Airton Cozzolino wins Tarifa Strapless Kitesurfing PRO
Known for his show stopping 'wow' factor and snappy style, he was the one to beat for the rest of the competitors.
Tarifa, Spain has been known as a watersports Mecca for many years, churning out world class riders by the dozen. Home to the likes of Jaime Herraiz, Angela Peral and now Aaron Hadlow, its consistent and varied conditions deliver magnificent riding for all disciplines, so it's really no surprise that Valdevaqueros – the famous beach – was the show ground for such a great competition.
Crowds flocked to see what was recalled by one spectator as ' the best strapless riding i've ever seen.' The vibe on the beach was pulsing as riders took their moment to put on a display of individual flair and technical skills.
The freestyle heats culminated in an epic final between Airton Cozzolino and Keahi de Aboitiz; both champion shredders in their own way. Spectators were so engrossed in the action, cheers and applause followed every spectacularly executed trick both riders delivered. Following his win, Airton went on to put in mind blowing performances in both Best Trick and Big Air, soundly securing King of the competition status.
Matchu Lopes, another one of our young riders, put in exceptional performances with skill and panache. Another leader in the Strapless movement, his unique bag of tricks impressed the respected panel of judges to secure him 3rd place. Patri McLaughlin was on fire for the first two rounds, however hot competition from Keahi in round 3 saw him get knocked out of the competition.
The interesting thing about this event is the merging of what originally were two very different avenues of riding. Freestyle used to be associated with big airs and flat tricks, whilst wave riding revolved about deep carves, snappy cut backs and ultimately getting shacked in the barrel. The Tarifa Strapless PRO truly displayed how over the last few years, wave riding has taken huge inspiration from the traditional freestyle riding, and with creativity flowing from the 'young blood' there's an inspiring and fresh style being added to the advancement of the sport.
There to spectate and show their support to the event were today's true wakestyle hero’s, Aaron Hadlow, Alex Pastor and current VKWC number one Liam Whaley; we wonder what influences they'll take from Strapless freestyle to invent new tricks for their own style of riding.
This event was a historic moment in the growth of Kiteboarding as a whole. Riders from across the globe – Australia, France, Hawaii, Portugal, Cape Verde, North Carolina and Italy to name a few – all came together bringing fresh perspectives and new ways to ride, encouraging and taking inspiration from each other along the way. Events like these are what Kiteboarding is all about; progression, vision, creativity and motivation, showing that competition goes much deeper than just becoming The Champion.
Congratulations to all the riders and the organisation. This event was filled with passion and spirit; a true milestone for the sport that we nurture and love so much.