The GKA Kite World Tour is back in action this week in Sylt in Germany’s North Frisian Islands for what could be a potentially pivotal event on this year’s tour. The tour’s strapless contingent is about to get back in the mix for the second time this season with overall rankings up for grabs and a very promising forecast on the horizon right through until the weekend.
Thirty-five riders are registered for the event – Twenty-six men and nine women – and we’re sure to see some key battles going down throughout the week as the competitors vie for position in this mixed-format event in which riders will be judged for both wave riding and strapless freestyle ability.
There’s plenty of opportunity for some of the lower ranked riders to make real progress here as well. Men’s fourth seed Matchu Lopes will not be competing here in Sylt due to a shoulder injury which has been plaguing him since late in the 2018 season.
It was a tough decision for him to make, but he’s chosen to take the time to recover properly and will likely miss the rest of the season. That leaves room to manoeuvre for the riders further down the table though, particularly as sixth-ranked rider Sebastian Ribeiro will also be missing this event.
Of course, breaking into the top three will be no mean feat for anyone. Mitu Monteiro is currently in first after a stellar performance at the season opener in Cape Verde, with Airton Cozzolino in second and James Carew in third.
All three of those riders are capable of making (and winning) a final, whether strapless freestyle or wave-focused, but there’s a bevvy of talent who’ll be hot on their tails all week, so it’s all to play for.
In the women’s division, the table has been blown wide open due to the absence of the entire women’s top three – Moona Whyte, Ines Correia and Johanna Catharina Edin. However, there’s still a nine-strong roster of riders, including German competitors Sonja Bunte and Susanne Schwartztrauber.
And, with the top three conspicuous by their absence, you can bet that fourth-ranked Charlotte Carpentier and Carla Herrera Oria (currently in seventh) will be looking to pounce on the opportunity of a top place finish!
There was no wind today on the opening day, but strong cross-on winds from the right and some building swell are due to kick in tomorrow morning.
If that happens, it will make for solid beach break wave riding conditions which are forecasted to last right through until Saturday. Stay tuned for the action tomorrow on Wednesday once the main event gets underway – First Possible Start – 09:00 AM
There will be no live stream for this event, but you can find daily videos and heat by heat updates on the event page, and all the behind the scenes action can be followed via the @gkakitesurf Insta Stories.
Tuesday 25th June, 2019
Words: Matt Pearce / Photos: Svetlana Romantsova
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