On June the 3rd, the Theatre of Tarifa hosted the 2nd edition of the Qatar Airways GKA Awards Ceremony.
This is the kiteboarding’s biggest and most prestigious event to honour achievements to the best athletes.
Mitu Monteiro was nominated for the Lifetime Achievement Award alongside Robby Naish, Aaron Hadlow, and Ruben Lenten.
This significant award was introduced this year, exceptionally, not only to recognize the individual’s accomplishments, but also to celebrate the enduring legacy.
The Global Kitesurfing Association created it with the specific goal of reminding future generations of the remarkable contribution that the Legend of Kitesurfing made to the field and inspiring them to strive for excellence and innovation.
The Lifetime Achievement award symbolises the highest level of achievement in kiteboarding and is a testament to the recipient’s lifelong commitment to the sport.
Overall, the Legends award is a way to honour and pay tribute to the pioneering individuals who have achieved greatness and left a lasting impact on the kiteboarding world, setting a standard for others to aspire to for years to come.
The most prestigious award
Could you imagine the meaning of being nominated for such a prestigious award?
Who had the chance to meet Mitu, know that he is an extremely humble individual who always recognises the worth of others around him.
This time, he was up against famous riders who had achieved incredible feats.
During this magnificent night many riders were crowned :
- Women’s Rider of the Year: Mikaili Sol
- Men’s Rider of the Year: Gianmaria Coccoluto
- Women’s Move of the Year: Zara Hoogenraad
- Men’s Move of the Year: Andrea Principi
- Social Contribution Award: Graham Howes
- Video of the Year: Airton Cozzolino
- Rookie of the year: Gabriel Benetton
- Photo of the Year: Samuel Cárdenas
Then, totally unexpectedly, the most emotional chapter of the ceremony arrived.
Dr. Jörgen Vogt, CEO of GKA, walks to the stage with the long-awaited white envelope containing the name of the Lifetime Achievement Award winner.
And as he opened it and said “MITU MONTEIRO” the crowd applauded and rose to their feed into a standing ovation.
Mitu was taken aback. He undoubtedly prepared a speech in case he won, but after the first lines, he burst into tears and could only utter and repeat “Thank you.”
It was quite moving.
The touching moment moved all of the participants. And in a couple of minutes everybody was crying.
This man is used to surfing the greatest waves and making us dreaming, but this time was different.
This time, the world champion and pioneer of strapless kitesurfing demonstrated his human side.
Mitu could only say through sobs, “I spent more time in the ocean than on land. And I hope to see all of you on the water somewhere around the world.”
When? Pheraps when you least expect it.
As it happens last march during the GKA Kite-surf World Cup in Cabo Verde when Mitu returned to competition at his native Ponta Preta break after his retirement in 2019.
Mitu’s wife is his first and biggest supporter, and she has always been by his side during all of his career’s crucial times.
Nicole stated that she couldn’t be more proud of her husband and was overjoyed that he had been named a kitesurfing legend. She admits that her opinion is biassed, but she believes Mitu deserves it because he has committed his entire life to this sport.
About his nomination, Mitu said:
“I returned to competition after a four-year absence this year to commemorate the 15th anniversary of my return to Cape Verde as a kitesurf world champion in 2008,” says Monteiro. “It’s impossible to put into words what this meant to my people, but I still remember the image of people waiting for me at the airport. Is it true that I’m a legend? I’m not sure. But if my success helped others, I consider myself to have won.”
The new serie
Mitu Monteiro – The man behind the legend
WATCH IT HERE
Don’t miss the 3-episodes web serie that has just been released.