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Friday, 12 January 2018 01:00

Portsmouth, RI (January 12, 2017) – Olympic Bronze Medalist Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.) and IKA Formula Kite World Champion Daniela Moroz (Lafayette, Calif.) today were selected as US Sailing’s 2016 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year.

This selection follows the announcement in December of the eight men and six women shortlisted for the award and recognized as sailing’s top performers of the year by US Sailing. A slate of nominees, determined by the membership of US Sailing, was presented to a panel of accomplished sailing journalists, who together discussed the merits of each nominee and individually voted to determine the ultimate winners.

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Foiling prodigy Daniela Moroz has reached the pinnacle of her sport at the age of 15. On the world’s largest stage, the high school sophomore rose to the occasion on the final day of racing at the IKA Formula Kite World Championship last September in Weifang-Binhai, China.

Moroz was on equal points with reigning world champion, Russian Elena Kalinina, 18, on the last day of racing. Despite the light air, which had typically favored Kalinina, Moroz won all four races on the final day to secure the world championship. She won eight of 12 races overall.

Moroz posted top results throughout 2016 on the Hydrofoil Pro Tour. She placed first in the women’s fleet at the Final Round in Rockingham, Western Australia and first place at Round Three in Pointe d’Esny, Mauritius. Moroz’s consistent results propelled her to the top of the Hydrofoil Pro Tour women’s final standings.

“It didn’t feel real at first,” said Moroz. “I couldn’t believe it actually happened. It’s always been something I dreamed of doing ever since I started kiting. I’ve been training and racing with Erika Heineken since the beginning and she is a role model and inspiration to me. To be able to do what she did means a lot.”

“The Hydrofoil Pro Tour was awesome,” added Moroz. “It is one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Traveling around the world and being able to compete is a dream. The racing is a big part of it, but it’s not everything. I’ve made some great friends along the way.”

Moroz learned how to kiteboard at the age of 11 while taking lessons on Sherman Island. In the summer of 2013 she had her first racing experience out of Crissy Field at one of the Thursday Night Races. Soon after, she learned how to foil and raced the entire 2014 season on a Sword.

“Both of my parents were windsurfers, so they introduced me at an early age. “I chose kiting because this sport had really taken off. Soon after I began racing, the progression from raceboards to hydrofoil had started and I followed that progression.”

Moroz has her sights set on another world championship and she would like to race on the Hydrofoil Pro Tour again in 2017. She also has high hopes that kiteboarding is selected as a sailing event for the 2020 Games in Tokyo. Moroz will also be preparing to compete at the Buenos Aires 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games.

Source: US Sailing

Sunday, 11 December 2016 14:03

The 49er, 49erFX, Men's and Women's RS:X, Nacra 17 and Formula Kite finished their week of competition with Medal Races on the Stadium course in front of the St Kilda Sailing Precinct in a mixed day of breeze.

Last to race on Saturday, the foiling Formula Kite class had the best of the conditions, a 12-knot breeze and beautiful afternoon sunshine which produced a fantastic showcase for the class and some of the best kiteracing footage seen so far.

Oliver Bridge (GBR) took a 14-point lead into the three single-point non-discardable kite Medal Races however, in the first race things did not quite go to plan, "I wasn't at my best in the upwind and I caught something at the second windward mark and just hit the deck. Something was stuck on my foil and I couldn't get started again. It was quite annoying but I managed to catch up a couple of places."

Bridge worked his way up to fifth and a top finish in the second race would confirm him as the World Cup champion. He found his foiling feet again and won the final two races with relative ease. He concluded, "In the last two I was able to sail my own race from the front. It was difficult as there was a lot of seaweed on the course which made it hard to handle but I was able to get in front and stay there."

Florian Trittel (ESP) pushed up to second overall after a 1-2-4 scoreline. This relegated Guy Bridge (GBR), younger brother of Oliver, to third overall.

Top 10 results Formula Kite Open:
1. Oliver Bridge (GBR) - 24 pts
2. Florian Trittel (ESP) - 40 pts
3. Guy Bridge (GBR) - 41 pts
4. Florian Gruber (GER) - 43 pts
5. Martin Dolenc (CRO) - 71 pts
6. Alejandro Climent (ESP) - 92 pts
7. Sam Bullock (NZL) - 96 pts
8. Marvin Baumeister (GER) - 110 pts
9. Mani Bisschops (AUS) - 118 pts
10. Jordan Girdis (AUS) - 126 pts

Full results:
http://manage2sail.com/en-US/eventonly/bf593da8-bbe7-4a41-b482-014e216c7603/style/worldcup#!/results?classId=5e7b75f6-6d2f-4d5a-97e5-e5bd405c8055

Full World Sailing Press Release: http://www.sailing.org/news/41369.php#.WEyt6hrhBnI

Rewatch the live coverage of the Kiteboarding Medal Races here: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBU8xjyN-lw&t=16652

Tracking replay of all races is available here: 
https://swc2016-melbourne.sapsailing.com/gwt/Home.html?#/regatta/races/:eventId=dd2edeed-b9eb-483e-b3e9-d4761d0d58d2&regattaId=SWC 2016 Melbourne - Formula Kite

Pictures of the event can be downloaded here:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/s884fq3hakmlq7a/AADB2welIRWwiUKaa95iXkaZa?dl=0
Credits: Sailing Energy / World Sailing

Monday, 10 October 2016 14:18

The 2016 Sailing World Cup Final set to be held out of St. Kilda sailing precinct in Melbourne, Australia from 4-11 December will see Kiteboarders fly once again on Port Philip but this time, on foils.

The IKA Formula Kite (foil) class event will feature 20 competitors, 16 male and 4 female, the same as the Olympic events. In addition, there will be an Open Kiteracing event for riders who have not qualified for the Sailing World Cup Final. This will be open to an unlimited number of male and female competitors.

The Qualification System for Kiteboarders wanting to compete at the 2016 Sailing World Cup Final is available here -http://www.sailing.org/worldcup/onb.php

Riders who have qualified include:
• The winner of Sailing World Cup Melbourne 2015;
• The best ranked Oceanic competitor of Sailing World Cup Melbourne;
• The top 3 ranked male from the IKA Formula Kite World Championships;
• The top 3 ranked female from the IKA Formula Kite World Championships.

The remaining places will be assigned through the World Sailing Rankings -http://www.sailing.org/rankings/fleet/index.php

Invitations will be sent to qualified riders on Friday 14 October 2016.

The competition format will be fleet racing in a qualifying/final series plus medal series. New course configurations (all based on windward/leeward courses) as discussed by the IKA formats working party will be used.

Friday, 16 September 2016 14:29

Monegasque rider Maxime Nocher seized the Formula Kite crown with a stellar performance in the final day’s short, sharp medal races, making it three world titles in succession.

Nocher began the day with a healthy lead but knew he had to keep clear of trouble in the “platinum” fleet’s four races with only the top ten men. In the end he notched up two bullets and two fourths in the 6kts to 7kts breezes that were barely sufficient to clear the heat haze that shrouded the track off Joy Sea Beach, Weifang, eastern China.

But as much as Nocher’s hat-trick of world titles is a stunning feat, the victory of US foiling prodigy, Daniela Moroz, just 15, was utterly remarkable against such a classy and tactically astute women’s field.

Moroz had started the final sixth day of competition on equal points with the reigning world champion, Russian Elena Kalinina, 18. Moroz had appeared to have no answers to the Russian in the light airs of day five and trailed in second in each of the four races.

Yet in the last four races in similarly light breezes Moroz found another gear. On her Ozone R1V2 kite and Mike’s Lab foil the American completely turned the tables on Kalinina, with a perfect score of four bullets.

In the day’s second contest on smooth waters Kalinina crashed hard on a drag race to the line battling against Britain’s Steph Bridge — who ultimately took the third podium spot — after catching some debris. But even then Moroz was long gone, a story repeated in every race.

“That’s pretty crazy,” said a clearly elated Moroz, as she waded ashore. “It haven’t really got it yet. I’m pretty happy. It’s so cool. I was pretty bummed about yesterday. I had her in a couple of races and lost. Today I relaxed and tried to cover her and sail without any mistakes.”

The ever-unflappable Kalinina could only shrug her shoulders at the turn of events but recognised that Moroz — considered strongest in the heavier conditions of her Crissy Field, San Francisco, home spot — had discovered something in the lighter airs too.

“I was absolutely trying my best, but she had a speed advantage,” said Kalinina. “Yesterday she made some mistakes that cost her, but today she was perfect. Also, the wind was a little stronger today and more stable today, which helped her.”

For Nocher, newly on a foil by the Italian brand, Banga, the title also brings the joy of knowing he is the first to clinch the Formula Kite title since rule changes brought the class into the foiling era.

In the patchy light breezes blowing over the Yellow Sea, the super-efficient hydrofoils and foil kites came into their own, producing scintillating racing at mind-boggling speeds as the skills of the whole fleet have increased exponentially.

Nocher had to be at the top of his game on the final day to see off the challenge from his training partner Axel Mazella (FRA), who initially sat just a few points adrift in second overall going into the medals races.

“It was really intense today,” said Nocher. “We only had 10 in the fleet, but they’re all the best riders and we’re altogether on the course. That’s my third world title, but my first Formula foil title. So it’s really wonderful to win it.”

Britain’s Olly Bridge, 18, occupied third spot overall entering the final day and realistically knew he had no title shout. But a bullet in the day’s opening clash and a second spot were enough to push him up the order and take the second podium spot at the cost of the French teenager, Mazella, in third.

“I had a pretty good start with a win in the first race, but then I had a tangle which put me down to eighth in one race,” he said. “I’m generally pretty good on the last day and I was just trying to keep it together. I think I’m beginning to handle the pressure pretty well. I had a small chance of winning, but Nocher would have had to screw up pretty badly. So, overall I am happy.”

MEN Overall standings:

1 Maxime Nocher (MON, F-One/Banga) — 21pts
2 Olly Bridge (GBR, Ozone/Levitaz) — 31.5pts
3 Axel Mazella (FRA, F-One/Banga) — 35pts

WOMEN Overall standings:

1 Daniela Moroz (USA, Ozone/Mike’s Lab) — 16pts
2 Elena Kalinina (RUS, Elf/Banga) — 21pts
3 Steph Bridge (GBR, Flysurfer/Levitaz) — 42pts

Full results men:http://formulakite.com/images/documents/2016FormulaKiteWorldsMedalMen.pdf
Full results women:http://formulakite.com/images/documents/2016FormulaKiteWorldsOverallWomen.pdf

Low resolution pictures can be downloaded fromhttps://www.dropbox.com/sh/m1xaet02neud8ek/AAAkpoL_qER0W_bU9tBdLLLFa?dl=0

Thursday, 15 September 2016 14:40

Teenage Russian title holder Elena Kalinina stands neck-and-neck with the US rider Daniela Moroz as they enter the final day of competition at the Formula Kite (foil) World Championships in China.
Kalinina,18, trumped her even younger rival Moroz, just 15, scoring a perfect four bullets in ultra-competitive racing in breezes that barely topped 8kts blowing over the Yellow Sea’s almost glassy waters off Joy Sea Beach, Weifang Binhai, eastern China.
In the light airs the young foil sensation Moroz trailed in second in each of the day’s four women’s races. It was a complete reversal from Sunday when Moroz left Kalinina playing second fiddle in each of their four races in punchy conditions characterised by heavy swells and winds that topped 25kts.
Yet even the light breezes of day five were a welcome break after two lay days at the first International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) kitefoil worlds when the wind stubbornly refused to kick in even enough for the kitefoilers, who can display blistering pace in barely 5kts, to race.
The 49-strong men’s fleet were seeded into “gold” and “silver” fleets for the medal races after a qualifying series curtailed through lack of wind. The competition in the “gold” fleet’s five races was intense with none of the top riders able dominate, continually swapping places on the leaderboard.
But Nico Parlier (FRA), who topped the leaderboard at the start of the day thanks to a perfect performance on Sunday when he was untouchable in the heavy conditions, found the light breezes not to his liking.
On his Mike’s Lab foil and biggest Ozone R1V2 19m kite, Parlier struggled to match the pace of other lighter riders whose style and equipment were better suited the breeze that occasionally dropped as low as 5kts on parts of the windward-leeward track.
Italy’s Mario Calbucci riding a Banga foil and Elf Joker kite mounted a concerted challenge on the leaderboard with several strong early races, but then suffered misfortune when he tangled and his main kite was damaged, which caused him to fail to complete two races.
Before his costly mishap left him lying sixth on the leaderboard, despite being given redress for two races, he was buoyant. “For me these conditions are like home in the Adriatic Sea,” he said. “I think on my Banga foil I have the most speed in the field. It’s just that I need to improve tactically.”
Britain’s Olly Bridge, 18, was quick out of the gate and seemed about to notch up a victory in the day’s first when he headed for the finish line, apparently mistakenly believing it to be a two lap race, costing him dearly.
But he made up for his error with a clutch of scorchingly-fast races on his Levitaz Bionic foil, scooping a bullet, a second and a third place that left him third overall, just ahead of Florian Trittel (ESP) who was very much in the mix towards the top of the fleet on his KFA Mako foil and Ozone R1V2 kites.
Yet it was the training duo of Maxime Nocher (MON) and Axel Mazella (FRA), victor at the IKA KiteFoil GoldCup opener in Gizzeria, Italy, in July, who respectively topped the standings heading to the closing day’s showdown.
On identical F-one Diablo2 kites and Banga foils, Nocher was able to rack up three bullets to beat Mazella’s one. It might have been two, but in the day’s third race he crashed on a blistering reach to the finish when up against Bridge for the win.
“I caught a lot plastic bags in every race,” he said. “In the third race up against Bridge and Nocher I got one and fell and it cost me 20 seconds. But in the end it’s a game, and every rider has the same problems. So, overall I’m happy.”
Kalinina, also a new convert to the Banga foil that appears better suited to light winds, was also happy to reassert herself over her junior rival, Moroz, who pushed the Russian hard.
“We’re very close,” said the unflappable Kalinina. “It’s been like a match race with her. We’re covering one another on our tacks and gybes. It’s pretty tactical with the wind, that seems to shift on the right of the course.”

words: Ian MacKinnon
pictures: Alex Baranescu

Overall standings after ten races, with one discard:
MEN
1 Maxime Nocher (MON, F-One/Banga) — 11pts
2 Axel Mazella (FRA, F-One/Banga) — 18pts
3 Olly Bridge (GBR, Ozone/Levitaz) — 19.5pts
Overall standings after four races:

Overall standings after eight races, with one discard:
WOMEN
1 Daniela Moroz (USA, Ozone/Mike’s Lab) — 10pts
1 Elena Kalinina (RUS, Elf/Banga) — 10pts
3 Steph Bridge (GBR, Flysurfer/Levitaz) —23pts

Full results men:http://formulakite.com/images/documents/2016FormulaKiteWorldsOverallMen.pdf
Full results women:

Low resolution pictures can be downloaded fromhttps://www.dropbox.com/sh/m1xaet02neud8ek/AAAkpoL_qER0W_bU9tBdLLLFa?dl=0

Tuesday, 13 September 2016 14:42

Light breezes tantalised racers at the Formula Kite (foil) World Champions for a second straight day, but remained stubbornly insufficient to get off any races in the women’s or men’s “gold” and “silver” fleets.

In the absence of action, the 60 riders for 19 countries were briefed on the status of kiting’s bid for a slot in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and voiced concerns over some possible strategies apparently unfolding.

Markus Schwendtner, International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) CEO, outlined the possible pathway to an Olympics berth and the potential pitfalls that could lie in the way.

Key among the elite racers’ fears is that the Neil Pryde group — Cabrinha’s parent company — is attempting to establish a “one design” CR:X class with its convertible low performance foil and twin-tip board, and tube kite, in the hope of establishing a “class” and offering if for Olympics inclusion.

Riders were told that in line with their wishes, the IKA’s favoured option is to hold a “beauty contest” of leading high-performance hydrofoils and kites, choosing one of each eligible for mass production two-and-a-half years out from the Olympics as a one design model to be used in the Olympic Games and it’s qualifier events, so all athletes could train and compete on the same equipment while keeping the costs for World Sailing MNAs (National Sailing Associations) low.

Outside the Olympic pathway events, development of foils and kites would continue apace as normal to ensure equipment keeps going forward and does not become quickly dated and outmoded.

If kiting jumped the hurdles, any equipment could ultimately be chosen by the equipment and events committees of World Sailing (WS), kiting’s governing body under the International Olympic Committee (IOC), possibly in May next year.

But first comes the thorny issue of inclusion. WS is under pressure from the IOC to include kiting in its line-up (and to achieve gender equality), but is not able to increase the 10 medals available, which means that some creative work needs to be done with regard to the events of the current classes to get kiting into the Olympics.

WS is due to discuss its plans for the medals line-up at its annual conference in Barcelona in November, which will give a strong indication as to kiting’s prospects. A final decision will be taken at a WS special assembly in February by delegates from Member National Authorities (MNA).

A decision to include kiting would then have to be agreed by the IOC in June.

Most of the racers are extremely keen to see kiting win an Olympics slot, and were comfortable with the plan outlined. But they were anxious to get the message out that concerned kiters needed to push and educate their own country’s MNA delegates on the kiting’s merits, and stressed the desirability IKA should launch its own sophisticated media and PR drive to ensure success.

Similarly, the brands represented, Flysurfer and particularly Ozone, were alarmed at the prospect of one company cornering the Olympic market.

Neil Pryde has IOC connections as the maker of windsurfing’s RS:X class, and industry rivals and riders alike fear it could use their new CR:X one design hybrid class as a bridgehead to be chosen for the 2020 Games.

MEN Overall standings after five races (one discard):

1 Nico Parlier (FRA, Ozone/Mike’s Lab) — 4pts
2 Riccardo Leccese (ITA, Ozone/Mike’s Lab) — 5pts
3 Maxime Nocher (MON, F-One/Banga) — 8pts

WOMEN Overall standings after four races (one discard):

1 Daniela Moroz (USA, Ozone/Mike’s Lab) — 4pts
2 Elena Kalinina (RUS, Elf/Banga) — 8pts
3 Steph Bridge (GBR, Flysurfer/Levitaz) —16pts

Full results men:http://formulakite.com/images/documents/2016FormulaKiteWorldsOverallMen.pdf
Full results women:http://formulakite.com/images/documents/2016FormulaKiteWorldsOverallWomen.pdf

Monday, 12 September 2016 14:24

Riders at the Formula Kite worlds suffered a frustrating day on the beach under cloudless skies as the wind refused to blow until the last moment when a light breeze kicked in, but too late to get competition underway.

The 60 racers from 19 nations at the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) Formula Kite World Championships will be hoping the breezes forecast for the coming days prove accurate so that the race directors can make up any deficit.

MEN Overall standings after five races (one discard):

1 Nico Parlier (FRA, Ozone/Mike’s Lab) — 4pts
2 Riccardo Leccese (ITA, Ozone/Mike’s Lab) — 5pts
3 Maxime Nocher (MON, F-One/Banga) — 8pts

WOMEN Overall standings after four races (one discard):

1 Daniela Moroz (USA, Ozone/Mike’s Lab) — 4pts
2 Elena Kalinina (RUS, Elf/Banga) — 8pts
3 Steph Bridge (GBR, Flysurfer/Levitaz) —16pts

Full results men:http://formulakite.com/images/documents/2016FormulaKiteWorldsQualifyingMen.pdf
Full results women:http://formulakite.com/images/documents/2016FormulaKiteWorldsOverallWomen.pdf

Sunday, 11 September 2016 14:25

What a difference a day makes. French rider Nico Parlier dominated his fleet with a flawless four bullets at the Formula Kite world championships as he revelled in unusually blustery conditions that suit both his racing style and equipment.

Even in his day’s final race when reigning world champion Maxime Nocher (MON) threatened to finally snatch a victory on a searingly-quick reach to the finish, Parlier was just able to squeeze out his rival on the line in a photo-finish.

The contrast to the opening day of the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) Formula Kite (foil) World Championships could hardly have been more stark. In dying light airs and sultry heat, Parlier could only manage a fifth spot in his sole race.

But on the competition’s second day, with winds that built from about 20kts to around 26kts coupled by a mounting swell, Parlier was in his element on his smallest 11m Ozone R1 V2 kite and Mike’s Lab foil that proved ideal.

“These are definitely my conditions,” he said. “Beforehand I was very worried about the light conditions I thought I’d find here. Certainly this spot is different from every other I’ve been to. There seems to be some dust or mud in the water. It doesn’t feel fast. But I’m just trying to do my best and improve my skills.”

His pitch-perfect performances in the conditions were at odds with those of the stellar group of chasing riders in his qualifying fleet — one of two for the men — who found themselves outgunned and overpowered.

Like Parlier, the likes of Nocher, Axel Mazella (FRA) and Florian Trittel (ESP) had expected characteristic light breezes to bathe the Yellow Sea off Weifang, eastern China, and had failed to register small enough kites for the championship’s six days.

US rider Daniella Moroz, just 15, similarly destroyed a classy field in the 11-strong women’s fleet, leaving reigning world champion Russia’s Elena Kalinina, 18, far in her wake, with Steph Bridge (GBR) even further adrift.

With four emphatic victories in the women’s fleet’s four opening races, the teenager was in a class of her own. Her perfect day’s work also mirrored that of Parlier in that she, too, deployed her Mike’s Lab foil and Ozone R1 V2 kite with remorseless efficiency, though admitted her smallest 9m wing was overpowered in the punchy winds.

Moroz will be hoping the challenging breezes that match her home spot, San Francisco’s Crissy Field, continue over the next four days of racing for the women’s fleet, aware that arch-rival Kalinina is quick in light airs.

“I’m pretty happy with it,” she said. “I was a bit overpowered. But with the wind in San Francisco, I was able to work with it. I tried to play it pretty safe, not do anything crazy and stay comfortable while keeping an eye on [Kalinina].”

The men will race one further day of qualifying, before being seeded into “gold” and “silver” fleets, with the top 10 securing places for the medals races of the final climactic day to crown the 2016 Formula Kite world champion.

Italian-Colombian Rikki Leccese staked his claim with a great outing, claiming three bullets and a second place in his fleet’s four races. Noting that he, too, was on a Mike’s Lab foil and Ozone kite begins to seem like a tired refrain and suggests the leading trio had some unfair advantage. They hadn’t. But a change in conditions could change everything.

But for Leccese’s closest rivals, Britain’s Olly Bridge and Mario Calbucci, who racked up a clutch of second and third places between them, a shift in the weather might be their best hope of keeping them in the title hunt.

MEN Overall standings after five races (one discard):

1 Nico Parlier (FRA, Ozone/Mike’s Lab) — 4pts
2 Riccardo Leccese (ITA, Ozone/Mike’s Lab) — 5pts
3 Maxime Nocher (MON, F-One/Banga) — 8pts

WOMEN Overall standings after five races (one discard):

1 Daniela Moroz (USA, Ozone/Mike’s Lab) — 4pts
2 Elena Kalinina (RUS, Elf/Banga) — 8pts
3 Steph Bridge (GBR, Flysurfer/Levitaz) —16pts

Full results men:http://formulakite.com/images/documents/2016FormulaKiteWorldsOverallMen.pdf
Full results women:http://formulakite.com/images/documents/2016FormulaKiteWorldsOverallWomen.pdf

Saturday, 10 September 2016 14:26

French teenager Axel Mazella opened his campaign where he had left off at the KiteFoil GoldCup in Italy, with an emphatic bullet in the first race of the Formula Kite (foil) world championships.

His feat was matched by Britain’s Olly Bridge, 18, who signalled his intent when he also scored a convincing win in the opening race of the alternate men’s qualifying fleet, on the smooth waters off Joysea Beach, at Binhai, Western China.

But the light breezes over the Yellow Sea, that started out blowing between 10kts and 14kts, dropped steadily as skies cleared on day one of the inaugural International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) Formula Kite World Championships on foiling equipment, the first since rule changes enabled hydrofoil use.

After a joyous opening ceremony laid on by the Chinese hosts, the later start to competition saw the breeze decline to the point where it was only possible to complete two races, one for each of the men’s qualifying fleets.

But with the approach of the first race of the 11-strong women’s fleet — packed with the world’s leading riders — the winds swung onshore and dropped below 5kts forcing the race director to halt proceedings in the sultry heat.

The women’s fleet will race together for the forthcoming five days, while the men’s fleets will be re-ordered for the coming two days before being seeded into “gold” and “silver” flights, with the top ten racers earning spots in the medals races of the final day.

Sixty racers from 19 nations made the trip to Weifang to pit their skill and tactics in a line-up that comprises the vast majority of the world’s top riders in the still fast-evolving kitefoil discipline, many returning after a well-executed event at the same venue a year ago.

Italian-Colombian Rikki Leccese reflected the views of many when he praised the smooth organisation, while saying with their previous experience the returning riders were much better prepared.

“This is the second year, so we know the kind of weather to expect,” he said. “The riders are more prepared, bringing their huge kites. The kites themselves are all showing really good performance, even since last year. They’re very fast even in low wind.”

Leccese had used his Ozone R1 V2 kite and Mike’s Lab foil to good effect, snatching a fourth spot in his day’s sole race, just behind Mazella, Maxime Nocher (MON) and Florian Trittel (ESP).

Yet one of the biggest surprises is the sudden emergence of the 18-month-old Italian foil brand, Banga, as a potential winner. In the opening two races riders on the Banga foil — including Mazella and Nocher — took four of the top six positions.

Leading riders have been scrambling to get their hands on the foil after seeing its potential for better speed, and upwind and downwind angles. Italy’s Mario Calbucci and Julien Kerneur (FRA), both riding Banga foils, gave Olly Bridge a good run for his money in their day’s only race.

“The wind was very light, but with this new hydrofoil we can cope well and go fast in these conditions”, said a delighted Calbucci. “Since our last outing in Italy we’ve a new foil. It’s very strong and stiff, and the fuselage profile has been altered.”

One innovation on the Banga’s front wing is the use of what the makers describe as fancas — small front-to-back raised sections towards the front wing’s tips — that allow the ends to break the surface when hiked over hard upwind without causing ventilation and a crash.

The foil’s builder, Luca Filippi, is understandably stoked by the roster of riders like world champions Nocher and Elena Kalinina (RUS) who have been beating a path to the brand’s door in recognition of it’s success.

“It’s been a great deal of work, since April last year,” he said, as he fine tuned Calbucci’s wing. “All day and all night we work. Too much. But it’s beginning to seem like it was worth it.”

Overall standings after two races:

MEN
1 Axel Mazella (FRA, F-one/Banga) — 1pts
1 Olly Bridge (GBR, Ozone/Levitaz) — 1pts
3 Maxime Nocher (MON, F-One/Banga) — 2pts
3 Mario Calbucci (ITA, Elf/Banga) — 2pts

Full results men:http://formulakite.com/images/documents/2016FormulaKiteWorldsOverallMen.pdf

Friday, 09 September 2016 14:28

The stage is set for the opening exchanges in what will inevitably be a week of scorching action at the inaugural Formula Kite (Foil) World Championships on the butter-flat waters off eastern China.

Fifty-eight riders from 19 countries have assembled to battle for the title, the first since rule changes at the beginning of the year altered class rules to accommodate hydrofoil boards in the fast-shifting environment of kite racing.

Yet even in the “closed” Formula Kite class — which allows the use only of registered production foils — the emergence of fresh shapes have prompted some leading riders to switch from long-favoured brands as they seek any tiny advantage that might give them the edge.

If the mind-boggling speeds of the riders warming up inside the break-waters just off the beach at Binhai are any indicator, the crowds who will surely line the water’s edge over the opening weekend are in for a breath-taking spectacle.

In breezes that barely topped 5kts, groups of riders tested their angles and speeds against their closest rivals. It is a measure of foils’ ever-increasing efficiency, and a clue to their exploding popularity, that even in the zephyr-like airs the riders were topping 25kts.

With light and shifty winds forecast for the six forthcoming days of competition, it will more likely be those who revel in such conditions that stand the best chance of triumphing.

Among the women — who will race as a 13-strong fleet — reigning Formula world champion Elena Kalinina (RUS) much prefers lighter breezes that may give her an advantage over old rival, multiple world champion Steph Bridge (GBR).

It may also help the Russian avenge her defeat at last stop of the Hydrofoil Pro Tour (HPT) at the hands of the up-and-coming 15-year-old Daniela Moroz (USA). The consistently strong breezes in Mauritius had played to the strengths of Moroz, who trains and races in windy San Francisco.

For the men Briton’s Olly Bridge, 18, likes light conditions that suit his style of racing. But arch-rivals, France’s Axel Mazella, also 18, and Maxime Nocher (MON), also go quickly in lighter breezes.

But for Nico Parlier (FRA) — who scored back-to-back victories at HPT stops in strong conditions in Mauritius and San Francisco — the extremely light breezes apparently on offer in the coming days may not be quite to his liking.


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