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GKA Kite-Surf World Cup – Rio de Janeiro (BRA): Spain’s Matchu Lopes wins in spectacular style

In the semi-final Ribeiro came up against a charging Cozzolino. They were both riding 10m2 kites, but Cozzolino almost immediately netted one of the day’s bigger wave scores of 7.53 and built his heat to take the win. In the other semi-final, Reunion’s Martin finally came unstuck again Matchu Lopes. Lopes threw down a steady if unspectacular heat in the “one-hit-wonder” waves that exploded on the sandbar as they closed out. Still, it was enough to earn him a finals’ berth and a showdown with Cozzolino. Cozzolino, who represents Italy, was fully-focused on winning but also keen to avenge a defeat by Lopes in their last encounter in Cape Verde. Cozzolino landed a 7.83 for big open-faced carves. But Lopes had saved the best for last and scored the biggest wave of the competition—8.66— that took his heat total to 16.74 and gave him the win.

Lopes overhauled his Cape Verdean compatriot, Airton Cozzolino (ITA), in an epic duel. It was a battle for the ages as the duo traded blows in the monster waves that Saquarema served up as a stage for the drama. “I can’t say I wasn’t expecting this, these are my favourite conditions,” said Lopes. “The conditions are insane. It’s was bigger in there than it looks for the outside. It’s perfect. It’s very hard. But you know what, I’m super-happy to be in the final with my home-mate, Airton. We grew up together, we were surfing all the time together. It can’t be any better. I’m stoked. Very, very stoked. It can’t be any better.” On the beach when the two came ashore after their 16-minute heat, Lopes immediately rushed over to embrace his friend, and former world champion, Cozzolino.

Copa Kitley GKA Kite-Surf World Cup Rio 2023 results

1 Matchu Lopes (ESP)
2 Airton Cozzolino (ITA)
3 Sebastian Ribeiro (BRA)
4 Charly Martin (FRA)