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Sunday, 26 May 2019 18:11

Polish training partners Magda Woyciechowska and Julia Damasiewicz grabbed the top spots in the standings in the women’s fleet at the Formula Kite World Championships in China in fickle breezes that got the best of most of their rivals.
    
The duo, both just 14, leap-frogged overnight leader, local favourite Jingle Chen (CHN), to secure the leaderboard’s first and second spots respectively in finely judged racing.
    
In breezes that toyed with race officials, often dipping below 6kts and rarely getting above 8kts, Woyciechowska scored two bullets from the only two races possible in the start-stop racing off Guangxi province’s Beihai city.

On day three of the scheduled six at the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) Formula Kite Asians, the men’s fleet racing separately also only managed to get in two races, with a third abandoned when the already light breeze completely died on parts of the course.
    
Still, Russia’s Denis Taradin had used the opening two contests to extend his points lead. Rivals in 17-strong fleet had few answers to his pace and tactical awareness that gave him healthy leads and earned him two bullets.

Many of the athletes in the 26-strong roster from 11 nations, including the Polish teenagers, hope to post sufficiently-strong performances to win enough ranking points to secure themselves a spot at the inaugural World Beach Games in San Diego where kiting will make its debut.

But first Woyciechowska and Damasiewicz had to make up for lost ground after they were obliged to retire for mistakenly sailing the wrong course on day one. Woyceichowska did that in style on day three taking wins as others failed to complete the course, finishing long before rivals—alternately Natalie Flintrop-Clarke (AUS) and Damasiewicz.

In her day’s second race she was harried by Chen and Damasiewicz all the way round the  rhomboid track just off the beach. But Chen failed to ley the final top mark and put her kite down in a lull, never to recover.

“It was really really light, but it was OK,” said Woyciechowska, who revels in the light airs. “I was fighting with Jingle Chen all the way round in the second race, but then she couldn’t make the mark. I’m really happy. It’s my first international competition where I’m in the top three.”

Even though Damasiewicz stumbled in the day’s first race and failed to finish, eking out a second spot in the day’s final race earned her valuable position that kept her just ahead of Chen on the leaderboard.

“That was cool,” said Damasiewicz. “The wind is tricky here and you don’t know where it’s going. I was second in the last race and I was happy to finish. Magda’s my friend and we’re always fighting on the water. If one of us makes a mistake, the other wins. I prefer strong wind, but when it’s light she’s the hero.”

The youngest competitor Max Maeder (SNG), just 12, was equally happy. He had been second in the day’s last race, before it was abandoned. “I was second and I wanted it to go on so that I could finish it,” he said. “I was really happy I made it back to the beach without swimming. I’m certainly learning a lot in every race.”

Top five men after ten races (two discards)

1 Denis Taradin (RUS)          8pts
2 Mario Calbucci (ITA)         18pts
3 Ejder Ginyol (TUR)           21pts
4 Sam Bullock (NZL)           25pts
5 Lukas Walton-Keim (NZL) 33pts

Top five women after ten races (two discards)

1 Magdalena Woyciechowska (POL)         14pts
2 Julia Damasiewicz (POL)                      26pts
3 Jingle Chen (CHN)                              27pts
4 Natalie Flintrop-Clarke (AUS)               28pts
5 Benyapa Jantawan (THA)                    39pts

Full results: http:/www.formulakite.com

Saturday, 25 May 2019 16:06

China’s Jingle Chen shrugged off her forgettable first foray at the 2019 Formula Kite Asian Championships and threw down the gauntlet to rivals with an almost perfect performance on the regatta’s second day to surge convincingly to the head of the order.
    
The 18-year-old scooped five bullets and a second spot in her day’s six races in ideal foiling conditions of breezes that varied from 8kts to 11kts on the flat waters off Guangxi province’s Beihai city, south-west China.
    
Her stellar racing when she barely put a foot wrong and had enough speed to leave the others in the women’s fleet trailing was the mirror opposite of her first day’s efforts after she was forced to retire from both races, once for following the leaders’ wrong track.

“I’m at the front today, so I have to follow my own course and that’s good for me,” she said. “The wind is much better today, perfect for my 21m kite. I’m getting good starts, which I think has helped a lot.”

Day two of the scheduled six at the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) Formula Kite Asians—sponsored by Beihai City—offered the 26 athletes from 11 nations the ideal opportunity to advance their positions in the high-octane foiling discipline.

Russia’s Denis Taradin was among those who rose to the challenge. Like Chen, after some slight misfortune on the championships’ opening day, Taradin hit his stride with four bullets in the men’s fleet’s five races.

Taradin’s superior pace on his 21m foil kite around the rhomboid windward-leeward track helped him leap up the standings as the others just behind him traded places in the scrap for the top places.

“I feel I have good speed today,” said Taradin. “In the races I won I had 10 or 15 seconds' lead on the others. But when I came in fourth I’d rounded the top mark first, but Mario Calbucci was very close. I crashed a gybe downwind and just couldn’t get back up on terms.”

Calbucci (ITA) scooped a bullet when Taradin faltered in one race and was able to add a clutch of high-placed finishes that were enough to keep him touch with the Russian in second spot on the leaderboard with all still to play for.

“It’s good racing today,” said Calbucci. “The wind’s not too light and I had good speed. I made mistakes but got some good results, though I hit a jelly fish just before the finish in the day’s third race. I ended up fifth, but that’s how it goes.”

Overnight leader, Turkey’s Ejder Ginyol had a slightly more mixed outing and slipped to third overall. But his performance was still good enough to notch up a second and third that kept him in the hunt.

Just behind him New Zealand’s Sam Bullock, hunting points to earn a slot at the World Beach Games in San Diego in October, also found his groove and earned two seconds and a third-placed finish.

“I got behind my countryman Lukas [Walton-Kiem] in one race,” said Bullock. “I'm not used to that and I pushed really hard. I think I was able to carry that speed into the next races. I definitely went better today.”

Top five men after eight races (two discards)

1 Denis Taradin (RUS)          6pts
2 Mario Calbucci (ITA)          13pts
3 Ejder Ginyol (TUR)            16pts
4 Sam Bullock (NZL)             17pts
5 Lukas Walton-Keim (NZL)  23pts

Top five women after eight races (two discards)

1 Jingle Chen (CHN)                                7pts
2 Magdalena Woyciechowska (POL)       12pts
3 Julia Damasiewicz (POL)                      14pts
4 Natalie Flintrop-Clarke (AUS)                21pts
5 Benyapa Jantawan (THA)                     24pts

Full results: http:/www.formulakite.com

Friday, 24 May 2019 16:23

The four women who topped the standings at the 2019 Formula Kite Asian Championships found themselves dramatically pushed down the order when they were forced to retire from one race after discovering they failed to sail the proper course.
    
For the young Polish pair—Julia Damasiewicz and Magdalen Woyciechowska, both 14—the mistake was a rude awakening to the complexity of top-level racing. Until their withdrawal for missing a mark and failing to complete a lap in the opening day’s second race, they stood first and second with respectively.
    
Natalie Flintrop-Clarke (AUS) and China’s Jingle Chen conceded that they had suffered crashes on the track off south-western China’s Beihai city beach and had followed the leaders, failing to realise they too had made their own mistakes and shortened the course.


The errors handed Benyapa “Fon” Jantawan (THA) the lead, with a bemused Bilge Ozturk (TUR) close behind in second after two races in the opening skirmishes of the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) Formula Kite Asians.
    
But with a further five days of the Beihai City-sponsored competition and many races in the offing, any of the leading athletes should have more than enough opportunity to claw back any deficit and reassert their dominance.
    
The Polish duo in particular had a near perfect record of two bullets and two seconds until their demotion and looked quick around the rhomboid track in the tropical breezes of around 12kts, that dropped to around just 7kts before racing was halted in early afternoon.


Damasiewicz and Woyciechowska, like many of the men racing in a separate fleet, are hoping their placings at the regatta’s end will earn them enough points to secure a place in kiteboarding’s appearance at the inaugural World Beach Games in San Diego in October.
    
The men’s fleet fared slightly better, squeezing in three races. But some suffered their own misfortunes. Russia’s Denis Taradin notched up two wins, but his opening foray came to grief when he struck a large jelly fish with his hydrofoil, crashed and finished down the order, leaving him poised in fourth overall.
    
Turkey’s Ejder Ginyol put in a good shift, taking three second spots that were enough to give him pole position just ahead of Italy’s Mario Calbucci, who opened his campaign with a bullet.


“It’s pretty good,” said Calbucci, riding his 21m foil kite. “In the first race the wind wasn’t so gusty. The other two were very technical. The wind was shifty, left and right by as much as 25 degrees and I missed the layline two times. But I’m quite happy.”
    
New Zealand’s Sam Bullock sits third overall with two third-placed finishes, but accepted that Taradin’s ill-luck had given him a leg up in the day’s opening race.
    
“I got lucky in the first when Denis Taradin hit something,” said Bullock. “In the third race I was struggling a bit for power on my 19m. But I still managed to hang in there. To be honest I’m still suffering from jet lag a bit. But I’m looking forward to better breezes that are forecast.”


 

Ozturk was similarly pleased to find herself second overall, thanks to some good fortune of her own. “I had bad starts for both races. But in the second race I hit something and fell off badly. The girls ahead me just got further away really quickly. I didn’t understand why. It turned out they hadn’t sailed the proper course. You have to sail your own race sometimes and experience comes in handy.”

Top five men after three races (no discards)

1 Ejder Ginyol (TUR)             6pts
2 Mario Calbucci (ITA)            8pts
3 Sam Bullock (NZL)            10pts
4 Denis Taradin (RUS)         13pts
5 Lukas Walton-Keim (NZL) 14pts

Top five women after two races (no discards)

1 Benyapa Jantawan (THA)                  6pts
2 Bilge Ozturk (TUR)                           6pts
3 Julia Damasiewicz (POL)                   11pts
4 Magdalena Woyciechowska (POL)      12pts
5 Natalie Flintrop-Clarke (AUS)            13pts

Full results: http:/www.formulakite.com

Thursday, 23 May 2019 16:36

The quickest kitefoil racers in Asia are set to battle for the continental crown in a week of enthralling action on the smooth waters off the south-western Chinese beach city of Beihai.
    
The continent’s finest athletes will be pushed hard by a sprinkling of international kitefoil racers who have made the journey to fight for glory on Guangxi province’s Beibu Gulf.
    
Many of the racers hope their endeavours over six days of competition at the 2019 Formula Kite Asia Championships will be enough to land them a coveted spot in the lineup at October’s inaugural World Beach Games in San Diego, organised by the Association of National Olympic Committees.
    
Inevitably China is well represented at the Asian championships, sponsored by the City of Beihai, with eight athletes among the 26-strong field from 11 nations around the region and the world, who will likely face light tropical breezes.

Among Team China’s racers vying to secure a Beach Games spot, where the Formula Kite format limits athletes to series production hydrofoils and kites, Jingle Chen and Hao Ran Zhang are favourites to come out on top.
    
Chen has already tasted the thrill of Olympic competition when she represented China in the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) TwinTip: Racing (TT:R) slalom competition at the Youth Games in Buenos Aires last October.
    
With a team-mate she will be competing in the Formula Kite mixed team relay format to be used when kiteboarding makes its historic debut at the Paris 2024 Olympics’ Marseille venue.
    
Part of the Asian championship regatta will be given over to testing the mixed relay format, where teams of one man and one woman each race one lap of the track, conducting a “flying” handover. It is only the format’s second trial, following the groundbreaking first outing at the Formula Kite Worlds in Italy last month.

The prospect of a slot at the Beach Games and looking further forward to the Olympics has drawn an ever-younger fleet who will hit their peak by the time the Games roll around.

Max Maeder (SNG), just 12, and Qibin Huang (CHN), 13, are closely followed by two Polish girls, Julia Damasiewicz and Magdalena Woyciechowska, both 14. Each girl could earn a Beach Games spot if they can finish in the top half of the women’s fleet in the championships.
    
In the men’s fleet, which will race separately, highly-ranked Russia’s Denis Taradin must be odds on favourite to come out on top, though Italy’s Mario Calbucci will no doubt give him a run or his money.

Full results: http:/www.formulakite.com

Monday, 06 May 2019 01:02

France’s Nico Parlier and the US’s Daniela Moroz mounted successful defences of their titles in difficult conditions at the 2019 Pascucci Formula Kite World Championships played out on the waters of northern Italy’s stunning Lake Garda.
    
For 18-year-old Moroz the crown was a remarkable fourth in succession, while Parlier could bask in the glow of three back-to-back Formula Kite world titles in the face of increasingly-stiff challenges from ever-quicker fleets stacked with talent.
    
Moroz came into the five days of competition in a relaxed frame of mind, but was nonetheless stoked with her unbroken haul of titles against a growing women’s fleet eager to break her dominance.
    
“I’m absolutely delighted,” said a beaming Moroz. “It was challenging and I learned a tonne. I know it’s only going to get harder from here as more girls start getting into it and begin training with more intensity. It was pretty cool racing on iconic Lake Garda for the first time, too.”

Likewise, Parlier sees that kiteboarding’s inclusion in the line-up for the 2024 Olympics in Paris has made the competition even tougher with a host of new young faces, which only serves to make his third championship victory sweeter.
    
“I’m really happy as I didn’t expect it much,” said Parlier. “It’s definitely getting harder. The guys are getting quicker and it’s pretty tight. I felt really fast, but many are close to me. The starts were insane with 30 in the ‘gold’ fleet. The racing was really interesting here under the cliffs.”
    
The championships—hosted by Campione Univela and supported by Regione Lombardia—fizzled out in slightly disappointing fashion when an icy 40kts storm blew over the track, coating the overlooking mountains with snow and preventing racing on the final day.
    
The opening men’s qualifying series for the 87 athletes had been shortened, too, by a lack of wind on day three, with another day given over to the first trial of the mixed team relay format to be used when kiteboarding debuts at the Olympics’ Marseilles sailing venue.

But with enough races on day one to seed the top men’s “gold” flight, the athletes and the women’s fleet had each enjoyed four pulsating races on the championship’s fourth and penultimate day.
    
While Parlier and Moroz had dominated the opening races, they found the competition tougher towards the close. Parlier could only manage one bullet to match his second and two third placed finishes in breathtakingly quick and close racing.
    
Britain’s Olly Bridge, returning after break when he seems to have recharged his batteries, took a bullet, second and fifth spots that were just enough to maintain his second place overall.
    
“I’m pretty happy to be honest; it’s a good result,” said Bridge. “I wasn’t expecting too much. I was riding well and making good moves in the races, so I was pretty relaxed. I felt good and I think that helped.”

Bridge just edged out fellow countryman Connor Bainbridge. He finished equal on points but lost out on count backs and took the third podium spot with what was still stellar racing in the ultra-competitive fleet.
    
“I’m super-happy with the result,” said Bainbridge. “I definitely wanted to be on the podium, and it’s nice to be there with Olly Bridge and Nico Parlier—two others at the top of their game. But the next stop I want is top of the podium.”
    
Former world champion Russia’s Elena Kalinina was equally pleased with her second podium spot, clinched in such a spectacular setting at Lake Garda against such a tough fleet.
    
“I liked this competition a lot, and I’m happy with my progress,” said Kalinina. “I really enjoyed this spot and racing in the girls’ fleet. It’s got so big it will definitely push the level, which makes it interesting.”

2019 Pascucci Formula Kite World Championships—Results

Men
1 Nico Parlier (FRA)            
2 Olly Bridge (GBR)        
3 Connor Bainbridge (GBR)

Women
1 Daniela Moroz (USA)        
2 Elena Kalinina (RUS)        
3 Breiana Whitehead (AUS)

Mixed KiteFoil Team Relay
1 USA (Daniela Moroz / Evan Heffernan)
2 FRA (Alexia Fancelli / Maxime Nocher)
3 RUS (Elena Kalinina / Denis Taradin)

Men U19
1 Arthur Lhez (FRA)
2 Oliver Hansen (DEN)
3 Scott Whitehead (AUS)

Women U19
1 Daniela Moroz (USA)
2 Valeria Garashenko (RUS)
3 Julia Damasiewicz (POL)

Men U16
1 Maximilian Maeder (SGP)
2 Jakub Jurkowski (POL)
3 Michal Wojciechowski (POL)

Women U16
1 Julia Damasiewicz (POL)
2 Magdalena Wojciechowska (POL)
3 Nina Arcisz (POL)

Men (Masters)
1 James Johnson (DEN)
2 Nico Landauer (URU)
3 Ejder Ginyol (TUR)

Women (Masters)
1 Steph Bridge (GBR)
2 Natalie Flintrop-Clarke (AUS)
3 Claire Durand (FRA)

Men (Grand Masters)
1 James Johnson (DEN)
2 Wilson Veloso Junior (BRA)
3 Pierluigi Capozzi (ITA)

Full results: http:/www.formulakite.com

Saturday, 04 May 2019 22:09

The current men’s and women’s title holders, France’s Nico Parlier and the US’s Daniela Moroz, are sitting in pole position to retain their crowns after a scintillating penultimate day of hydrofoil racing at  the 2019 Pascucci Formula Kite Worlds fought out in Italy.
    
But the pair both stumbled in several races under stiff challenges from ever-faster kitefoil rivals. The slips blotted their previously-perfect records at the world championships being contested on Lago di Garda with its breath-taking mountain backcloth.
    
In near-perfect foiling conditions, in breezes that built during the afternoon from 6kts to around 11kts, Britain’s returning Olly Bridge picked up a bullet and a second in his day’s four races to leave him second overall.

Friday, 03 May 2019 22:25

Dreams of capturing coveted Olympic medals when kitefoil racing makes its debut at the 2024 Games in Paris has prompted nations to invest heavily in kiteboarding programmes to unearth and hone top athletes.
    
The dynamic of kiteboard racing on display at the 2019 Pascucci KiteFoil World Championships being fought out on northern Italy’s Lago di Garda has altered dramatically since the sailing discipline won Olympics inclusion last year.
    
Now a number of countries with strong sailing backgrounds and big Olympic ambitions have fielded large national squads, often made up of extremely young athletes who will reach their peak by the time the mixed team kitefoil relay graces Marseilles venue.
    
But on day three of the world championships off Campione del Garda—supported by Regione Lombardia—rain and thunder showers stopped the reliable Ora thermal winds from building and prevented any racing.

Friday, 03 May 2019 22:13

A special test event to trial the new mixed relay race format that will be used when kiteboarding makes its historic debut at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games saw the US’s reigning Formula Kite world champion Daniela Moroz and partner Evan Heffernan top the standings.
    
But the pair edged out France’s Alexia Fancelli and former world champion Maxime Nocher by just one point in a day of thrillingly close race action on northern Italy’s breath-taking Lago di Garda on the sidelines of the 2019 Pascucci Formula Kite World Championships.
    
With all the world’s fastest kiteboarders gathered to contest the world championships—hosted by Campione Univela and supported by Regione Lombardia—most who could muster a mixed team joined the trial for which one day was set aside.

Wednesday, 01 May 2019 23:54

Reigning kitefoil title holders France’s Nico Parlier and the US’s Daniela Moroz got the defence of their crowns off to a perfect start in stellar conditions at the Pascucci Formula Kite World Championships played out on the splendour of northern Italy’s Lake Garda.
    
Both dominated their respective fleets, with a delighted Parlier taking all four of his races, while Moroz left the other women in the fleet of 30 trailing far in her wake on the trapezoid course in 10kts to 12kts of breeze.
    
The opening exchanges of the 2019 edition of the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) Formula Kite Worlds were fought out by the athletes in the largest and fastest foiling fleet ever assembled.

Wednesday, 01 May 2019 10:57

The lure of Olympic glory has drawn the largest fleet in years—studded with all the world’s fastest kiteboard racers—eager to do battle on northern Italy’s spectacular Lake Garda at the 2019 Formula Kite World Championships.
    
A full complement of 87 men and a remarkable roster of 30 women, many of them novices in the high-octane discipline of kitefoil racing, will take to the track at Campione del Garda in five days of competition.
    
Last year’s decision to include mixed kiteboard team racing in the line-up for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris has encouraged many young athletes from a total of 29 countries to join the fray to hone their skills and race-craft, with nations like Britain, Poland and France showing impressive commitment.


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