Champions Cozzolino, Delannoy, and Whyte all end years on a high

Published 17th November 2023 by Liam Dredge


Event and world champions lift the trophies during a memorable day of competition in Brazil

Copa Kitley GKA Kite-Surf World Cup Cauipe
Cauipe, 14-17 November, 2023

Coming into day three, we knew the event and the world champions would be crowned. With so much at stake for numerous competitors, the final day of the Qatar Airways GKA Kite World Tour on the Kite-Surf 2023 calendar was set to provide drama, tension, and excitement for both riders and fans beachside but also, around the globe.

For the past two days, we’ve seen top riders struggle with conditions and turn it around when it’s mattered most. It hasn’t been an easy spot for everyone to find their groove, however, day three from the early hours looked promising with wind and waves.

The riders and spectators were more fired up than ever to witness greatness on this final day of competition.  

Champions crowned

Both Airton Cozzolino (ITA) and Moona Whyte (USA) will cast their names once again on the world championship by concreting their victories in the semi-finals. With Matchu Lopes (ESP) missing out on a final spot after losing to Gabriel Benetton (BRA), all Cozzolino had to do was beat his teammate and also world title contender, Pedro Matos (BRA) in his semi-final. 

Although Matos just edged it in the waves, Cozzolino threw down the hammer with a huge 8.60 Shifty Front Side 3 that was enough to cross the line and take the world title. The Italian, coming out of Cabo Verde, had his game face on all day and had work to do because Matos’ waves scored 7.33 and 6.20, whereas Cozzolino netted 6.20 and 6.40. The big 8.60 for that freestyle manoeuvre was essential in snapping up the title. 

Cozzolino then went on to battle Gabriel Benetton (BRA) in the overall event final. Benetton, a rider who thrives in this format, beat Sebastian Ribeiro (BRA) in the quarters, nailing two freestyle tricks. Experienced surfer Riberio, had the better waves but Benneton dominated in the freestyle with a 7.47 for a Double Front Roll, which was enough to then go on and also beat Matchu Lopes.

Cozzolino does the double

Coming straight off his world championship crown, Airton Cozzolino faced a tough battle against first-time finalist, Gabriel Benetton. The two riders were going blow for blow as the seesaw was swinging from one to the other. Cozzolino opened up with a 5.70 wave with Gabriel answering back a 5.40. Following this Airton caught another good set and managed to have two wave scores counting, with the second a 6.57.

Benetton had other ideas. A 9.07 Double Front Shove-it got the crowd screaming. From this, he now led the final and put pressure on the Italian. Cozzolino’s competition experience then kicked as he obliterated a monster Shifty Frontside 3 which scored a near-perfect 9.50. Benetton’s second score, a 6.60 Double Frontroll, was not enough to push back into the lead and as time ticked, the buzzer sounded giving Cozzolino yet another win on what will be a memorable day for the champ.

Whyte hits home run

Moona Whyte once again showed why she’s a multiple world champion. After a break from competition, 2023 saw her return to the tour with a bang. She needed a third-place finish or better to take the crown from the defending world champion, Capucine Delannoy (FRA). 

“I’m so happy, I can’t believe what just happened. It’s so hard out there but I’m so happy to make it through. I felt like I wasn’t doing very well but I found the best of what was out there”

In Whyte’s way, none other than Camille Losserand (SUI). However, Whyte’s experience in the waves shined bright. She connected two glorious waves which both scored above the 7.00, leaving Losserand scrambling as she couldn’t quite find rhythm during her semi-final. 

Losserand then had to fight for third against Kesiane Rodrigues (BRA), who couldn’t keep up with Capucine Delannoy in their semi-final. Delannoy was on fire during that heat, scoring a 6.90 wave and a massive 8.83 for a Double Frontroll. Delannoy was then able to line up a vengeance with Whyte later in the final but, Rodrigues bounced back. Finishing in third Rodrigues only just edged the mini-final win against Losserand, by 0.87 of a point.

Delannoy turns the tables

After losing to Whyte in all her previous finals this year, Delannoy was finally able set the record straight. Knowing the world title was no longer within her grasp, she threw down her best heat of the competition beating Whyte in the final to end her year on a high. 

Once again, Whyte scored better in the waves but Delannoy’s freestyle skills prevailed. This included the best individual score of the competition, a 9.00 for a perfect Double Frontroll. It was a move that Delannoy has done time and time again, but when it mattered most she got it done. 

The young French rider put the disappointment of losing her world title behind her.  She ends her 2023 year with her second event win.

Copa Kitley GKA Kite-Surf World Cup Brazil 2023 results

1 Airton Cozzolino (ITA)
2 Gabriel Benetton (BRA)
3 Matchu Lopes (ESP)
4 Pedro Matos (BRA)

1 Capucine Delannoy (FRA)
2 Moona Whyte (USA)
3 Kesiane Rodrigues (BRA)
4 Camille Losserand (SUI)

Qatar Airways GKA Kite-Surf World Tour World Champion Results

1 Airton Cozzolino (ITA)
2 Matchu Lopes (ESP)
3 Pedro Matos (BRA)

1 Moona Whyte (USA)
2 Capucine Delannoy (FRA)
3 Camille Losserand (SUI)

2024 is around the corner

After five events during 2023, we finish with Airton Cozzolino (ITA) and Moona Whyte (USA) as our world champions. With the tour starting in Cape Verde, our riders then competed over in Rio, Sylt, and Dakhla and now have finished in the warm waters of Brazil.

We’ve had everything this year and with it all coming down to the final event we now can’t wait to see what the 2024 calendar holds for us. To check out next year’s locations click here, and start getting excited for the best of the best to once again battle it out across the world.

words: Liam Dredge
images: Svetlana Romantsova

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