GKA Kite-Surf World Cup Sylt 2021 Day 1

Published 17th August 2021 by Andrea Susanne Opielka


Tuesday 18th August

Report: Holly Keenan / All photos: Lukas Stiller / Video: Mintautas Grigas

Day 1 of competition here in stormy Sylt and we were flying through the heats!  The stage was set for the competition to commence and the howling winds blew the riders into action.

After 14 years of competing, the pioneer of strapless freestyle and all-round legend, Mitu Monteiro announced that he will not be joining us on the tour this year. The veteran is idolised by many of the younger riders on the tour and is without a doubt, the biggest inspiration, behind the strapless freestyle tricks we see today. Whilst his cheerful personality will be missed greatly on the tour this year, we wish him all the best in his new endeavours and hope to see him return to the tour in the future. 

With 25- 30kts winds forecast over the next two days the judges have decided they wanted to get through as many heats as possible to make the most out of the awesome conditions!

The judges will be using a mixed format, meaning the two best strapless freestyle moves and the two best waves would count towards the riders final scores.

The riders were suited and booted and ready to battle it out in the stormy conditions that awaited them. In the men’s competition we had 26 riders entered and in the women’s we had 10 riders.

We started the competition with men’s dingle elimination, running round 1 and 2 heats, 10 minute heats with a 3-minute transition time.

The standout in round 1 was for sure the young German rider, Keanu Martens (DEU). At only 16 years old Keanu is the youngest male competitor in the competition and he is definitely one to keep your eye on.

Keanu was on fire pulling off a huge backroll tic-tac at the beginning of the heat and ending with a big kite loop board off. Keanu managed to take the heat win over the local German rider, Alex Middeler.

Moving on to round 3 and one of the most notable riders had to be the Italian shredder, Francesco Cappuzzo (ITA). Just one day previous to arriving at the competition here in Sylt,  Cappuzzo had won GWA European WingFoil Race in Switzerland. Today Cappuzzo proved to us that he is the ultimate waterman, battling it out in the stormy conditions and advancing through to round 6.

We caught up with Capuzzo to find out more about how he was finding the competition so far. “I was stressed in the first heat of the day as we had not competed in a while and I also had high expectations for myself after winning the European wing foil race. Nevertheless, after finishing my second heat I felt less stressed and I am now prepared to battle it out in the heats to come”.

In Round 4 we had the Australian shredder James Carew (AUS) take centre stage. Carew was pulling of some sensational moves and putting on a spectacular show for the spectators. James started off the heat with a huge Kiteloop Frontroll, scoring a solid 8.33. After a few crashes James managed to pull things together. He went on to land the biggest trick of the competition so far, scoring a whopping 9.67 on a F360 off a wave which saw him easily take the wind in round 4 with the highest score of the event so far at 35.28!

On to the women’s division and we had a spectacular heat between the 3x Twintip freestyle World Champion, Karolina Winkowska (POL), rising star, Capucine Delannoy (BRA) and local shredder, Susanne Schwarztrauber (DEU).

Before the heat commenced, we caught up with Winkowska to find out what drew her back into the competition, in particular the Kite-Surf GKA events.

“I have been riding waves and strapless freestyle for years but mainly just for my own enjoyment. I have always wanted to compete in Kite-Surf events but didn’t feel my level was good enough. After the pandemic hit and there were no events planned, I was missing the competition buzz and riding with other girls. So, when I saw the GKA was running an event in Sylt I decided to enter and have fun on the water with all the other riders and just enjoy competing again”.

The heat started with Karolina pulling off a solid brackroll board off, but Capucine was quick to answer back with an even bigger front roll board off! Capucine continued to pull off some powerful moves, putting on a great show for the spectators. It was Capucine who took the win and will advance straight through to round 5.

The forecast is looking solid for the next day and we are inching ever closer to the finals. Make sure to get your rest to stay tuned for the full day of action!

Check out the highlight video for a visual depiction of the first day of action.

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