The stage is set the final heats of the Tarifa Strapless Pro, taking place on the Spanish coast tomorrow. Airton Cozzolino and Matchu Lopes will meet in the finals, and Jan Marcos Riveras and Paulino Pereira will compete in the mini-final. For the latest from Tarifa including a recap of the quarter-final and semi-final rounds, continue reading the details below, provided by the Global Kitesports Association.

The riders were briefed just after 1 pm today by Race Director Juan Antonio Aragon and head judge Dani Jimenez and today’s aim would be to complete the quarter and semi-finals with an option to progress to the finals as well. There were slightly lighter winds forecasted than the wind we saw yesterday but, as the riders left to prep their gear, the wind line could already be seen advancing towards the shore and the first heats began at 1:30 pm.

The first heat saw Jan Marcos Riveras composed from the off as he dispatched fellow North team rider Ralph Boelen with some big backroll kiteloops close to shore as the home crowd cheered him on. He would go on to face Airton Cozzolino in the semi-final but he couldn’t match Airton’s barrage of powered, technical tricks. Speaking after his heat, Jan Marcos said he felt positive about the result and he is already looking ahead to tomorrow’s mini final in which he’ll battle Paulino Pereira for third place.

Airton went huge from the off with massive back rolls and rodeos as well as a front roll shuvit three, but his pièce de resistance was yet another powered 313 handlepass. Mitu held nothing back, of course, and pulled out his new trick, a double back roll rodeo with a kiteloop, to great applause but, while it impressed the judges, it wasn’t enough to overcome Airton’s display that blended height, power, ‘wow factor’ and technicality, securing his path to tomorrow’s much anticipated final.

Airton will meet his close friend and fellow Cape Verdean rider Matchu Lopes, who displayed a slightly more relaxed approach in the early heats but that was a distant memory today and he dispatched Camille Delannoy and then Paulino Perreira to book his place in the final.

His style is very different to Airton’s, but his riding is still technical and a clean double front shuvit sealed the deal for him. Tomorrow’s final won’t be his first against Airton but he says he’s relishing the opportunity to put it all on the line in the strong Levante winds that are forecasted and will come in cross-offshore from the left.

Paulino didn’t make it easy for Matchu though and rode with his customary power and zeal but the slight drop in winds during the last couple of heats of the day didn’t suit his powerful riding style. Keeping a cool head is key at this level of competition and, after the heat, he recognised that his focus on trying to land a front roll to shuvit had caused him to lose momentum against Matchu. He’s positive about tomorrow’s mini-final against Jan Marcos though, and he has done well to maintain his competitive level over the winter as he juggles training with his full-time job as a mechanic in the Portuguese air force.

Tomorrow we expect a big crowd on the beach at Valdevaqueros for the finals with riders’ briefing scheduled for 1 pm, and a first possible start at 1:30 pm.

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Find the full GKA Kite-Surf World Tour 2017 event schedule here.

Sat 1st Jul, 2017 @ 3:00 pm

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