Tour leaders to press Kite-Surf title bids in Brazil

Published 14th July 2023 by Ian MacKinnon


Second stop of wave tour to debut in Rio de Janeiro with top athletes slated to battle for glory in renowned break

Copa Kitley GKA Kite-Surf World Cup Rio 2023
Saquarema, Rio de Janeiro
Itauna Beach, 31 July—11 August

The winners of the opening wave stop of the Qatar Airways GKA Kite World Tour, Matchu Lopes and Moona Whyte, are set to try to keep the title bids on track at the second event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

But Cape Verdean Lopes (ESP) and the US’s Whyte may have their work cut out for them at the renowned Saquarema break to the east of Rio, as they face a strong field of Brazilian athletes who are steeped in the local conditions.

The tour leaders stamped their claim on the crown in the pure wave surfing contest in the legendary break of Cape Verde’s Ponta Preta. But the swell and wind in Saquarema can vary, with the effect that the contest may feature a mix of pure wave kite-surfing and strapless surfboard tricks, depending on the conditions.

Thirty-five of the world’s best kite-surfing athletes—25 men and 10 women—from 14 nations around the globe are slated to battle for the crown in Saquarema. The spot on Saquarema’s Itauna Beach, a World Surf League stop last year, will have a 12-day competition window to allow for the best possible conditions.

Devastating effect

Brazil is the second stop of the Kite-Surf tour which will move to Sylt, Germany, in late August, Dakhla, Morocco, in early October, before returning to Ceara, Brazil, a month later, when the champions will be crowned.

Reigning world champion France’s Capucine Delannoy, 17, clinched her title after a win in Dakhla last year. But in Ponta Preta’s pure wave competition in March, Delannoy was beaten in the final by the veteran, Whyte, who used her wave experience to devastating effect.

Delannoy may get the upper hand in Saquarema, as the setting may play to teenager’s strengths. She has a repertoire of strapless surfboard tricks in her armoury that she can pull out if the right conditions prevail.

Brazilian big hitters

Even there, though, Delannoy could face tough challenges. Delannoy lost her Qatar Airways GKA Big Air Kite Surfboard world title to Switzerland’s Camille Losserand in Tarifa, Spain, in June.

Losserand is set to make the trip to Rio where she will be joined by a clutch of formidable Brazilian athletes. Kesiane Rodrigues (BRA) won a leg of the Kite-Surf tour in Brazil, last year, and compatriot Bruna Kajiya, three-time Twin-Tip Freestyle world champion, can never be ruled out.

Cape Verde’s Lopes also faces a small army of Brazilian big hitters who will be seeking to unseat him in the race for the title. Pedro Matos (BRA) finished fourth in Cape Verde, beaten only by local legend Airton Cozzolino (ITA), who will also travel to Rio.

Australian Carew out

But the roster of Brazilians who have thrown their hat in the ring is intimidating. Sebastian Ribeiro, Gabriel Benetton  and Artur Morais will no doubt be strong contenders for podium places, whichever format the conditions dictate.

Cape Verde local Hendrick Lopes (SUI), Charly Martin, from Reunion Island, and the multi-talented Clément Roseyro (FRA), are just a few names from a truly talented field.

One name is conspicuous by its absence, reigning GKA Kite-Surf world champion, Australia’s James Carew. He broke his leg last month celebrating his victory at the Qatar Airways Big Air Kite World Championships in the Surfboard division.

words: Ian MacKinnon
images: Svetlana Romantsova

Spot Info: Saquarema, Rio de Janiero
Saquarema is a town to the east of Rio de Janeiro. It is renowned to have some of the best surf in Brazil and hosted a World Surf League tour stop in 2022. But it is often neglected by locals from Rio who travel further afield to explore other breaks. It may owe its frothy reputation as a surf spot to the 60’s and 70’s, when it was one of the first places that surfers from Rio explored outside of the city.

Praia da Itauna
Itauna is stretch of beach to the west of the old church. A channel runs runs out from the natural lagoon. The east end has a rock shelf. Uncharacteristically for Rio surf, the sandy bottom can maintain big swells that keep their shape. The wave is generally a long left with hollow sections. But it can break right on occasions, depending on the conditions. The waves can be chest to head-high and above.

August is winter in Brazil, with dry weather throughout most of the country. On the coastline around Rio de Janeiro, and in the city centre, the weather is pleasant with daytime temperatures around 21-27C and 18-21C in the evenings.

During August the main wind directions in Saquarema are from north-east, side-offshore, or south-west, side-onshore, with 15-20 knots, depending on winter weather systems passing by.

Event information

  • Location: Praia da Itauna, Saquarema, Rio de Janeiro
  • Dates: 31 July — 11 August
  • The official Race Notice and event schedule can be found here.
  • All event information here.

Find everything about GKA Kite-Surf World Cup Brazil by clicking event news.

  • Follow the event page: liveticker, livestream and live scoring
  • Follow our Instagram and our new TikTok account for behind the scenes action and event updates
  • Subscribe to our newsletter for end of day reporting
  • Check out our youtube channel for daily highlight videos

Liveticker will be updated throughout the day. Event highlight video will be published next morning. Written reports will be posted to the website at the end of the competition day.

Image for Double Dutch at Lords of Tram in France

Double Dutch at Lords of Tram in France

Van Iersel returns from two-year injury break to take third Lords of Tram title while Overbeek lands first Big Air world cup

Read this article
Image for Big Air battle poised for epic showdown

Big Air battle poised for epic showdown

Lords of Tram GKA men set to vie for crown after opening day saw favourites advance smoothly in tricky conditions

Read this article
Image for Big Air riders under starters orders

Big Air riders under starters orders

Eagerly-awaited world championship title race opener gets 'green' light at Lords of Tram GKA World Cup in Barcarès

Read this article
Image for Big Air ‘young guns’ just got younger

Big Air ‘young guns’ just got younger

Fiercely competitive line-up for Lords of Tram GKA Big Air season opener features clutch of young teenaged debutants

Read this article