Please select your home edition
Edition
Trident-UK 2012 May

IKA KiteFoil World Championships at Poetto Beach, Sardinia - Day 1

by Ian MacKinnon 6 Oct 2017 12:33 BST 5-8 October 2017
2017 IKA KiteFoil World Championships day 1 © Alex Schwarz

None of the favourites to take the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) KiteFoil World Championship title had it all their own in the opening exchanges on sparkling blue Mediterranean waters off the Italian island of Sardinia.

In a surprise upset to the form books, France's Axel Mazella scored bullets in the first two races, holding countryman Nico Parlier at bay and pushing him into unfamiliar second spots on each occasion as the shifty breezes vexed the entire fleet.

Yet in the opening day's third and final race both Frenchmen—arguably the fastest racers in the fleet—came unstuck. Each separately tangled with other riders and had to fight their back way into contention but finished slightly down the order. That left the door open for reigning IKA KiteFoil GoldCup title holder and Formula Kite World Champion Maxime Nocher (MON) to take the win on his comeback at the Sardinia Kiteboarding Grand Slam after a four-month layoff.

Only Britain's increasingly quick teenager, Guy Bridge, could split the order with three consistent finishes in the thermal breezes that built to around 12kts and left him third on the leaderboard. His mother, multiple world champion Steph Bridge (GBR), had a slightly chequered outing missing one start by several minutes after suffering a tangle launching her foil kite on the beach. But racing in the mixed fleet, she managed to keep her nose in front of 16-year-old Anaïs Mai Desjardins (FRA) to give her the edge on the leaderboard.

Still, for all the drama of mixed fortunes on the water, the opening day of the IKA KiteFoil World Championship, which is also the concluding contest of the four-stop KiteFoil GoldCup series that began in May in Korea before proceeding to China for back-to-back events last month, lived up to the hype. With virtually all the world's top men on the start line for the first time this year on the first day of the four-day regatta, sponsored by Cagliari city and the Sardinia region, the showdown was bound to produce fireworks.

That Mazella opened his account taking two comfortable victories, leaving Parlier in his wake, was slightly unexpected. On the two laps of the windward-leeward track Mazella took early leads from where he barley looked back using his favoured 15m Enata foil kite. "I got good starts just in front of Nico Parlier," said Mazella. "But I needed to control the races all the time. I was just in front of him, so when he took a slightly higher angle, I did the same. If he went deeper, I followed suit. I'm really confident on my 15m kite."

Parlier had also started the day on a 15m Ozone R1V2 kite that had been big enough for the early winds. But for the racer who favours heavier conditions, the tricky breezes proved slightly troublesome. "It was pretty light wind," said Parlier. "But the biggest problem was that I had no idea which part of the course was favoured. In the last race I had a crash into another rider and that really didn't help, though I managed to get back into it at the end."

With the two Frenchmen fighting to get back on terms in the final race Nocher, who had switched to a second prototype foil, found another gear that gave him his first cherished victory, just ahead of Théo L'hostis (FRA), Italy's Mario Calbucci and Guy Bridge, who were hot on his heels. "After the first two races I changed the foil," said Nocher. "It had been giving me a lot of trouble, and the third race was way better and I managed to win, so I'm happy. It's my comeback after four months off, and I've only been training for two weeks, so it's a good start."

Full results: kitefoilgoldcup.com

Related Articles

Kitesurfing Youth Olympics Qualifications practice
Leading riders set to battle for coveted spots Many of the top contenders for the inaugural kiteboarding medals at the upcoming Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Argentina have gathered to fight for places at the second qualifying event in the notoriously windy spot of Dakhla, Morocco. Posted on 21 Feb
Leading riders set to battle in Dakhla
Top contenders ready for second qualifying event in Dakhla, Morocco Many of the top contenders for the inaugural kiteboarding medals at the upcoming Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Argentina have gathered to fight for places at the second qualifying event in the notoriously windy spot of Dakhla, Morocco. Posted on 21 Feb
SnowKite WorldCup Alto Sangro comes to a close
Perfect conditions for Formula GPS format Thirty of the strongest athletes of the Formula GPS discipline were given a battle on the mountains of the Alto Sangro ski area for the second leg of IKA Snowkite World Cup over the past weekend. Posted on 20 Feb
Lago di Resia will provide perfect conditions
For IKA SnowKite WorldCup The best riders in the world will compete in the mountains of the Alto Sangro ski area at SnowKite WorldCup from 14th to 18th February. The event is a part of a world tour promoted by IKA Posted on 10 Feb
Perfect conditions for IKA SnowKite WorldCup
More than 80 snowkiters race on Lake Reschen From 26 – 28 January 2018 Lake Reschen played host for more than 80 Snowkiters from all over Europe at this years first IKA SnowKite WorldCup stop with Florian Gruber (GER) being the dominating force in both Course Racing and Long Distance disciplines. Posted on 30 Jan
Follow the lines going south
It's always a pleasure to roll into a place like La Ventana With direct flights to Cabo from San Francisco, you can be out kiting the same day in board shorts on a windy Sea of Cortez. Everything I needed for a week of kite boarding fit into an over sized 'golf bag' - two boards, three kites, a harness and a foil. Posted on 29 Jan
New British Kite Race Series launched for 2018
CR:X is unique as the board converts from a traditional Twin Tip into a Hydrofoil The expected announcement that the Paris 2024 Olympics Games will include Kite Racing for the first time has put significant focus on this newest Sailing discipline. Posted on 29 Jan
First qualifiers for Kiteboarding Youth Olympics
North American/Caribbean division proves intense The final day of competition was a good one as we saw our young athletes put on a tremendous final showing, with finishes rarely seen so far – not only on the race course Posted on 22 Jan
Americas Kiteboard Youth Olympic Qualifiers day 4
Strong onshore winds brought a slight chill to the air in Cabarete Competition started a bit earlier than previous days, with a shift in wind direction to a more onshore angle. Wind speeds started out similar to yesterday, but as competitors moved through the eighth round of eliminations, the wind kicked up a notch. Posted on 20 Jan
Americas Kiteboard Youth Olympic Qualifiers day 3
Contestants from around the world rocked the Cabarete beaches again today Contestants from around the world rocked the Cabarete beaches again today in what was another exciting and successful day of Youth Olympic Trials. The weather did not disappoint – it was a beautiful sunny day. Posted on 20 Jan