The gap at the top of the leaderboard shrank to nothing with the French rivals Nico Parlier and Maxime Nocher ending the penultimate day of the KiteFoil World Series final in Italy equal on points.
But reigning International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) KiteFoil world champion, Nico Parlier, just kept his nose in front courtesy of his superior scores despite finishing the day’s only race fifth after the breeze finally filled late in the afternoon on the resort island of Sardinia.
Britain’s Guy Bridge clawed back some of his deficit on the leaderboard. The teenager grabbed a bullet at the death in charged racing when the breeze blowing over the track off Cagliari’s Poetto Beach built to 8kts.
But the young Briton desperately needs more races to allow him to discard the score for a costly retirement in the five-day regatta’s first race when he got in a tangle and broke a bridle on his kite.
Still Bridge, on a 21m kite, was pleased with his outing on the Gulf of Angels’ smooth, sun-drenched waters after he took the lead on the final downwind leg of the two laps of the windward-leeward course.
“It was pretty tiring,” said Bridge. “It was full power all the way. My foot was numb on that last downwind leg. I pumped it for that last bit and made it into the lead.”
Germany’s Jannis Maus was delighted to take the second spot, even though he had surrendered first place to Bridge after leading for most of the race following a great start at the head of the 59-strong fleet.
“I had a super start and I was leading almost the entire race—for three legs. But then Guy Bridge got me on the last downwind,” said Maus. “He had a slightly bigger kite, but I also made a little tactical error. I’m really pleased with that finish, though.”
Fellow countryman, Florian Gruber, another former Formula Kite world champion, finished third to improve his position to third overall on the leaderboard.
“It was a good race for me,” said Gruber. “The wind was a little bit shifty and there was more on the outside of the course. Jannis Maus tacked earlier and got an advantage from a wind shift.”
The Sardinia Kiteboard Grand Slam and its prize purse of €20,000 is the final act of the three-stop tour that will crown the best overall athlete as IKA KiteFoil world champion.
US triple Formula Kite world champion Daniela Moroz, who heads the ten-strong women’s group racing in the mixed fleet, sits in thirteenth overall just ahead of Britain’s Steph Bridge.Top three men after three races
1 Nico Parlier (FRA) 8.0pts
2 Maxime Nocher (FRA) 8.0pts
3 Florian Gruber (GER) 15.0ptsTop three women after three races
1 Daniela Moroz (USA) 38.0pts
2 Steph Bridge (GBR) 106.0pts
3 Nina Arcisz (POL) 114.0ptsFull results: http:/www.kitefoilgoldcup.com