The Fightback is ON! – Dakhla Day 9 catch-up

Published 12th October 2019 by Andrea Susanne Opielka



Current discipline: Kite-Surf  (Freestyle was completed in the first 5 days of this double discipline event before we moved onto kite-surf on Wednesday)
Judging Criteria:  1 Freestyle trick and 2 best wave scores count 
Double elimination. Due to smaller conditions, the format has changed to bring in some freestyle: riders get six attempts for a freestyle trick and 15 waves – the best freestyle trick and two best waves count 

Wind: 15 – 20 knots
Waves: The contest site moved a little way downwind to take advantage of a playable shorebreak   

Report: Jim Gaunt
Photos: Ydwer van der Heide 
Video: Oliver Umpierre 

Click here for all heat notes. 

Airton’s fantastic five heat comeback saw the very best of him (yes, including his amazing backside 3s) and has set-up a re-match on the very last day of the GKA Kite World Cup Dakhla tomorrow with Reece Myerscough in the double elimination semi finals.

In the women’s event, Carla Herrera-Oria made it back from rock bottom to face Kirsty Jones in the final, which was postponed at the very end of the day due to rapidly fading wind and light.

What a penultimate day it turned out to be here in Dakhla after a very unpromising, mushy start.


As you’ll see in the livestream below, the competition got underway at high tide with difficult shore break waves to contend with that were breaking very close in. The wind switched to an offshore direction around lunchtime and went on hold for over two hours. Once the wind came back round to the more favourable cross-shore direction it also increased in power and, as the tide dropped away a little, although the waves were still small, they started to clean up.

Switching the format
Switching format to maximise the heat power

The race director and head judge decided to change the format from pure wave to a combination of one freestyle trick and two waves counting – which would give riders more chances to increase their scores if they didn’t have many waves in their heat. This is a combination world tour and this format is perfect for these riders to really show how adaptable kite-surfing is to the conditions on the day.

This also played perfectly into Airton’s hands in particular as he loves this combination approach… but could he stay at 110% in back to back heats? 

The judges would allow each rider six attempts at a freestyle trick and 15 wave riding attempts. The format made for exciting viewing in this already enthralling double elimination in which riders who were knocked out of the single eliminations early started to fight their way back up the ladder.

GKA Kite World Cup Dakhla
Airton V Keahi was just one of the day's big classic encounters

It’s rare to see Airton and Keahi de Aboitiz knocked out of the single eliminations early… but it always makes the double eliminations more exciting – and these two champions would face off in their second heats of the day. Only one would go on…

Find all the heat reports and elimination ladder info from the day here.

Scroll through the livestream below.

Today's livestream

As the women’s final was postponed mid heat because the light faded and wind dropped, Airton’s re-match with Reece will also now run tomorrow. The two tour leaders on their big comebacks will be pleased for the break this evening. Airton and Carla both won five heats in quick succession in their double elimination charge up the leaderboard and now get the chance to come back fresh against the highest performers so far at this event. 

Follow the action tomorrow on the final day in Dakhla on the live page here. 

Catch up on the previous single elimination highlights

Image for Excitement mounts as GKA Awards approach

Excitement mounts as GKA Awards approach

Cape Town prepares for kiting's biggest night of the year as entries for expanded 'Move of the Year' awards start to roll in

Read this article
Image for First Kite Park Worlds set for Hood River

First Kite Park Worlds set for Hood River

GKA teams up with Kite Park League for maiden world championships in emblematic venue

Read this article
Image for GKA joins forces with Brunotti in new tie-up

GKA joins forces with Brunotti in new tie-up

GKA partnership with iconic sports-focused lifestyle brand showcases apparel to worldwide kitesurfing audience

Read this article
Image for Big Air Worlds close with look to the future

Big Air Worlds close with look to the future

With a final prize giving and rider beach cleanup, Big Air World Championship 2024 season is put in perspective

Read this article