Carlos Mario and Bruna Kajiya are your 2017 World Kiteboarding League World Champions! Riders spent the final event in Cumbuco, Brazil waiting on a wind that stubbornly refused to show up. So, the two talented and deserving Brazilian riders maintained their top standing. Continue reading to hear comments from the men’s and women’s podium finishers and to see photos of the prize giving ceremony. Story provided by the WLK, and photos by Svetlana Romantsova.
The spectacular spot of Duro Beach was the ideal setting this evening to crown our new World Champions! After patiently waiting for an improvement in wind conditions, the competition was finalized today, and the Champions were crowned in front of the crowds in Cumbuco.
1st Place – Carlos Mario – Brazil
What an amazing season it has been for Carlos Mario! After a tough start in Leucate and dealing with a slight injury, Mario started the season with 2nd place. He went on in Egypt to give us an outstanding final, with the highest heat scores the WKL has ever seen. Carlos Mario pushed the bar always higher, and he just keeps going further. Delighted to be winning his 2nd World Title, he had the following to say about his 2017 season:
“At the beginning of the championship which was in France I worried because I had an injury in my arm and was able to compete but I did not train beforehand, and I was surprised with my performance. Texel and Turkey were important for me to see new places to practice kitesurfing and make new friends. Egypt is a special place for me where my performance is always great. At this stop, I was very well trained and the heats were historical for all lovers of kiteboarding, so I will consider this moment unforgettable for the rest of my life. I really liked the structure of the events, the new format of the riders dispute in the water that gives more excitement to the spectators. The use of live stream of rounds and points has changed the real-time disclosure of the sport and with that, the sport is more recognized. The Brazilian stop is special for me because it is at home and I wanted to give fans of the sport more of a historical background. It was not possible because the main actor, the wind, did not show up! I know how difficult it is to organize such an event in Brazil, and we have done our best. I thank the organization of Brazil, the WKL , the riders, my family and all the people and this title I offer in special to my mentor Maurício Abreu and all of Slingshot Kite. Now it is my dream that for 2018 everyone will unite in freestyle kiteboarding. Happy new year in 2018.” Carlos Mario – 2017 World Champion
2nd Place – Liam Whaley – Spain
Liam Whaley had an exceptional start to the season, taking the win at our first event in Leucate, France. He has battled through several injuries that made it hard for him to train as much as he really wanted to, but he still managed to perform exceptionally well at each event. He finished 4th at our last event in Egypt and takes a well deserved 2nd place overall for 2017.
“I’m so happy to finish the season in 2nd place. It’s been amazing competing against these guys. I’m looking forward to 2018 and competing again. Thanks to all of my sponsors and family for their support.” Liam Whaley
3rd Place – Set Teixeira – Brazil
It has been a fantastic year for Brazilian rider Set Teixeira, who commenced with a 3rd place podium finish in Leucate. He continued riding the rest of the year with determination and managed to constantly achieve good results, improving on his riding with each heat. This year he achieves his best ever result, 3rd place overall for 2017.
“I’m feeling very good after my best year in the tour, getting a proud result for myself. My training days in the water and in the gym, working with good people that are involved with kiteboarding is important for my athletic career. I’m always grateful to my sponsors for the support making my objectives possible! My main objective is always do better every year with my projects. I’m already focused on training for the tour next year, and I will work with more people that will make my year a huge one! Thanks to the WKL tour and all the people that are involved in making our tour better every year!” Set Teixeira
1st Place – Bruna Kajiya – Brazil
A third World Title for the incredibly talented Bruna Kajiya! What a season she has had. Each event saw Kajiya riding with even more confidence, performing incredible tricks with power and determination. This has catapulted her to the top of the rankings, and she is delighted to be winning this 2017 World Title in her home country, Brazil.
“I am so happy, winning my third World Title. It’s been incredible, and I never dreamed I would get so far. I feel so fortunate to be doing what I love, what I have so much passion for, and to be able to do it well and share that with other people is amazing.” Bruna Kajiya – 2017 World Champion
2nd Place – Annabel van Westerop – Netherlands
Annabel van Westerop has had an outstanding season and managed to achieve her best overall result ever, even while facing the difficult task of studying at university while competing. Van Westerop finished 2nd in Leucate at the first event of the year, and 3rd place in both Akyaka and El Gouna. She is delighted to complete 2017 with such a high ranking, and will be back next season for more!
“Finishing 2nd in the world…. words can’t explain how grateful I am. Competing the past few years has been such a special journey and I can’t believe I have been able to make such an improvement again this year, making it from 3rd place last year, to 2nd this year! It is more challenging than ever to do well, and this motivates me even more to keep stepping it up and make my dreams come true.”Annabel van Westerop
3rd Place – Francesca Bagnoli – Italy
2017 has been incredible for Bagnoli, after she managed to qualify for the Elite League after our first event in Leucate. This is her first year competing full-time and she has showed some amazing progress and talent. Several podium finishes have led her to achieve 3rd place overall for 2017. We are looking forward to seeing plenty more from this young Italian rider!
“This is was an awesome year for me. I’ve always dreamt to be one of the top riders in the world and finally, after all the training and sacrifices, my dream came true. I still cannot believe that I’m sharing the podium with 2 amazing girls and strong riders: Bruna and Annabel. I didn’t expect that from my first year in the Elite League, but all the hard work paid off. Thanks to that result next year I’m still able to compete in the Elite League and I’m even more motivated to improve my riding and do better in competition.” Francesca Bagnoli
The World Kiteboarding League would like to thank all of the athletes, organization, crew and kiteboarding fans who have supported us throughout this 2017 season. We are looking forward to bringing you more incredible events, top quality live-stream, and plenty more action in 2018!
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