Posts Tagged ‘Strapless kitesurfing’

Benjamin Beholz talks about a tack on a strapless board. Check out this episode of Ben’s kiteboarding series!

Roderick Pijls had an amazing 2018 season in Cape Town! Take a sneak peek at some of the best moments from his fun freestyle and wave sessions in South Africa.

Jop Heemskerk
Adam Sims
Jalou Langeree
Thomas Roos
Ydwer van der Heide

Roderick Pijls

Watch Keahi De Aboitiz having fun in Oahu, Hawaii!

Watch Camille Delannoy having a good time ripping in Tarifa!

Learn to do the footswitch on a surfboard with Benjamin Beholz! Check out his new kite & tips episode.

Follow the Strapless Society during an epic Irish trip! Watch Hervé Bouré, Rodolphe Mackeene and Stanislas Bresson sharing waves in Ireland.

Final Event Overview and Highlights

Sunday marked the final day of the GKA KSWT 2018 stop in Dakhla and what’s been a very successful second event on this year’s tour. The riders got through a barrage of heats in the single and then double eliminations this week thanks to the relentless Dakhla winds, and Airton Cozzolino has now lengthened his overall lead, making it two wins from two events so far this season.

Jalou Langeree also took her first ever KSWT event win to draw level with Moona Whyte and they’re now equal on points at the top of the women’s division!

The GKA KSWT Dakhla Finalists! / Photo: Ydwer van der Heide

The main event wrapped up on Friday and Saturday was a lay day, but on Sunday afternoon the riders made the trip over to the lagoon for a strapless freestyle session at the newly constructed PK 25 Hotel. The ceremony would have two purposes, as it was also the official opening of the hotel itself!

Ralph Boelen blasts off / Photo: Ydwer van der Heide

Mitu sends it skyward / Photo: Ydwer van der Heide

It was a fitting end to a fantastic week in Morocco and during the ceremony, GKA Secretary General Jörgen Vogt, announced that the GKA KSWT’s return to Dakhla has already been confirmed for 2019!

So, with the action done, it’s time to take a look back at some of the key moments of the KSWT Dakhla 2018.


While some of the women who’ve now joined the tour were slow to adopt the strapless freestyle discipline, at this event we saw many of them embracing it.

Carla Herrera Oria has been pushing it for a couple of years now, but at this event it became clear to her fellow competitors that they’re going to need to step their game up in this area if they want to be competitive on the 2018 tour!

This event also had the biggest field of female competitors ever at a KSWT tour stop – 14 in total!

A strong women’s fleet assembled at Foum El Bouir / Photo: Ydwer van der Heide


There was a strong contingent of Moroccan riders taking part at the KSWT Dakhla, from tour regular Ismail Adarzane to local instructors who live and work in Dakhla. The level was high among the Moroccans, with Ismail making it to the top five in the single eliminations. Special mention should also go to Mamoun Majid who was one of the top local riders in double eliminations.

Moumin Maji in the double eliminations / Photo: Ydwer van der Heide


Not all the riders of the KSWT, even those who’ve been competing at events since 2016, were totally onboard with the strapless freestyle element of the tour to begin with. Some were even avoiding events where they’d have to rely on their non-wave riding skills to do well.

However, in Dakhla we saw that even wave-specialists like James Carew, Sebastian Ribeiro and Pedro Matos have been working on their freestyle skills during the off-season.

Sebastian managed to beat trick-throwing titan Matchu Lopes in a heat where 40% of the points came from strapless freestyle in the double-eliminations and that’s no mean feat!

Pedro Matos adding some freestyle fire to his riding / Photo: Ydwer van der Heide


At the end of the first event of the year in Cape Verde, Airton said that his goal for 2018 was to finish the season with a clean streak of victories. No mistakes, no anticlimax at the final event – he’s in it for a perfect win.

Right now he’s on course for one, but there’s a long tour ahead yet so let’s see if he can continue his form at the next event in Portugal.

Unstoppable Airton? / Photo: Ydwer van der Heide


Jalou had never beaten Moona at a GKA event before this one. As Moona will be riding frontside at the majority of wave spots on this year’s tour, and Jalou will be riding backside, Jalou might have wondered if she could ever beat Moona in 2018.

Jalou’s been really working on her backhand riding though since this year’s first event and that training really paid off here in Dakhla. However, Moona can be sure to come back strong at the next event and we can expect an ongoing battle between these two across the coming season in the 2018 title chase.

Jalou lets loose on her backhand / Photo: Ydwer van der Heide


The top three remains unchanged but below them things are beginning to shift. Mitu Monteiro has now moved into fourth position and Jan Marcos is now fifth after a heroic performance in this week’s double-eliminations that saw him surge up the heat ladder.

Pedro Matos has slipped from the top five but managed to fend off challenges from top riders like Matchu Lopes and Paulino Pereira to hold on to sixth place overall at the end of this event. This dynamic young rider is going to be one to watch on the 2018 GKA KSWT!

Airton airs to victory / Photo: Ydwer van der Heide

The tour heads to Viana do Castelo in Portugal next from the 7-12th of June but, for now, the KSWT says goodbye to Dakhla after another epic year at Foum El Bouir.

Yesterday’s final day of competition was an intense finale to a full-on few days of competition. Tension and emotions were running high for many of the riders by the time it came to the double eliminations. For some, the challenge would be defending their already solid results from the single eliminations and, for others, the pressure was on for them to make a push back up the ladder in an all-or-nothing dash for a podium finish.

Here are some of the key moments that you won’t have seen in the daily highlight video!


The looks on the riders’ faces say it all. Sebastian Ribeiro, Paulino Pereira and Pedro Matos had their sites set on a comeback after failing to progress to the final rounds of the single eliminations, Marie Gautron knew that her fourth place tour ranking hung in the balance and the pressure was on for Matchu Lopes who needed a good result here in Dakhla to make up for an early exit back in February at the GKA Cape Verde.

And of course, there was only one rider on Keahi’s mind – Airton.


The wind’s been relentless all week since the main event kicked off at Foum El Bouir but the swell kept us guessing all the way and the race team was committed to waiting until conditions were right before starting the heats rolling on the final day. That meant the competitors nerves would be stretched even further as they waited for the heats sequence to begin. The suspense was palpable and Jalou was so nervous she couldn’t even eat as she waited for kick-off.


Olivia Jenkins made her GKA KSWT debut at this event. In fact, it was her first ever competition! However, she managed to unseat two strong competitors – Marie Gautron and Kirsty Jones – and continued her push up the elimination ladder until finally being knocked out of the running by Carla Herrera Oria. If she’d beaten her then she’d have been in for a podium finish. How epic a result would that have been in her first ever comp?


Marie Gautron didn’t manage to maintain her overall fourth place at this event, a spot now occupied by Carla Herrera Oria, but her tenacity was something else. She had some standout waves in the single eliminations and made it as far as the quarter-finals on the last day before a tight heat against Olivia Jenkins didn’t go her way and she was knocked out of the running.


We witnessed a GKA KSWT first at this event – a draw on points between Sebastian Ribeiro and Matchu Lopes! Both riders scored 13.3 when they met in the closing stages of the double eliminations but the heat was awarded to Sebastian as most of his points came from wave riding (the judging criteria was 60% waves / 40% strapless freestyle in the finals) and tour rules state that, in this situation, the heat will go to the rider who focused on the dominant point scoring category which was waves.

GKA judge Mallory de la Villemarque explained that the chances of this happening are beyond slim. Riders individual scores are tallied up, multiplied by a factor and then the resulting figure is multiplied by another factor to come to a final score but the numbers didn’t lie and the rules don’t bend.

Matchu was out, Sebastian was through.


Jan Marcos Riveras rode like a man possessed in the double eliminations. He didn’t quite gather steam in the singles, but in the doubles his competitive fire was lit and he rode with a zeal the like of which we haven’t seen from him so far this year. On the final day, after having battled up the table heat by heat the day before when the double eliminations kicked off, he took out young gun James Carew and Paulino Pereira before finally succumbing to Sebastian Ribeiro in one of the tightest heats of the day. He finished this event in fifth which significantly improves his overall 2018 ranking. He’ll be stoked with that going into the next event in Portugal!


At this event, Ines Correia took on all comers who might have challenged her for her third place position on this year’s tour. She took third in the single eliminations on day one and she might have taken Moona’s spot in the doubles final too had Moona not nabbed a solid wave in the dying minutes to keep her ahead on points. One thing’s clear though, Ines isn’t stopping for anyone this year and, when asked about her goals for the 2018 she replied simply – to beat Moona and Jalou!


Carla is leading the way in women’s strapless freestyle and has been ever since she burst onto the 2017 GKA Kite-Surf World Tour with a powerful display at the Tarifa Strapless Pro. At that event, she competed against the men and was a top qualifier in the trials and then she even gave Paulino Pereira a run for his money when they met in the main event.

While some of the other women who’ve now joined the tour were slow to adopt the strapless freestyle discipline, Carla has been pushing it for a couple of years now and is by far and away the most accomplished in her division. At this event, it became clear to her fellow competitors that they’re going to need to step their game up in this area if they want to be competitive on the 2018 KSWT and Carla, whose wave riding is also strong, is currently leading the pack!


Jalou didn’t have an easy path to her first GKA event victory here in Dakhla. She won the singles, so was automatically in the double elimination, and that meant she wouldn’t have to compete until the final heat (a good and bad thing as far as a competitor’s nerves are concerned) but it looked like Moona was about to snatch her first event win from her at the last moment when she beat her in the final – and on Jalou’s birthday no less!

However, in the double elimination format the final will be rerun if the winner of the single eliminations gets beaten and so Jalou had a second chance. She dusted herself off, re-fastened her harness, and went out and took the win in challenging conditions and on her backhand too!

This means she and Moona are now level on points and we can expect to see an ongoing battle between them both this season.


Airton’s season just keeps getting better this year and, at this event, he added his second win of the year to his 2018 tally which increases his lead over Keahi de Aboitiz. This was the moment he found out he’d won it. There was no announcement on a podium and no fanfare, but when no call came for a second run at the final after his heat against Keahi it was clear he’d done enough. His response in this shot says it all.


1: Airton Cozzolino – CV – 4200 pts
2: Keahi de Aboitiz – AUS – 4134 pts
3: Sebastian Ribeiro – CV – 4035 pts
4: Mitu Monteiro – CV – 4002 pts
5: Jan Marcos Riveras – DR / ESP – 3903 pts

1: Jalou Langeree – NL – 4167 pts
2: Moona Whyte – USA – 4167 pts
3: Ines Correia – PT – 4068 pts
4: Carla Herrera Oria – ESP – 3969 pts
5: Marie Gautron – FRA – 3936 pts

Watch the action from Day Four at the GKA Kite-Surf World Tour stop in Dakhla!

After the single elimination and partial completion of the double elimination, could Airton Cozzolino and Jalou Langeree hold on once more and take the overall event win in Morocco?

Watch the action highlights of the Double Eliminations of Day 3 in Dakhla.

Day three in Dakhla and the crew pushed through the double eliminations until just eight riders remained in both the men’s and the women’s competitions. We look to Friday and the weekend for good conditions and the climax to round two of the GKA Kite-Surf World Tour 2018.