The final epic day at the Copa Kitley GKA Freestyle World Cup Brazil dealt drama and upset in equal measure, with home favourite Bruna Kajiya taking the narrowest of wins as France’s Arthur Guillebert came out on top.
- Veteran Bruna Kajiya cements world rankings’ lead with narrow victory in Cauipe
- Former champion Arthur Guillebert back on top with huge win in tense final
Brazil’s Kajiya, at 36 the most senior woman on tour, took the victory in Cauipe over the teenaged current world champion, Mikaili Sol (USA). Kajiya won by only 0.02 of a point in a nail-biting final that went down to the wire.
In a venue that Kajiya calls her second home, the three-time world champion secured the win with her very last trick. She cemented her place at the top of the Freestyle rankings on the Qatar Airways GKA Kite World Tour, putting her in the driving seat ahead of the last stop.
Former world champion Guillebert took the win in a tight final when he saw off the challenge of the multi-talented Maxime Chabloz (SUI). The Swiss athlete had turned the screw on the Frenchman with the competition’s only perfect 10, but it was not quite enough.
Guillebert has been building momentum this season and his victory at the penultimate tour stop in Cauipe gives him two top finishes heading to the grand finale next month in Fuwairit, Qatar, home of the tour’s title partners.
The third and closing day of the world cup in the kiteboarding mecca of Cauipe, with the best 28 men and 14 women from 18 nations competing in sublime conditions, served up some of the most mindblowing Freestyle competition ever witnessed.
The men’s quarter-final action got the ball rolling in pumping winds. Luis Alberto Cruz (DOM) went huge, showing Dominican power and booking his semi-final spot along with Finn Flügel (GER), who once again rode out of his skin.
Jack Reider (CAN) demonstrated incredible innovation, finishing second in his quarter-final. He pushed into the semis, alongside Guillebert, who topped the heat. Their performances caused one of the day’s biggest upsets, when current world champion Gianmaria Coccoluto (ITA) suffered an early exit.
Tom Bridge (GBR) and Maxime Chabloz both had a difficult heat. However, Bridge’s unique style, that included blind landings and pops, helped him pull through in first. Chabloz’s heat was not the cleanest, but his strong opening Heart attack 7 gave him breathing space.
Brazilian dominance was the order of day in the closing quarter-final. Carlos Mario and compatriot Guilherme Costa both earned 30-plus heat totals, out of a possible 40. It gave them a one-way ticket into the semi-finals, to the delight of the the vocal home crowd.
Copa Kitley GKA Freestyle-Kite World Cup Brazil 2023 results
1. Bruna Kajiya (BRA)
2. Mikaili Sol (USA)
3. Karolina Winkowska (POL)
4. Francesca Bagnoli (ITA)
1. Arthur Guillebert (FRA)
2. Maxime Chabloz (SUI)
3. Tom Bridge (GBR)
4. Finn Flügel (GER)