“It’s an amazing feeling to to be the first wave world champion,” said Brito, 23. “It’s a dream come true. It wasn’t easy. When I came off the water, I’d lost against Noé [Cuyala]. But my friends told me I had to protest. I said no. ‘If I lose, I lose properly. If I win, I win properly.’ But my friends showed me the video. The judges agreed. We had a rerun and I won.”
Brito’s joy was short-lived. He came up against Cash Berzolla in the semi-final and was defeated, finishing fourth after losing again to France’s Axel Gerard. Gerard is another remarkable 16-year-old, who finished third in Dakhla.
That set up a final between Berzolla and France’s Malo Guénolé, 18, a repeat of their match-up in the deciding heat in Brazil, in August, when the Frenchman got the win. Both had done only two events and were not in with a shout for the title. In the tightest of finals, Berzolla turned the tables on his rival and avenged his earlier defeat to win in Dakhla.
“With only two events my goal was just to have fun in Dakhla, and I accomplished that,” said Berzolla. “I didn’t even realise I’d got third in the world championships as I thought I was out of the running. Wingfoiling is so new it’ll be interesting to see where it goes. There’s so much potential with the Wave category.”
words: Ian MacKinnon
images: Lukas K Stiller