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Wednesday, 29 May 2019 16:28

Poland’s Magda Woyciechowska landed her first international title when she sealed victory in the 2019 Formula Kite Asian Championships “open” division with a steely performance in fickle breezes in China.
    
The 14-year-old was able to see off a strong challenge from her training partner and fellow countrywoman, Julia Damasiewicz, also 14, over four intense days of competition and 16 hard-fought races off Guangxi province’s Beihai city.
    
Both finished ahead of China’s Jingle Chen who racked up a formidable haul of bullets and looked as if she could storm to victory at one point. But she stumbled in the light airs, failing to finish some races. It proved costly and she ended fourth, though it was enough to secure the Formula Kite Asian crown.

By contrast Russian veteran racer Denis Taradin barely put a foot wrong. He seized a remarkable 12 bullets that gave a commanding points lead by the finish that landed him the 2019 International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) Formula Kite Asians “open” title.

Italy’s Mario Calbucci pushed Taradin and pounced on any error by the Russian, snatching three bullets to add to his haul of high-placed finishes that saw him cruise to the podium’s second spot.

Ejder Ginyol (TUR) traded blows with Calbucci in an enthralling battle on the water in breezes that varied between 6kts and 10kts. Ginyol’s gritty performance earned him the third podium spot.

The regatta’s youngest racer, Max Maeder (SNG), 12, found a turn of pace and tactical assurance to challenge and occasionally beat the leading trio, finishing sixth overall and securing the Formula Kite Asian crown.

But on the final day of the scheduled six, unsettled tropical conditions over the track off Beihai city beach meant the wind failed to build, preventing any racing.

By then, however, with 16 races each for the men and women on the rhomboid windward-leeward course, the victors had done enough to prove worthy winners in the sometimes marginal conditions.

Still, on the regatta’s second and fourth days race officials managed to get six races away each for the men and women. The ideal foiling conditions of 8kts to 10kts for the competitors’ 19m and 21m kites sparked breath-takingly quick action.

For women’s champion Woyciechowska, who revels in the lighter airs, the conditions were perfect. She was a model of consistency, racking up four bullets and a raft of seconds with few of the costly errors that undid her rivals.

“I’m really, really happy,” said a delighted Woyciechowska. “But it hasn’t really sunk in yet. This is the first international competition where I’ve won. I had many second places and Jingle Chen was good, but unlucky when her kite went down. It’s so important to be consistent.”

Chen was slightly subdued despite lifting the Asian championship title, realising that her Achilles heal had been the lighter airs. In slightly stronger breezes she had looked unbeatable.

“I’m a little bit disappointed,” said Chen. “But now I know I have to do a lot of practice in the lighter winds. I got eight bullets, but also many poor scores when I didn’t finish the races.”

Taradin used his experience to the full grinding out wins in all conditions, but acknowledged that his ability to make the most of the lighter breezes gave him the edge.

“It was a great regatta,” said Taradin. “I can’t remember the last time we had 16 races, so it was nice. It was good racing. I felt for me it was extreme because of the light wind. But with my experience I could make it work even in 5kts or 6kts when it was difficult for the others. I’m pleased with the result.”

2019 IKA Formula Kite Asian Championships

Men (Open)
1 Denis Taradin (RUS)         14pts
2 Mario Calbucci (ITA)          30pts
3 Ejder Ginyol (TUR)           39pts

Women (Open)
1 Magdalena Woyciechowska (POL)         22pts
2 Julia Damasiewicz (POL)                      32pts
3 Natalie Flintrop-Clarke (AUS)               41pts

Men (Asia)
1 Max Maeder (SNG)             57pts
2 Qibin Huang (CHN)             86pts
3 Zhang Hao Ran (CHN)        95pts

Women (Asia)
1 Jingle Chen (CHN)                  44pts
2 Benyapa Jantawan (THA)        55pts

Full results: http:/www.formulakite.com/results

Tuesday, 28 May 2019 14:46

Ambitious kitefoil athletes have had to reset their approach to top-level competition in the face of a new set of challenges since national mixed team racing was chosen as an Olympic discipline for the Paris 2024 Games.

In what has until now been an essentially-individual sport, Formula Kite relay racing that will feature when kiteboarding makes its historic debut at the XXXII Olympiad’s Marseille sailing venue demands a fresh mindset.

For Formula Kite veterans and ingenues alike, the mixed discipline is an exciting and intriguing breath of fresh air that adds an unexpected layer of complexity to already tricky windward-leeward racing on stratospherically-quick hydrofoils.

But as elite racers at the 2019 Formula Kite Asians in Beihai, China, gathered to trial the new format—whereby the teams of one man and woman each complete one lap of a “short-track” course, with a “flying” handover—the wind refused to play ball and racing was cancelled.

One day of the six scheduled for the regatta had been set aside to give athletes a chance to practise and International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) officials an opportunity to refine the format. It was to have been only the second international outing after the first test at the World Championships in Lake Garda, Italy, last month.

Still, Formula Kite Asians’ leader Denis Taradin (RUS) remains completely sold on the mixed team relay format after his experience in Garda, taking the third podium spot when he teamed with former world champion Elena Kalinina.

“It’s so different from the racing we usually do,” said Taradin. “It brings veterans like me fresh energy, fresh juice. I’ve been competing for years and the top ten are always the same. Now it’s a whole new field. When either the man or woman’s in front, it changes everything and brings lots of emotion. It’s so much fun. What changes is that you can share secrets.”

For the Beihai trial, Taradin had by coincidence teamed with the women’s fleet leader, Poland’s Magda Woyciechowska, 14. She was thrilled by her experience in Garda when the level of teamwork needed and the importance of a seamless, split-second handover became obvious.

“All the guys were finishing at nearly the same time and there were many orange Ozone kites, so it was tricky to spot my partner Blazej Ozog coming so we could make a quick changeover,” said Woyciechowska. “We only had about one day to practise, but still we got 10th overall, which was OK.”

Her training partner, Julia Damasiewicz, also 14, took part in the first tests in Poland and teamed with Jakub Jurkowksi in Garda. She was delighted to win one race, beating a German team led by veteran former world champion, Florian Gruber.

“In one race we won against Florian Gruber, one of the best in the world,” said Damasiewicz. “In individual races we’re not as fast as we are when we’re together as a team. It’s hard to explain it. Perhaps he shares things that I don’t know, and vice versa.”

But beyond pure motivation and shared knowledge Sam Bullock (AUS), sitting fourth overall in the Asians, sees the potential for tactical match racing to assist a weaker team-mate.

“I think there might be an opportunity to match race in the pre-start phase to help your team-mate,” said Bullock. “It certainly adds another element. But I think the most important bit of the teamwork might be working with your partner to get them up to speed. The gaps between the women in Garda was far larger than the men and had big bearing on the outcome.”

Top five men after 16 races (three discards)
1 Denis Taradin (RUS)           14pts
2 Mario Calbucci (ITA)            30pts
3 Ejder Ginyol (TUR)             37.6pts
4 Sam Bullock (NZL)              45pts
5 Lukas Walton-Keim (NZL)   55pts

Top five women after 16 races (three discards)

1 Magdalena Woyciechowska (POL)       22pts
2 Julia Damasiewicz (POL)                    32pts
3 Natalie Flintrop-Clarke (AUS)             41pts
4 Jingle Chen (CHN)                            44pts
5 Benyapa Jantawan (THA)                  57pts

Full results: http:/www.formulakite.com

Monday, 27 May 2019 13:59

Poland’s Magda Woyciechowska stretched her lead at the 2019 Formula Kite Asians, just besting her countrywoman and training partner Julia Damasiewicz in a day of scintillating racing in perfect foiling conditions in China.

Local favourite and key rival, Jingle Chen (CHN), threatened to unseat the Pole when she exploded out of the blocks on the regatta’s fourth day at Guangxi province’s Beihai city—taking three bullets, two in the opening races.

But even after pipping Woyciechowksa in a photo finish after audaciously stealing the lead on the final downwind leg in the day’s race four, Chen suffered disaster when she twice dropped her kite before the start and failed to start the final two contests.

The catastrophe put her down the order to leave in her fourth overall, leaving the door open for Natalie Flintrop-Clarke who moved up to third after she scooped up a bullet and three third places in ideal 9 to 10 kts tropical breezes on the Gulf of Beibu’s flat waters.

Russia’s Denis Taradin also made hay in the sunshine, continuing his winning ways in the men’s fleet's six races, taking four bullets that gave him a lock on the top on the leaderboard, despite a disastrous first race when he crashed and could only manage eleventh.

The championship’s youngest racer, 12-year-old Max Maeder (SNG), looks ever faster and landed a bullet, a second and third-placed finishes that left him just adrift of the top five, comfortable in sixth overall.

The fourth of the scheduled six-day regatta offered the best of the so-far slightly stuttering conditions that enabled International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) race officers to get six races away each for the men’s and women’s fleets.

Many of the athletes are going not only for glory in the Asians championships, but are trying to accrue enough ranking points to allow themselves a tilt at the Formula Kite kite medals at the inaugural ANOC World Beach Games in San Diego in October.

In the men’s fleet New Zealanders Sam Bullock and Lukas Walton-Keim are battling near the top of the order, hoping to land a Games’ spot. Bullock finished the day strongly in fourth overall after earning two thirds at the death, though he had seen Walton-Keim ahead take the early honours with a second and a third.

“That’s much better today,” said Walton-Keim. “I’m starting much better. A little bit of match racing there.  That helped. When I’m clear I have good speed and good angles. In the last few days I was punished when I was behind a little. I’m a lot happier.”

Maeder was happy, too, with his breakthrough success on the rhomboid windward-leeward track, though his joy was tempered by the knowledge consistency is the name of the game and that the regatta still has some way to run.

“I got lucky in a few races,” he said, downplaying his finishes. “But I’m really happy. I feel I’ve been riding my new foil, so it was a process of getting used to it. I don’t want to let this carry me away. A lot can still happen and everything could change.”

Woyciechowska, 14, was similarly grounded despite finishing the day with a bullet after being a model of consistency with five successive seconds that gave her a comfortable lead at the top of the order.

“It’s OK, but I can do better,” said Woyciechowska, ruing one loss to Chen after misjudging the final, vital gybe. “That race was very sad. I just went too far and gybed too late to make the finish line. So many seconds is not so good.”

But Australia’s Natalie Flintrop-Clarke, sitting in third spot overall just behind Damasiewicz, 14, was elated with her first bullet and a trio of thirds that lifted her closer to her somewhat younger rivals. She was even able to shrug off her costly misfortune in one race when she crashed tacking while leading.

“Finally, a bullet,” said Flintrop-Clarke. “I was lucky to finish in one race. I tacked in a ‘hole’. I had real difficulty getting going again. I was lucky to finish at all. I think after finishing first in the previous race my confidence got the better of me.”

Top five men after 16 races (three discards)
1 Denis Taradin (RUS)           14pts
2 Mario Calbucci (ITA)            30pts
3 Ejder Ginyol (TUR)             37.6pts
4 Sam Bullock (NZL)             45pts
5 Lukas Walton-Keim (NZL)   55pts

Top five women after 16 races (three discards)

1 Magdalena Woyciechowska (POL)       22pts
2 Julia Damasiewicz (POL)                    32pts
3 Natalie Flintrop-Clarke (AUS)             41pts
4 Jingle Chen (CHN)                            44pts
5 Benyapa Jantawan (THA)                  57pts

Full results: http:/www.formulakite.com

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.


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