The competitors celebrate after a superb first event of 2018 / Image: Ydwer van der Heide
As the riders and the GKA crew prepare to head home it’s time to look back at what has been a stellar start to the 2018 GKA Kite-Surf World Tour.
Throughout January the event organisers, race officials and competitors had been salivating over the images and footage that were being circulated around social media of Ponta Preta going off and at least a few people had been (perhaps tentatively) gearing themselves up for a massive start to the season.
However, as the event drew closer the wind died down a little and the swell backed right off. In the last week before the event, many of the riders who’d travelled here early to practise found themselves looking at a totally flat Ponta Preta which is quite out of character at this time of year.
Then, on the morning of registration day with the wind already blowing, Ponta Preta began to show signs of life. Mitu and Djo Silva, the legendary local organisers of the event who have a deep knowledge of the conditions on the island, gave the riders and crew the heads up - the swell was fast approaching!
From there on we had five epic days of competition that saw 38 men and 11 women doing battle at this iconic right hander and at another right, Secrets, further up the coast. Cape Verde delivered!
The defending female tour champion, Moona Whyte, had a similarly ideal start to her season at this event, beating Jalou Langeree in one of the tightest heats of the competition - the women’s final. There are some very complete riders in the women's division but Moona and Jalou are a step above right now and it looks like we’re going to see a closely-run contest between these two at this year’s upcoming tour stops.
Moona in the semi-finals / Image: Ydwer van der Heide
Jalou adapted well to the new challenge of competing on her back hand / Image: Ydwer van der Heide
The next two events in Dakhla, Western Sahara, and Viana do Castelo in Portugal favour Moona as well as she’ll be riding at both of them on her front hand. A fire has been lit under Jalou though and she’ll be training hard to improve her backside riding on the run up to the next tour stop with her eyes firmly fixed on first place.
Check out the podiums below and head to our YouTube channel to catch up on some of the action highlights from the week.
1: Moona Whyte (USA)
2: Jalou Langeree (NED)
3: Ines Correia (POR)
photo Getty Images
Photo: Rémy Gros