Kite tour heads to Brazil for title decider

Published 10th October 2023 by Ian MacKinnon


  • Kite-Surf and Hydrofoil-Freestyle world titles on the line in showdown in Brazil

  • Vital stop for Freestyle championship contenders as race intensifies in Cauipe

Copa Kitley GKA Freestyle-Kite World Cup Brazil
Cauipe Lagoon, 8-11 November, 2023

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

Copa Kitley GKA Hydrofoil-Freestyle Kite World Cup Brazil
Cauipe, 14-17 November, 2023

The Qatar Airways GKA Kite World Tour is set to land in Cauipe, north-eastern Brazil, for three separate events, with world championship crowns up for grabs in two disciplines.

The Copa Kitley GKA Kite-Surf World Cup Brazil, from 14–17 November, will crown the overall winners in the Kite-Surf discipline at the fifth and final stop of the globe-trotting tour.

Separately, a second world championship will also be fought out in the Copa Kitley GKA Hydrofoil-Freestyle Kite World Cup Brazil, at a one-off decider in Cauipe.

But first comes the GKA Freestyle-Kite World Cup Brazil, from 8—11 November. It is the fourth call in the Freestyle discipline before the tour heads to Fuwairit Kite Beach, Qatar, for the season finale to crown the world champions.

The title races in all the disciplines are finely poised and wide open. The Brazil stops hold out the prospect of mouthwatering action as the athletes clash to press their bids for the coveted crowns.

In the men’s Freestyle discipline the battle at the top of the order is tight between the current world champion, Italy’s Gianmaria Coccoluto, and Brazil’s Carlos Mario.

Back on track

Four-times Freestyle world champion Mario, who will be competing at his home spot on Cauipe Lagoon, tops the world rankings after three rounds and is hungry for another title. At the last stop in Dunkerque, France, he finished equal first after the conditions meant the final could not be completed.

Coccoluto also topped the order in France. He sits second in the rankings just a few points behind Mario, but he also revels in flat-water lagoons of Brazil, where he clinched his first world title a year ago.

The women’s Freestyle title race is equally intriguing. Brazil’s Bruna Kajiya leads in the standings with two wins, ahead of Spain’s Claudia León, who took the second podium place in Dunkerque.

Reigning world champion, the US’s Mikaili Sol, sits third in the rankings. She won the second stop in Salinas del Rey, Colombia, but had to drop out of the competition in France at the last moment due to injury.

The 18-year-old, four-times Freestyle world champion, Sol, will be hoping to get her title defence back on track in Brazil, ahead of the closing call in Qatar, home of the tour’s title sponsors.

Four-way fight

The title race in the women’s Kite-Surf discipline is tough to call. Moona Whyte (USA) heads the standings with three wins, all in the pure wave format. But Hawaii-based Whyte sat out the leg in Sylt, Germany, and took it as her discard as it was fought out in her less-favoured strapless-freestyle format.

In Cauipe, the Kite-Surf discipline could be contested in pure wave, pure strapless-freestyle or a mixed format, depending on the conditions. But it seems likely that Cauipe will be contested in a mix of waves and strapless-freestyle, with wave rides and tricks counting for the scores.

That could leave the door open for Whyte’s closest rivals, France’s Capucine Delannoy, and Camille Losserand, from Switzerland. Seventeen-year-old Delannoy is the current Kite-Surf world champion, but also has a strong strapless-freestyle repertoire in her locker.

Losserand can go one better. She is the current Qatar Airways GKA Big Air Surfboard Kite World Champion, a discipline that also demands strapless-freestyle mastery, and her wave surfing is improving quickly.

The men’s battle for the crown looks like a four-way fight. But it is the Cape Verdeans Airton Cozzolino (ITA) and Matchu Lopes (ESP) who are separated by only a few points at the head of the order and must be considered odds-on favourites for the crown.

Bitter rivalry

The bitter rivalry between the two was on show when they faced-off early in the last round in Dakhla, Morocco, where Cozzolino had the edge. Lopes scored his second consecutive ninth-place finish as a result, after winning the opening two rounds. Cauipe is bound to produce fireworks.

Pedro Matos, competing on home waters, could yet cause an upset. The young Brazilian defeated Cozzolino in Morocco and went on to get his first event win, leaving him third in the overall standings. Another Brazilian Sebastian Ribeiro is fourth overall and cannot be ruled out in a shout for the title.

The final world title up for grabs in Cauipe will be the Hydrofoil-Freestyle crown. It will likely be fought over by a select fleet of men, but it is difficult to see anyone unseating the current world champion, France’s Charles Brodel, whose record in recent years has been flawless.

Brodel has four Hydrofoil world titles to his name, but his fellow countryman Maxime-Luan Desjardins, Maxime Chabloz (SUI) and the Dominican Republic’s Alex Soto, will no doubt want to make the world champion earn another crown.

Join us for the action in Cauipe Lagoon here and Cauipe Beach here.

words: Ian MacKinnon
images: Svetlana Romantsova

Spot Info

Cauipe Lagoon offers butter-flat waters and constant winds. It is perfect for freestyle and many pros train there during the European winter months. Cauipe Lagoon, outside Cumbuco village and 30kms from Fortaleza, forms at low tide. The lagoon, surrounded by sand dunes and palm trees, is separated from the sea by a low sandbar. That ensures the water inside is always smooth. Outside the sandbar, the wide beach is bathed by wind swell driven by the 18 to 25 knots of north-easterly breeze.

November is the driest month in Cauipe. The air temperature during day can be between 32°C, the highest temperatures, and the lowest of 24°C. The water temperature of the sea is around 27°C, so nothing more than a summer shorty is required.  Sunrise is at about 05.30 and sunset is 17.30.

Easterly winds blow sideshore in Cauipe, between 15–25 knots. You can find the most accurate online wind forecasts on Windguru and Windy.

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