coccoluto (ITA) 34.54 (7 variety points) (Into the final)
  • Carlos Mario (BRA) 29.87 (4) (Into the final)
  • Juan Rodriguez (COL) 27.84 (7)
  • Karim Mahmoud (EGY) 26.77 (7)

Gianmaria and Carlos livestream interviews:
Gianmaria: "The wind was lighter in the first heat and it was super early morning, but the wind picked up in this second heat and the water is flatter. I managed to do some good tricks and made it to the final again. I'm really happy."

Carlos: "I'm so happy. Vamos my heat. The conditions are perfect and it's super flat. The wind is so so good. I'm so happy."

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