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“What more do you want? The level is insane.” Taiba Day Two

Published 10th November 2022 by Jim Gaunt

 

There are days in competition that truly go down in the history books.

Day two of the Copa Kitley GKA Freestyle-Kite World Cup Brazil in Taiba is one of them.

The women were up first and Bruna Kajiya got the day started with her ever impressive clockwork style… and she was as excited as anyone just to hit the water here on the lagoon.

I even get emotional thinking about riding here, because this is the best place in the world and it’s the dream of a professional to compete in the best conditions possible. So for me to be able to show kiteboarding and my home country, it really is a dream.”

But it was women’s tour leader and reigning world champion, Mikaili Sol, who hit the alarm for what was to come, opening her account with a huge stalefish slim 5 and then a 317 on trick four.

If Mikaili had landed one of the two slim 7 attempts at the end of her heat against Merle Moenster, she’d have had another women’s world first manoeuvre to add to her collection… and it’s a dangerous sign for the others to see her having so much fun while progressing the sport.

Mikaili said on the stream, “I live 15 minutes away, and it’s surreal I never thought we’d have a competition here in the lagoon. I’m going to go out and give it my all. That heat was probably my best of the year, so I’m feeling good.”

TITLE CHANCES COME… AND GO 

As the final event of the season, the scenarios for the championship contenders on both the men’s and the women’s side had been much discussed, but finally, the chance for Manoel Soares to take his first world title came in the men’s quarter finals.

If he could finish in the top two and therefore advance to the semi-finals, he would be guaranteed enough championship points to take the title.

As the draw would have it, he faced second ranked rider Gianmaria Coccoluto in that quarter final, as well as Valentin Garat and a local ripper with a huge reputation, Erick Anderson.

The heat was stacked with firepower and threats to Manoel’s chances.

One man rose above the pressure to put on a once-in-a-lifetime performance.

All Gianmaria Coccoluto could do at this event was keep winning his heats and hope that Soares would trip up before reaching the semi finals. Now it was in his hands, but even if he won the heat he’d need help from one of the others to push Manoel into third, and out of the competition.

Speaking of how he felt before the quarter-final, Gianmaria said, “Well at the beginning I was super  stressed, but then when I went into the water, I was all in.”

Coccoluto produced a performance for the ages. Attacking without fear, he ripped Taiba lagoon apart like never before.

Soares led after two tricks, but started to slip as the Italian hit full beast mode, scoring two nines and then two tens in succession that sent goosebumps through the crowd and left the judges in awe.

Bottle the flow that Gianmaria had in that heat and you’d make millions.

Having uncharacteristically caught a front edge on his third trick, Manoel started to look tense. He forced out a 319 and a 315 and then the backside 315 on his last trick attempt just wasn’t good enough to overtake in-form lagoon specialist, Erick Anderson, who went through to semis behind Coccoluto.

There are still three contenders for the title, but only two remain in the competition. Manoel now has to sit things out and wait to see if Gianmaria or Juan Rodriguez will win the event or not.

Those two meet next in the semi-finals!

But today was all about one man and his connection with this lagoon. Gianmaria Coccoluto’s 38.74 heat score from a possible 40 points (from four tricks) will remain truly iconic, whether he goes on to win the world title or not.

Speaking after his impressive quarter final win, Swiss Maxime Chabloz summed up the emotions all riders had been sharing:

“My god it was a crazy heat to be honest. So many emotions with Gianmaria having the heat of his life and making kiteboarding history. But other than that those are the best conditions I’ve ever kited in: riding a 13m kite, alone in Taiba lagoon. What more do you want? The level is insane. There’s nothing affecting a rider’s performance except their own skills. You’re literally riding along and worrying that you don’t want to fuck it up because it’s just so good. Just thank you to everyone who made this happen, Kitley and the GKA, just thank you.”

Of particular mention today are Australian Leo Verrechia who made a very impressive tour debut to reach the quarters, and 14 year old Brazilian Davi Ribeiro who has steamed into the semi-finals!

Several riders, including Carlos Mario, Adeuri Corniel, Erick Anderson and Juan Rodriguez all broke through 30 point heat scores too and remain in the competition.

UPCOMING SEMI-FINALS ON FRIDAY:

MEN’S SF1
Juan Rodriguez (COL) / Arthur Guillebert (FRA) / Gianmaria Coccoluto (ITA) / Carlos Mario (BRA)

MEN’S SF2
Erick Anderson (BRA) / Adeuri Corniel (DOM) / Maxime Chabloz (SUI) / Davi Ribeiro (BRA) 

WOMEN’S SF1
Alexandra Torres (ESP) / Estefania Rosa (BRA) / Bruna Kajiya (BRA) / Rita Arnaus (BRA) 

WOMEN’S SF2
Merle Moenster (GER) / Nathalie Lambrecht (SWE) / Claudia Leon (ESP) / Mikaili Sol (BRA) 

Join us for finals day for the men and women here in Taiba! What more could you possibly hope for?!

First possible start tomorrow (Friday): 11.30am. Follow the event until 12th November on the live page here!

Words – Jim Gaunt
Photos – Svetlana Romantsova 

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