90 columns in and Mark Shinn returns to a topic where his heart truly lies in our Winter print issue; waves. More specifically he focuses on the incredible level of performance that today’s top GKA Kite-Surf World Tour competitors are able to achieve in small wave conditions with modern surfboard shapes Here’s an extract and further down a handful of video examples of high scoring small wave performances from the recent GKA Kite-Surf World Cup Morocco event in Dakhla

WORDS: Mark Shinn

Main photo above: New GKA Kite-Surf World Champion, James Carew, competing at Dakhla, Morocco Photo: Svetlana Romantsova / GKA

Mark, wave machine, 2001

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The GKA Kite-Surf tour event in Dahkla, Morocco recently finished and I watched the livestream with interest. The level of the top riders and the gear they are using seems so refined. The waves were small and a little inconsistent, but on the livestream I was watching riders ripping. I think a lot of that was down to gear choice. I’m sure all the riders in the contest could rip in head high, down-the-line surf, but performing in the small and weak stuff is so tough; it’s almost another discipline entirely.

WATCH EXAMPLE WAVE RIDES IN THE VIDEOS BELOW

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AIRTON COZZOLINO - 9.30 ROUND FOUR AGAINST KIKI ROIG TORRES

The judging criteria for a kite-wave event is similar to that of a regular surfing event. The rider should be performing functional moves in the most critical part of the wave and using the power of the wave to its maximum potential. In kiting that means NOT using the kite to generate power. Too much usage of the kite will reduce the wave score. Generating speed on the wave is one of the hardest things to learn in surfing, especially in small waves. Most competitors can do amazing things when travelling at speed, but achieving that speed is what the best riders were able to do while others struggled.

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PEDRO MATOS – 8.83 SEMI-FINAL AGAINST SEBASTIAN RIBEIRO

The guys (and girls) on the newest generation of compact shapes had oodles of speed and seemed to have no trouble maintaining it, yet they were also making turns in the pocket that were so tight you could swear they must be riding a banana rocker. I don’t think I ever saw a better example in wave kiting of the gear being perfectly tuned to the conditions and allowing the riders to perform at 100%. There were a few riders on more classic shapes and, though I am smart enough to know there can be many reasons for it, they almost all looked to be struggling for both speed and flow on their waves.

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AIRTON COZZOLINO – 8.90 SEMI-FINAL AGAINST JAMES CAREW

Sometimes a ‘game changer’ comes along (I really hate that phrase by the way) and one product revolutionises a discipline. And sometimes the sum of years of subtle tweaking and tuning yields an amazing result that sneaks up and slaps you round the face.

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CAPUCINE DELANNOY – 8.63 SEMI-FINAL AGAINST PERI ROBERTS

The keen amongst you will note that Capucine is riding a more tradition surfboard shape from North, called the Charge, but the 15-year-old is a featherweight and advancing so quickly that the laws of light wind performance apply less strictly for her! - ED

Subscribe to our special Winter and Summer print editions to read Mark Shinn’s column in full as well as lots more epic reads!

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