Title race set to hot up in Brazilian lagoon

Published 2nd November 2023 by Ian MacKinnon


Penultimate stop of Freestyle tour to see world championship contenders push their claims in Cauipe

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

The leading contenders for the coveted Freestyle title on the Qatar Airways GKA Kite World Tour are set to press their claims at the penultimate stop on Brazil’s Cauipe lagoon.

Both the men’s and women’s title races are in the balance with only small gaps between the athletes at the top of the standings as the tour heads to its penultimate stop at the Copa Kitely GKA Freestyle-Kite World Cup Brazil.

A strong showing in the lagoon in Cauipe is crucial for any athlete hoping to land the crown at the fifth and final stop at Furwairit Kite Beach, Qatar, next month.

Twenty-six men and 12 women—from 19 countries around the world—are due to battle for honours in the idyllic Freestyle setting of Cauipe lagoon, renowned for its flat waters and consistent, strong breezes.

Brazil’s Carlos Mario, the former Freestyle world champion four times over, currently tops the rankings and will have the added bonus of competing at his home spot in front of local fans.

Title hopes dented

Just a few points separate him from the reigning Qatar Airways GKA Freestyle-Kite World Champion, Gianmaria Coccoluto. At 30, Coccoluto is the oldest man on the tour, but he dreams of retaining the title he won in the lagoons of Brazil last year.

The Mauritius-based Frenchman, Louka Pitot, sits third in the standings, just ahead of Maxime Chabloz (SUI). Chabloz’s title hopes were dented when he shared joint-first place at the last stop in Dunkerque, France, preventing him getting a jump on rivals.

The Swiss athlete, who is the Freeride skiing world champion, was forced to miss the first stop of the season in Qatar because of a scheduling clash with a skiing contest. He had to take the Qatar result as the one discard available to him.

The men’s ladder also boasts an impressive roster of young athletes, including Germany’s Finn Flügel 14, who reached his first semi-final at the tour’s second stop in Colombia. The Italian, Pierfrancesco Rizzello, is even younger, at just 12.

Britain’s Tom Bridge is set to make his first appearance on the Freestyle tour this year. But he could upset the form books as changes in the judging criteria that put far greater emphasis on variation and variety play to his style and strengths.

Tour comeback

The battle for the women’s title is also taking shape for a grandstand finale. With two wins from three so far this season, Brazil’s Bruna Kajiya heads the order and is hungry for another world title to add to the three she has already.

Spain’s Claudia León took the second podium spot in France and lies second overall, with Mikaili Sol (USA) in third. Current world champion, Sol, had to drop out of the French stop through injury, but no doubt will be fired up for her return to Brazil.

The reappearance on the Freestyle tour of Poland’s Karolina Winkowska, at the age of 33 after she gave birth, is also an intriguing prospect. The three-times Freestyle world champion will no doubt be pushing the younger athletes.

Join us here for all the action in Cauipe.

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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