In 17 years, I have never seen anyone bottom turn as hard and tight on their frontside as Airton. He actually comes out of his turn with more speed, rather than less, which means that his smacks at the top of the wave are simply outstanding. Pure power surfing. Eight waves in and his first two scores still remained his best, however. Airton’s the ultimate competitor. Like a world class sprinter he can power out of the blocks, start on a high and put his opponent under pressure from the start.
It was a quiet few minutes for the Australian until he managed a 5.23, taking him up to 12.18. He worked his way all the way down a really long wave from one side of the competition box to the other but managed only three turns because there had been so much white water to evade.
Wave ten for Airton was spectacular and obviously going to get a big score. An 8.83 dropped, made up of the most vertical animalistic succession of turns and hits – perfectly at the lip every time and never out of the critical section. I hope we can show you that wave in full on the highlights video. It was absolutely incredible.
Waves started to shape up bigger and right at the end of the heat James pulled in looking for the cover up once more. It didn’t happen. A minute later he got another opportunity – this time he went in and pulled out punching emphatically through the curtain. It wasn’t massive or particularly deep, but he’d found one and it was worth 8.07, bringing him up to 15.02…
In the end the difference was that 8.83 wave where Airton plugged his brain directly into the main power supply of the wave and let the voltage flow through his body, charging that face as hard as any wave has ever been kited from start to finish. Total destruction.
The riders were going so hard that they filled their allotted 15 wave count with five minutes left to go, so it then turned into a free session… and there were highlights!
Airton banked into yet another turn, brushed his fingers in the water as he looked up and saw the chance for shade. He allowed his turn to slow and bring him up the wave where he re-set his rail, pulled in and punched through the curtain. Sadly, no score showed up on the scoreboard – it was wave 17!
Once again a packed heat from these two and an absolute joy to watch: 15 counting waves each. There’s the bell. School’s out.
Airton Cozzolino is the Mauritius champion: 16.7 to 15.02.