Day One Highlights | GKA Kite-Surf World Cup Dakhla 2022
BRACE YOURSELF FOR THE BRAZILIANS (AND AIRTON)!
Tuesday 27th September
Westpoint, Dakhla, Morocco
Photos: Svetlana Romantsova
Day one is complete here at the GKA Kite-Surf World Cup Dakhla 2022 and waves are definitely back on the agenda as 41 male and female riders from 15 countries assembled to battle it out here at Westpoint in Morocco.
This is the first Kite-Surf event of the year on the Qatar Airways GKA Kite World Tour 2022. The long wait for wave action was worth it, especially for the Brazilians who dominated most of the day.
Earlier in the afternoon, after the usually royal ceremony and reception for the riders here in Dakhla, a local qualifier competition decided which two male Moroccan riders would qualify for the main event – Bentajar Ashraph and Reda Lafdali proudly went on.
Soon after Gabriel Benetton stepped up in heat one of round one, the Brazilian aiming to uniquely reach his third GKA final… in only his third ever competition!
Earlier in the year Gabriel claimed the GKA U19 Youth Kite-Surf World Championship and finished second at the Qatar Airways GKA Kite Surf World Championships. Talk about a rapidly rising talent, and in round three he upped expectation further by convincingly beating vastly more experienced riders, Camille Delannoy and Francesco Cappuzzo.
Also finding the conditions in his favour was 4 x Brazilian kite wave champion, Artur Morais, who advanced impressively from round one, but then finished runner-up to Sebastian Ribeiro in round three (but still advances to round four). (More on Mr. Ribeiro later!)
Westpoint local legend, Mohamed-Ali Beqqali, saw years of riding development pay off today as he also progressed, commenting on the livestream that the conditions really were as good as it gets here on the first real swell of the season.
Rio de Janeiro’s Pedro Matos joined the Brazilian party next with a super-tight demonstration of in-the-pocket riding, but the contest really lit up when Sebastian Ribeiro entered the competition in round three, signalling the quality to come in the later rounds.
As the waves peaked, the Brazilian ex QS surfer demonstrated an impeccable wave selection (something all riders had predicted would be key, but not all managed), scoring a 9.0 for the longest and most dynamic wave ride of the day.
Later in round three, with those famous dreadlocks removed but still never to be outdone, Airton Cozzolino’s often impossible looking hacks and hits gave him the highest opening wave score of a heat, pitching him tantalisingly in amongst the Brazilians as the leading contenders.