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MOONA WHYTE WINS WITH PERFECTION

Hawaii-based world champion blows away the field with stunning riding to win season opener in Cape Verde

GKA Kite-Surf World Cup Cape Verde 2024
16-25 February, Ponta Preta, Sal

Current world champion, the US’s Moona Whyte, dominated the final of the GKA Kite-Surf World Cup Cape Verde to take a convincing win at the first stop of the season in perfect conditions.

Women’s Finals

The Hawaii-based athlete, who won Cape Verde tour stop last year, sealed the deal with two perfect 10-point rides for her closing waves of the heat, which was fought out in double head-high bombs breaking on the rocky point.

“I’m so happy right now,” said four-time world champion, Whyte. “I’m really stoked to take the win with two 10s, which I really can’t believe. Perfect conditions; big waves. I was feeling pretty comfortable. It was a little bit offshore. A little bit tricky. Nice to make it work.”

The fourth day of the 2024 season opener on the Qatar Airways GKA Kite World Tour was all about the eight remaining women who had Ponta Preta’s iconic right-hand break to themselves.

But the huge faces and tricky offshore breeze proved to be a handful for some of the early riders. Both Camille Losserand (SUI) and Kesiane Rodrigues (BRA) lost their boards when they ejected from a wave and their leashes broke.

Almost robbed

For Losserand it did not prove fatal as she had already done enough to advance to the semi-final, where she faced her old rival, Capucine Delannoy (FRA). Delannoy was almost robbed of her place in the final by Losserand’s last wave which took her heat total to within 0.05 of the French teenager.

Charlotte Carpentier (FRA) has been training in Cape Verde and it showed in her wave riding. But in the second semi-final she came up against Moona Whyte who was in her element.

Whyte earned the biggest score of the competition to that point, a 9.40 wave, and was discarding eight-point plus scores. The American was untouchable as she forged her way to the final in the rare conditions, the women riding 9m and 10m kites in the light 15 knots breezes.

The mini-final between Charlotte Carpentier and Camille Losserand was a cliffhanger. The women were locked together on the scoreboard, but Carpentier was in front by a hair’s breadth. But Losserand’s last wave got her in front by a fraction of a point and gave her the win and third place overall

Banging final

“It was the first event of the year, we were lucky because we had good conditions,” said Losserand. “Not easy, for sure, big waves and gusty wind; a lot of variables to manage, so it was complicated.  But I’m very happy to finish third. The girls’ level was super, they were riding the best they could. It’s true that it was not easy, but a first podium of the year is always nice, so I’m happy.”

The final was a banger. Capucine Delannoy went wave-for-wave with Moona Whyte in the intimidating conditions and put some good scores on the board. But Whyte’s wave selection, ability to link the sections and flowing open face hacks were peerless, earning her a healthy lead.

By the close of the heat Whyte had the conditions dialled and cut loose with perfect 10-point rides, a remarkable feat that had defied the best men in the world a day earlier. It sealed the fate of Delannoy who took second.

“That was really fun,” said Delannoy. “The waves were pretty challenging. It was fun to have another final with Moona [Whyte]. I’m happy about the riding I did. It was actually tricky with the wind and the super-big waves. There was so much adrenaline and it was scary, but so nice at the same time.”

words: Ian MacKinnon
images: Lukas K Stiller

GKA Kite-Surf World Cup Cape Verde 2024 results

Women
1 Moona Whyte (USA)
2 Capucine Delannoy (FRA)
3 Camille Losserand (SUI)
4 Charlotte Carpentier (FRA)

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