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Title holder lands emotional win in Germany

Published 23rd August 2023 by Ian MacKinnon

 

French teenager fights back to come out top in tight final at opening of world cup in North Sea resort of Sylt

Defender GKA Kite-Surf World Cup Sylt, Germany 2023
Brandenburger Strand, 22—27 August

Reigning world champion Capucine Delannoy came from behind in the final of the Defender GKA Kite-Surf World Cup in Sylt, Germany, to take a narrow victory in the opening action of the event.

The French 17-year-old squeezed out the win by less than a point in slightly tricky conditions on the North Sea, with the fluctuating breeze teasing the athletes. Delannoy had suffered successive defeats in recent finals and was overcome with emotion by her return to form.

“It’s been a while since I felt like I was in the flow, so the last months have been pretty challenging,” said Delannoy, holding back the tears. “But I worked really hard to come back to this place. It’s the nicest feeling ever.”

Delannoy’s win on day two of the competition in Sylt puts her back in the hunt to retain her world title after she lost out to Moona Whyte at the first two stops of the kite-surf discipline on the Qatar Airways GKA Kite World Tour.

With two tour stops remaining, Whyte chose to sit out the stop in Sylt. It was staged in her less-favoured strapless freestyle format and she could take it as a discard in the five-event calendar.

Standout performers

The second day in Sylt involved an early start for the athletes as the forecast for the five-day world cup looks difficult and the race director was keen to use any available wind to ensure a result.

In the opening rounds of the men’s competition, the standout performers were Airton Cozzolino (ITA), Reece Myerscough (CAN) and Keanu Merten (GER), before the wind backed off and called a halt to proceedings for the day.

The compact women’s fleet had been on the water first, battling in two and three-person heats. In the awkward breeze the women, on their bigger 12m2 and 15m2 kites, had to run up the beach between their tacks to stay upwind in the competition box.

But the women were still able to put on a great show for the early bird spectators who braved the chilly and overcast conditions.

In the first semi-final Italy’s Sofia Monti pushed Camille Losserand (SUI), the Qatar Airways GKA Big Air Kite World Champion in the Surfboard division. But the Swiss rider’s power and experience was enough to take her to the final.

Showdown in final

The second semi-final saw France’s Zoe Bazile up against her compatriot, Delannoy. Delannoy’s Front Roll One-Footer that scored her 7.00 from a possible 10, and a 6.30 Front Roll, were just too good for her rival.

But Bazile, a relative new-comer to strapless freestyle, found her rhythm in the mini-final to decide the third podium place. Up against Monti, Bazile scored 7.13 for a big Front Roll that helped her to a third place finish.

“I’m so happy to get my first podium,” said Bazile. “I’ve been waiting for this for a long, long time. The conditions were a very light. But at least I could land a Front Roll with Grab.”

The showdown in the final was between the old rivals Losserand and Delannoy. It was a chance for Delannoy to avenge her defeat by the Swiss rider at the Big Air world championships.

But Losserand opened quickly and put three solid scores on the board, while Delannoy crashed her opening tricks from the 10 available and was trailing heavily on the scoreboard.

Big comeback

When the wind dropped out and the heat was postponed until it returned about 30 minutes later, it gave Delannoy a welcome opportunity for a reset.

The Frenchwoman came out swinging and eventually scored 6.33 for a Front Roll and 7.47 for a Front Roll One-Footer that gave her a heat total of 18.37 out of 30 for three counting tricks.

Losserand did not give up easily and pushed to the end, landing a Back Roll Tic-Tac Front Loop Rodeo for 6.27 and 7.00 for a Back Roll Board-Off that helped her to a total of 17.44. It was a fraction short of the win.

“It was close,” said Losserand. “But I did some good tricks that I’m happy about. I think I could have tried the Front Roll Rodeo Tic-Tac, but the wind was a bit missing. I missed that trick at the end, and I think it would’ve made a difference to the scores. I never did it in competition and no woman has landed it. It hurts a bit [to be so close]. But it motivates me more for the next one. So I take strength from it and I will do it better in the next one.”

words: Ian MacKinnon
images: Lukas K Stiller

Defender GKA Kite-Surf World Cup Sylt 2023 results

Women
1 Capucine Delannoy (FRA)
2 Camille Losserand (SUI)
3 Zoe Bazile (FRA)
4 Sofia Monti (ITA)

Spot Info: Sylt
Sylt is Germany’s fourth largest and northern-most island. It is famed for its nature reserve, untamed beauty and 40kms of sandy beaches. Brandenburger Strand is the main beach in front of Westerland. Sylt’s tourism service has organised an event there since 1983. The event’s 450 metres promenade will feature partner stands with everything from kitesurfing gear to great food and drinks.

Weather
Sylt has a northern European climate, so weather conditions are mild in August. The air temperature during day can be between 25°C at the highest temperatures, with a low of 12°C. The water temperature of the North Sea is around 16°C, so bringing a wetsuit, and a jacket is recommended. Sunrise is 05.00 and sunset is 22.00.

Wind
The wind can vary, depending on the weather pattern. Westerly winds blow 15-35 knots, onshore at Westerland. Easterly winds blow around 12-25 knots, offshore at Westerland.

Event Information

  • Event: Defender GKA Kite-Surf World Cup Sylt
  • Spot: Brandenburger Strand, Sylt
  • Dates: 22—27 August, 2023
  • Download the event Race Notice here
  • Follow the whole event here

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