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Under-21s ready to race at IKA Kitefoiling Youth Worlds Torregrande 2022

by Andy Rice, IKA 17 May 20:54 BST 16-22 May 2022

An international group of riders is ready to contest the Formula Kite U21 and A's Youth Foil World Championships in Torregrande on the west coast of Sardinia.

Taking place from 16 to 22 May, the World Championships are the ultimate test for these under-21 athletes as they foil above the surface at speeds in excess of 30 knots.

There are 87 riders representing 22 nations from four continents. With qualifying series races running at a target time of 12 minutes, and Medal Series races running for just 6 minutes, the action will be fast and furious with little time to rest between heats.

The Gulf of Oristano already proved itself as a world-class venue in October last year, when it hosted the senior riders in the Formula Kite World Championship. On that occasion it was France's Theo de Ramecourt and the USA's Daniela Moroz who respectively won the men's and women's senior world titles.

Some of the leading contenders at senior level are right in the running for victory at the Youth Worlds. In both the boys and girls divisions of the Formula Kite, the reigning world champions are back to defend their youth world titles. Singapore's 15-year-old Max Maeder will be the one to beat in the boys fleet.

Last year's runner-up from Italy, Riccardo Pianosi, is working harder than ever to beat Maeder whose achievements in kitefoiling are inspiring other young Asians to commit themselves to this high-thrills watersport. Although he has had little opportunity to take part in competition over the past two years, China's Qibin Huang is already showing great promise on the senior circuit and could reach the podium this week.

Last year in the girls division, Poland dominated the podium with Julia Damasiewicz, Magdalena Woyciechowska and Nina Arcisz taking gold, silver and bronze. Damasiewicz starts among the favourites for this year's female world title, but believes the challenge will be much greater this year.

"I'm super excited to see the progress that the young girls have been making this season. And I'm also super excited to check my progress compared to those girls because I have trained a lot. I hope that the result will be as good as last time, but every year the level is going up. We can see new faces and new talents in the fleet, which is what we like to see."

The A's Youth Foil Class is the entry level equipment and competition for up-and-coming kitefoilers looking to step up to Formula Kite. The objective was to provide a means for under-17 athletes to engage with the foil racing revolution, using affordable one-design equipment that is safe and widely available but at the same time modern and exciting. Riders compete on identical SABfoil carbon hydrofoils and boards, and Ozone Edge kites restricted to three sizes, 6m, 9m and 13m.

Although the foils are not as sharp as the Formula Kite foils, they are still high-performance foils creating a good boost of adrenaline to both riders and spectators. The kites are inflatable tube kites which make handling and relaunching a lot easier than the more powerful but less forgiving Formula Kite equivalent, while still capable of delivering very high consistent speeds across a range of wind and wave conditions.

As with the female Formula Kite division, Poland has some leading contenders in the A's Youth Foil class. Last year's male winner, Jan Koszowski, is back to defend his title. Bronze medallist in last year's female division Karolina Jankowska will be looking to go two better this year and see if she can climb to the top of the podium which last year's was won by Israel's Gal Boker.

Mirco Babini, President of the International Kiteboarding Federation (IKA), predicted another successful event in Oristano. "The success achieved at the World Championships in 2021 attracted excellent feedback at international level. Once again the local Eolo association will not disappoint and will show its logistical, organisational and sporting skills to the whole world with a strong participation from many nations. The youth riders will have a great regatta in Torregrande."

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