Double Bubble for Carew in Brazil!

Published 25th November 2022 by Andrea Susanne Opielka


The Australian makes it back to back Kite-Surf world titles with this event win at the Copa Kitley GKA Kite-Surf World Cup Brazil.

Find out what happened in the previous heats on day two, here


James Carew and Matchu Lopes would contest the 2022 world championship on day three of the Copa Kitley GKA Kite-Surf World Cup Brazil, the second and final event of the season.

Carew was the reigning champion, but Lopes was the GKA’s first World Champion in 2016.

Both were on the hunt for their second title.




Matchu Lopes was up first in his semi final against Pedro Matos, knowing that if he lost, the title would be James’s.

Pedro Matos (BRA) 21.66 V Matchu Lopes (ESP) 19.23

Matos made it work in rolling swell against Matchu, maximising his moments in the steeper sections. Combining great wave selection and an incredible pure surf-style to stay connected to the wave on his frontside, in the end Pedro’s higher number of turns, combined with pops and fins-out hacks, led to an overall wave attack that was more aggressive and critical than Matchu on his back hand.

Although Matchu landed a really nice unhooked backside 3 early in the heat to set the bar high for his freestyle trick, he only scored 6.50 and Pedro’s late front shuvit also scored higher with 6.73.

Next up, Carew’s semi-final against Gabriel Benetton. Already World Champion thanks to Matchu’s defeat, James had declined a livestream interview in favour of purely focusing on the event win.

James Carew (AUS) 23.50 / Gabriel Benetton (BRA) 17.93

This was a truly dramatic heat. James’s leash snapped in the first few minutes on a 313 attempt, so he was left to swim in, grab new gear (the first of four gear changes that saw him switching between wave gear and freestyle gear, including after breaking a board on a big back roll kite loop!).

He had to come back from far behind in the heat, but the Australian’s brutal, no-holds-barred wave and freestyle attack eventually pummelled his heat score above Gabriel’s.

Right at the death, James managed to nail the 313 that had caused him the drama early in the heat, and earned a whopping 8.43 for it!

Safe in the knowledge he’d retained his World Championship, he was desperate to go on to win this event.

James Carew (AUS) 22.23 / Pedro Matos (BRA) 19.00

James’s last wave of the final was just a perfect example of ultimate power surfing and showed just how much of a competitive beast he is, in terms of both pure wave attack and freestyle. The most all-round and highly charged of riders, Carew was well deserving of this event win and world title.

As he did in the semi-final, Carew came from behind in this final, proving you just cannot rest against this man until the buzzer sounds.

Pedro was rightly in the final of an event that rewarded pure surf-style attack and power and this was a closely matched heat right up to the end. Both riders claimed waves in the final moments that could have forced the win.

Carew’s extra fire power, hunger, total focus and hard freestyle training (he landed another frontside 3 in the final) brought him the win here and his second world title in this combination wave and strapless freestyle world tour.

James: “That was insane. I came here for the win and the world title and I got them both. Smoked them; it’s over. Going home happy, bags full, that’s it! Got to get another one now. Three from three?”

Pedro: “Competing against James is always difficult. The high tide was much harder. I won the Brazilian championship a few weeks ago and now made the final. It’s going good.”


James Carew has always had a solid wave game, but a few years ago he seriously committed to improving his freestyle.

Now, for the second year in a row, he is the world champion in a discipline that rewards the most complete rider.

Gabriel Benetton 17.50 V Matchu Lopes 13.78

In the mini-final, Gabriel Benetton squeezed Matchu Lopes into fourth, making it a well deserved double podium for Brazil at an event where so many locals have shined so brightly. Matchu has once again, however, showed us all that he is perhaps still the most fluid rider in the game on his back hand. 

Copa Kitley GKA Kite World Cups 23 - 27th November:

Be sure to join us on day four for the climax to the women’s Kite-Surf and men’s Hydrofoil-Freestyle seasons. First possible start time Saturday 26th November: 08.00am (GMT -3)

This event in Taiba is a double header, where Kite-Surf and Hydrofoil-Freestyle World Champions will be crowned. Competing this week are 13 male Hydrofoil-Freestylers, 28 male Kite-Surf and 16 female Kite-Surf riders.

The Copa Kitley GKA Kite-Surf World Cup Brazil is round two for the wave & strapless-freestyle riders. Round one ran in Dakhla, Morocco in early October. See the action from that event here.

The Copa Kitley GKA Hydrofoil-Freestyle World Cup Brazil is a one-off, winner takes all event.


Words: Jim Gaunt
Photos: Svetlana Romantsova
Cameras: Julien Leleu & Diogo Cardoso
Video edits: Carlos Ortola

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