Please select your home edition
Edition
Gul 2020 LEADERBOARD

Formula Kite Mixed Team Relay European Championships at Lake Traunsee, Austria - Day 2

by International Kiteboarding Association 17 Sep 18:21 BST 15-20 September 2020
Formula Kite Mixed Team Relay European Championships - Day 2 © IKA / Alex Schwarz

A wild thunderstorm ripped through the valley overnight, leaving competitors to wake up to a soggy and misty morning in Ebensee but did not stop Florian Gruber and Leonie Meyer (GER) to extend their lead into tomorrow's Final Series.

The deafening storm did more than steal sleep from the participants, it also took away the standard weather cycle that produces reliable winds, leaving the competitors postponed ashore again, playing fetch with dogs, pump-foiling off the dock or just chilling out enjoying the view.

After an unsuccessful expedition to the other side of the lake to see if the wind was better there, the skies began to clear and soon 9-10 knots was consistently registered on the race area, triggering the AP to come down at 1245, with Race 3 for Yellow starting at 1305.

With the women starting first, Julia Damasiewicz (POL) proved why she is currently ranked #1 in the world, dominating her lap of the race. "A lot of training... Maybe it was about a good start but also a bit about the gear," said Julia, racing an Ozone R1 V4 19.

The new format is proving to be exciting and getting better all the time, with the racing no longer being a "follow the leader" style procession, but with exciting lead changes occurring often. When Julia crossed the changeover line in first, executing an impressive changeover with her teammate Jakub Jurkowski (POL), the pressure was still on.

"My partner Julia came first, and all the way to the upwind buoy I was first, and then on the downwind buoy, Florian Gruber (GER) overtook me and he was first and I was second. He had very good speed and angle downwind... he is riding very good, so it is not just about equipment," said Jakub, cheerful at having been so competitive against the older, more experienced Gruber, who at world #3, is ranked substantially higher than the #23 seed Jurkowski.

The wind wavered and dipped below five knots, prompting a brief postponement ashore before the AP being removed again at 1355, allowing another race for all fleets to be completed in 6-7 knots. The second round of racing proved quite similar, with plenty of action despite the light winds.

In a fit of deja vu, Julia, Jakub and Florian played out a carbon copy of their earlier race of the day, whilst further back in the same race, battling for fourth Denis Taradin (RUS) crashed out on the final gybe, trying to overtake Blazej Ozog (POL), although managed to recover enough to secure fifth in that race.

Another brief postponement ashore during a light wind spell, and the riders were sent out again for further qualification races.

The format for the racing developed by the IKA is designed to cater to the medias' desire that the competitor who crosses the finish line in 1st place of the final race, wins the overall event, whilst ensuring that the racing stays fair and avoids a "winner take all" scenario often affected by chance.

Since only one 2024 Olympic medal was available for kiteboarding, the Mixed Team Relay configuration was chosen, deemed more exciting and fair than racing women and men separately and adding the points.

"Since we can not pass a baton like in running, we have used swimming relay as the basis for our format. So when one competitor crosses the 'changeover line,' finishing their lap, their teammate begins their lap by crossing the same line simultaneously. The position during the changeover is not counted, but the final position at the finish line determines the placing for the team as a whole, bringing in an element of strategy. In addition, since the riders have closing speeds close to 100km/h, the timing is critical for the changeover, providing some spectacular racing" says Markus Schwendtner, IKA Secretary General.

"There has also been a lot of consideration in designing the racing and scoring format, to come up with a fair racing scheme that satisfies the media driven desire for a "first across the line wins overall".

"To that end, we have the opening series, after which, the two top placed teams overall go straight to the Finals. The subsequent 12 teams then progress to the semi finals, with 6 in each fleet.

"Although the points are reset after qualifying, in order to acknowledge the teams' performance in opening races, these teams start with the number of points equal to their position as they enter the semi finals.This is done to condense the fleet while rewarding those who performed well during the opening series. Doing away with large point disparities makes the racing close across the two races we have in the semi finals."

"This way, all teams who make it to the semi finals, have a chance to make the finals and win the event. Immediately after the semi finals have each completed two races using the standard low point system, the winner of each of those fleets then progress to the finals.

"The semi finals and finals all happen on one day, typically called "Super Sunday," with the idea being that if there are 14 teams racing on the final day, audience interest comes from 14 nations, as opposed to having the finals raced separately where only four nations are represented, greatly reducing the media attention.

"The medal series is scored in a different way in order to achieve this "first over the line" concept. We have devised a first-to-three, "match point" system, similar to tennis, where the team that qualified 1st for the finals begins the finals with two points, the second placed team starts with one point, and the two teams who come from the semi finals start with 0. Since it is first-to-three, the first place team need only win the first finals race to win overall, the second place team must win two races etc.

"This ensures that the overall winner of the event, is the team that wins the last race, making it more attractive for spectators, while rewarding those teams that did well throughout the whole event. We have used this system a few times with great success, and we are fine tuning the concept as we move forward, listening to feedback from competitors and other participants."

Although radically different from the double-points medal race format of recent years, this new format has been widely praised by competitors, teams and media alike, and presents the kiteboard racing in an exciting new way that will generate maximum interest for our sport from the general public, securing the future of sailing and riding for years to come.

After seven qualifying races, Florian Gruber / Leonie Meyer (GER) are in first, closely followed by Connor Bainbridge / Ellie Aldridge and Guy Bridge / Katie Dabson (all GBR).

Racing continues with the opening series through to Saturday, and the semi-finals and medal series scheduled for "Super Sunday".

Top five teams after seven races (two discards)

1 GER 10 Gruber / Meyer 5 pts
2 GBR 14 Bainbridge / Aldridge 6 pts
3 GBR 22 Bridge / Dabson 6 pts
4 POL 21 Wojciechowski / Woyciechowska 7 pts
5 FRA 12 Nocher / Nolot 8 pts

Find full results here

Related Articles

Two GKA events confirmed in Brazil
Vibes are riding high Vibes are riding high after the success of the GKA Distance Battle last week, but that's not the only reason the athletes and team at the GKA Kite World Tour are smiling... we have been given the green light for competitions to resume! Posted today at 6:41 pm
GKA Freestyle Distance Battle winners crowned
The world's first fully digital kitesurfing competition The world's first fully digital kitesurfing competition the GKA Distance Battle crowned it's Freestyle winners last night in nail bitingly close heats! Posted on 12 Oct
GKA Distance Battle Freestyle Semi Finals
Who will win the Freestyle title? In the men's final we have Maxime Chabloz and Adeuri Corniel, two powerful and skilled athletes, and in the women's Rita Arnaus and Mikaili Sol, two women who are pushing the boundaries and setting new limits in competitive freestyle riding. Posted on 11 Oct
GKA Distance Battle Freestyle Semi Finals
It's time for the Freestyle athletes to show us what they have been training on all summer It's time for the Freestyle athletes to show us what they have been training on all summer. Who will be landing new tricks under pressure, and who will go through to the finals? Posted on 8 Oct
Champions crowned at GKA Distance Battle
The competition was tough and the scores were close Last night the GKA Distance Battle, the first of its kind, online kitesurfing competition, crowned it's Strapless Freestyle winners. The competition was tough and the scores were close but our champions battled through to take first place on the podiums. Posted on 5 Oct
GKA Distance Battle Strapless Freestyle Finals
Watch the top ranking athletes in the competition go head to head In the men's division Pedro Matos faces Camille Delannoy, and in the women's, Mikaili Sol will battle it out against Capucine Delannoy. Posted on 4 Oct
Men's and Women's Semi-Finals run live tonight!
The competition will be live streamed this evening. The next round of the GKA Distance Battle will run tonight with the men and women's strapless freestyle semi-finals. The competition will be live streamed this evening from 20:00 hrs CET. Posted on 1 Oct
Let the GKA Distance Battle commence
The war of the summer is about to begin The GKA Distance Battle starts today. The war of the summer is about to begin, your favourite athletes from around the world are battle ready and eager for the event to start. Posted on 29 Sep
GKA Distance Battle update
Bumped back one more week to give sailors a fair chance to get the footage needed Working with the elements at a kite spot is never easy, add multiple locations worldwide to the equation and the difficulty rating will increase dramatically. Posted on 22 Sep
Brits dominate at Kite Mixed Relay Euros
Connor Bainbridge and Ellie Aldridge follow up their individual Euros success The British Sailing Team's riders continued their run of kite medals taking gold and bronze at the 2020 Formula Kite Mixed Team Relay European Championships in Traunsee, Austria. Posted on 21 Sep