Nocher, winner of ten world titles, cemented his comeback with back-to-back victories in the opening two acts of the KiteFoil World Series in China, giving him pole position to claim the championship.
Parlier missed the second stop in Pingtan and cannot therefore claim the crown. But Parlier had pushed Nocher all the way in the season opener in Weifang and had his rival in his sights with increasingly-quick racing towards the regatta's close.
Parlier will be looking to reassert his dominance in the five-day Sardinia event sponsored by the City of Cagliari and Tourism Sardinia, supported by Yacht Club Cagliari. It was there exactly a year ago that he lifted the IKA KiteFoil world championship title with peerless racing.
Both racers will find a tough new challenger, Britain’s Guy Bridge, snapping at their heels. Bridge took the Formula Kite European title in July, marking him out as a new threat to the established order.
The British teenager is among the 59 athletes from 17 nations—including 12 Italian competitors—who have made the trip to battle for the €20,000 prize money in the tour’s final on the Gulf of Angels’ track.
Triple Formula Kite world champion, the US’s Daniela Moroz, has also the made journey. The 2018 Rolex World Sailor of the Year nominee, still just 17, will race the windward-leeward course with the other women in the large mixed fleet over what is set to be an intense regatta.
Moroz will find herself up against former world champion Britain’s Steph Bridge, the US’s Kirstyn O’Brien, and a clutch of young Polish racers in the ten-strong women’s group. O’Brien is favourite to take the IKA KiteFoil world title as she competed in both China events.