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Monday, 22 May 2017 00:30

Reigning KiteFoil GoldCup champion Maxime Nocher sealed victory in the year’s first event with a perfect final day, racking up four bullets from four races in light breezes that threatened to die at any moment.

But even the fickle airs that shifted and barely topped 8kts were a welcome relief after three windless days that made for a stop-start competition, the first international kite competition in Korea, staged off Boryeong’s stunning Daecheon Beach.

While the breezes toyed with riders and race officials alike, Nocher (MON) was flawless on the final fifth day on the Yellow Sea’s flat waters, controlling each of the races even as Italian Riccardo Leccese snapped at his heels hoping for an error or mishap that never came.

Nocher, on his unmarked 19m Enata foil kite and Enata hydrofoil, proved unbeatable in the whole regatta marked by a lack of wind, adding the closing day’s four bullets to two he secured on the competition’s opening exchanges.

Riding a Mike’s Lab foil and Ozone R1 prototype kite, Leccese managed a good run of second spots that earned him the podium runners-up slot. Yet in the penultimate race he came momentarily unstuck when he struggled to leave the beach in the failing breeze close to shore and failed to make the start, a result he was fortunately able to discard.

Poland’s Maks Zakowski took the chance to grab a second spot in that race to the peerless Nocher, an opportunism that built on consistent placings throughout the event and won him the third podium spot, his best placing in an International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) KiteFoil GoldCup.

The IKA KiteFoil GoldCup, hosted and sponsored by the Korea Windsurfing Kitesurfing Federation, is the first of four slated globe-trotting stops for 2017, with back-to-back events in China in mid-September next on the cards.

But the wind that refused to play ball during the Korean event played havoc with the Kiteboard Tour Asia Twin-Tip slalom race open due to be staged simultaneously. It proved impossible to get away any races despite interest provoked by the format to be used in next year’s Youth Olympic Games in Argentina.

And while the final day proved tricky at times even for the foilers, they were still able to display scintillatingly-quick pace with their largest 18m and 19m kites in patchy breezes that occasionally dipped  below 4kts.

 In those zephyrs there is little margin for rider error with every tack and gybe requiring balletic precision. Yet the foilers still clocked almost more than 20kts on the two-lap windward-leeward track off Daecheon Beach.

None did it better than Nocher. But even he—like every other rider—caught debris and seaweed on his foil that threatened to derail his bid.

“In the day’s second race I was leading by far, but I caught a plastic bag and just couldn’t remove it and keep moving,” he said. “Leccese passed me and I still had the bag on my fin. I did that whole leg with the plastic bag, but past the gate it came off. Then I got the lead again.

“So, overall I’m very happy to have won this event. It’s been hard to deal with these conditions, but I’m near perfect in these light winds and Leccese could do nothing.”

Leccese remained happy with his second podium spot, nonetheless, sure it showed he still had pace even in the lighter breezes that favoured neither his physique nor his equipment.

“Overall I’m pleased with second spot,” he said. “It’s solid. I’m attacking the front of the field again. That puts me in a good frame of mind. I felt I was controlling the races at or near the front. Most of the others were on 19m kites, except for me on an 18m, yet I was still competitive.”

For Zakowski, on a Moses Comet foil and Ozone R1V2 kite, the decision to swim and body-drag off the beach just as Leccese came unstuck in the penultimate race’s dropping breeze proved fortuitous.

“I swam 200m to catch the wind to get out and it allowed me to finish that race second,” he said. “But my results have been very consistent, so I’m glad about that. Not up and down. This has been my best result, so I’m pretty happy.”

In the women’s group racing among the men, the novice 16-year-old Anais Mai Desjardins (FRA) caused an upset when she overhauled Alexia Fancelli (FRA) with a good run of results on the final day, with Korea’s Bitna Kim taking the third podium spot.

Overall standings after six races (1 discard):

MEN

1 Maxime Nocher (MON, Enata/Enata)                       5 pts
2 Riccardo Leccese (ITA, Ozone/Mike’s Lab)             13 pts
3 Maks Zakowski (POL, Ozone/Moses)                    20 pts
4 Florian Gruber (GER, Flysurfer/Levitaz)                20 pts
5 Theo Lhostis (FRA, Enata/Enata)                        22 pts

WOMEN

1 Anais Desjardins (FRA, Flysurfer/Spotz)              53 pts
2 Alexia Fancelli (FRA, Ozone/Taaroa)                     62 pts
3 Bitna Kim (KOR, Ozone/Levitaz)                         76 pts

Full rankings: 
http://kitefoilgoldcup.com/images/documents/2017_KFGC_Korea_Results.pdf

The next stop of the 2017 KiteFoil GoldCup will be in China with two events back to back between 8 and 23 of September, for a total prize purse of more than 100.000 USD

Sunday, 21 May 2017 01:27

That top-level kitefoil racing is first and foremost a psychological game almost goes without saying. But in the hothouse atmosphere of the KiteFoil GoldCup series’ opening exchanges the teasing wind—or absence of it—only underscored how those at the pinnacle are masters at maintaining their poise.

For many lesser athletes the tension of two windless days that prevented racing, followed by day four’s failed efforts to get races away after the breeze twice dropped below the requisite 6kts average might have been unbearable.

Yet in their own unique ways each of the 20 foilers from 13 nations competing in the International Kiteboarding Association’s season-opening KiteFoil GoldCup taking place off Boryeong’s Daecheon Beach, hosted and sponsored by Korea Windsurfing Kitesurfing Association, retained their focus.

Monaco’s Maxime Nocher still holds a firm grip on the lead going into the final fifth day courtesy of two bullets from the regatta’s only two races on the opening day, with Riccardo Leccese (ITA) just behind and a three-way points tie for third between Theo Lhostis (FRA), Florian Gruber (GER) and Maks Zakowski (POL).

Most craved the opportunity to cement their positions or claw their way up the leaderboard. Lhostis was on the water immediately the breeze was vaguely acceptable, riding his Enata 19m kite  and Enata foil.

 When the breeze hit 7kts on the line, the start sequence was initiated. But within minutes of the “off” it dropped to 4kts forcing postponement. A second effort soon after fared little better when the wind again failed, leaving many riders swimming.

Yet in the face of such mounting frustrations each were able to keep their eye on the prize, with Turkish veteran racer Ejder Ginyol maintaining his sense of humour and singing the virtues of a lengthy swim in the Yellow Sea.

“I wouldn’t call it frustrating, but psychologically it’s very tiring,” he says. “But for me racing is always psychological. Physically, you know you’re in a good place, but you don’t know what your rivals are up to. When I’m on the beach beforehand I’m stressed, but at the ‘ten-minute flag’ I have my game plan and I’m focused no matter what else is going on.”

If anything, Leccese is even more in the zone, easily able to block out all distractions that might detract from his race performance.

“I’m ‘full on’ as soon as I launch my kite,” says the infectiously-sunny Italian. “I’m like a lion chasing its prey. Nothing else matters. In the start sequence I try to observe what others are doing, but find myself a clear spot. After that, every race is different and that’s what I love.”

Germany’s Gruber knows from bitter experience that if he allows his focus to wander—out of necessity—to his university studies, say, his racing suffers. So in fallow times he keeps his race ‘game face’ on by drinking lots of water, running, and eating healthily and sparingly. He also takes the opportunity to check his equipment meticulously.

“To get more comfortable I check everything,” he says. “That gives me confidence and keeps my mind firmly on what we are doing, ready for when I get out on the course.”

Poland’s Zakowski never gets frustrated by the conditions, but rather takes the opportunity of lay days to relax, learn from more experienced riders and focus on the task ahead.

“I spend the downtime thinking about racing, but also relaxing as well,” he says. “I just enjoy the weather and the hotel, and chat to the other riders. I’ve learned so much from them. As for racing, I get nervous, but it’s positive nerves—motivating stress that’s useful to make a good race.”

Overall standings after two races:

MEN

1 Maxime Nocher (MON, Enata/Enata)                     2pts
2 Riccardo Leccese (ITA, Ozone/Mike’s Lab)           4pts
3 Theo Lhostis (FRA, Enata/Enata)                           9pts
4 Florian Gruber (GER, Flysurfer/Levitaz)                 9pts
5 Maks Zakowski (POL, Ozone/Moses)                    9pts

WOMEN

1 Alexia Fancelli (FRA, Ozone/Taaroa)                     31pts
2 Anais Desjardins (FRA, Flysurfer/Spotz)                42pts
3 Bitna Kim (KOR, Ozone/Levitaz)                            62pts

Full rankings: 
http://kitefoilgoldcup.com/images/documents/2017_KFGC_Korea_Results.pdf

Saturday, 20 May 2017 01:50

When five-time Olympian Mike Gebhardt asserts that kiting securing a berth at the 2020 Tokyo Games would change everything in the sport, with an explosion of interest and money, it is not to be taken lightly.

The renowned racing coach, who helped foiling prodigy Daniela Moroz to her first Formula Kite World Championship title last year at just 15 and Rob Douglas to the 2016 International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) Speed World Championship crown, knows what he is talking about.

On the sidelines of the IKA KiteFoil GoldCup series’ opening round in Boryeong’s Daecheon Beach in Korea—where a stubborn absence of wind on day three again allowed no racing—Gebhardt was confident of new and even brighter horizons.

Kiteboarding is to be considered as a “showcase” event—short of full medal status—by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in the coming months after World Sailing’s (WS) Council put the sport forward for inclusion.

If the IOC agrees the WS proposal—kiting operates under the auspices of WS through the IKA—it is likely that some form of “short-track” kitefoil racing for men and women would grace the XXXII summer Olympiad.

Gebhardt, who was instrumental in ensuring kiteboarding momentarily won an Olympic medal slot back in 2012, witnessed first hand the effect even that dashed gambit had with a dramatic upsurge in interest and participation.

At the course-board Formula Kite World Championships in Cagliari, Italy, in 2012, the numbers of entrants “maxed out” at a staggering 240 competitors, many of them kiting novices who switched from windsurfing in pursuit of the Olympic dream.

“Sport is driven by money,” he said. “When it becomes Olympic, kiting will become huge. The brands and the manufacturers will invest heavily. As soon as it’s Olympic, it’s no longer a fringe sport.

“The Olympics are like a peaceful war. The ideal is benevolent, but it ends up with resources being thrown at it. That’s a really positive impact. Kiting’s healthy, inexpensive and accessible. That will be great in allowing all smaller, less rich nations to buy into it. And now we also have the crazy high-performance of foils.”

Gebhardt, aside from his role on the IKA executive committee, has seen the Olympic effect up close and personal. He represented the US in windsurfing in each games from 1984 to 2000 and is back in Korea, where won his first Olympic bronze medal in 1988.

A key player in helping the IOC select the original RS:X class for windsurfing after 2002, he coached Israel’s Gal Fridman to Olympic gold in windsurfing at the centennial Athens Games in 2004.

“Windsurfing at Olympic level was quite some juggernaut; that’s what kiting will get,” said Gebhardt, 51, now living in the kiting mecca of Cabarete, Dominican Republic. “There is a huge amount of money and the industry will get really involved.”

In his windsurfing pro-tour days in Maui, Gebhardt competed against many familiar names who became kiting luminaries: Robbie Naish, Pete Cabrinha and Roberto Ricci among them. But in 2003 he converted to kitesurfing completely, the appeal of the smaller, lighter equipment that takes less toll on the body the big draw.

These days he is coaching, focusing on his young riders like Tiger Tyson, 15, with whom he travelled from Antigua to compete in the Kiteboard Tour Asia (KTA) Twin-Tip Race Open being staged simultaneously to the IKA KiteFoilGoldCup, hosted and sponsored by the Korea Windsurfing Kitesurfing Association.

The goal is qualification for the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina next year, where the format will be TT:R slalom racing. But even in the KiteFoil GoldCup he has noticed more riders showing up with coaches, a bellwether that changes are afoot in kiting’s new potential Olympic era.

“That’s a change for the better,” he said. “It’s a clear sign that the infrastructure is changing ahead of the Olympics and that more money is available.”

Overall standings after two races:

MEN

1 Maxime Nocher (MON, Enata/Enata)                     2pts
2 Riccardo Leccese (ITA, Ozone/Mike’s Lab)           4pts
3 Theo Lhostis (FRA, Enata/Enata)                           9pts
4 Florian Gruber (GER, Flysurfer/Levitaz)                 9pts
5 Maks Zakowski (POL, Ozone/Moses)                    9pts

WOMEN

1 Alexia Fancelli (FRA, Ozone/Taaroa)                     31pts
2 Anais Desjardins (FRA, Flysurfer/Spotz)                42pts
3 Bitna Kim (KOR, Ozone/Levitaz)                            62pts

Full rankings: 
http://kitefoilgoldcup.com/images/documents/2017_KFGC_Korea_Results.pdf

Racing continues through to Sunday with daily racing in the KiteFoil class and/or the TwinTip:Racing class depending on conditions.

Thursday, 18 May 2017 15:31

Kiteboarding is hopeful to earn a place on the Olympic stage at the Tokyo 2020 Games after World Sailing (WS) proposed it as one of two “showcase” disciplines to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

In a late February WS Council meeting delegates decided men’s and women’s kiteboarding events should grace the XXXII summer Olympiad, along with keelboat racing, in addition to sailing’s existing 10 medal disciplines.

The IOC will consider the proposal in the coming months, but any final move on the “showcase” events would come after the decision about the Olympic medal events in July.

As the wind refused to play ball on the second day of the IKA KiteFoil GoldCup in Korea, preventing any racing, talk among the riders inevitably turned to the hope of Olympics inclusion, a dream for most.

However, many uncertainties still remain. While the format and equipment is yet to be selected, the kiteboarding events will almost certainly be some form of “short-track” hydrofoil racing, with proposed 20 men and 20 women competing in separate events.

Although it is not entirely clear what “showcase” events would actually entail, or how much prominence and attention they will be afforded compared to full medal events, they are hopeful to become full medal events at future Games.

Gaining “Showcase” status for both men’s and women’s events offers certain upsides compared to “full medal status”, particularly in terms of greater flexibility over competition format and equipment.

Coming on the back of kiteboarding’s debut at the Youth Olympic Games with Twin-Tip slalom racing in Argentina next year, kite hydrofoil racing holds out the promise of electrifying the sailing world with the closest, fastest competition even in the lightest conditions.

With time running short for WS’s Member National Authorities (MNAs) to make preparations for kiteboarders to compete for the available slots, riders hope that equipment rules will likely follow the foiling Formula Kite model, that is, registered production high-performance foils and kites.

“If you do ‘showcase’ events with everything more relaxed, it is likely that there will be fewer restrictions on equipment, format and qualification process” said Markus Schwendtner, IKA CEO.”

For kiteboarding, it is envisaged that the 10 top ranked men and 10 women could qualify directly, with a further 10 men and 10 women — two from each continent — joining them. Such qualification model would ensure both high level competition amongst the world’s best riders and demonstrate the universal spread of the discipline.

Overall standings after two races:

MEN

1 Maxime Nocher (MON, Enata/Enata)                     2pts
2 Riccardo Leccese (ITA, Ozone/Mike’s Lab)           4pts
3 Theo Lhostis (FRA, Enata/Enata)                           9pts
4 Florian Gruber (GER, Flysurfer/Levitaz)                 9pts
5 Maks Zakowski (POL, Ozone/Moses)                    9pts

WOMEN

1 Alexia Fancelli (FRA, Ozone/Taaroa)                     31pts
2 Anais Desjardins (FRA, Flysurfer/Spotz)                42pts
3 Bitna Kim (KOR, Ozone/Levitaz)                            62pts

Full rankings: 
http://kitefoilgoldcup.com/images/documents/2017_KFGC_Korea_Results.pdf

Racing continues through to Sunday with daily racing in the KiteFoil class and/or the TwinTip:Racing class depending on conditions.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017 15:36

Reigning International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) KiteFoil class champion Maxime Nocher began the defence of his title in Korea in perfect style—notching up two bullets from two races.

In light breezes that struggled to reach 8kts, the Monegasque rider put in a solid shift on the first day of the KiteFoil GoldCup’s opening stop of 2017 taking place on the Yellow Sea’s flat waters just off Boryeong’s pristine Daecheon Beach.

At one point when a sea mist rolled in shrouding the otherwise clear blue skies, it appeared the 20 foilers who had journeyed from 13 countries around the globe might be denied any action with the breeze initially refusing to play ball.

But when skies cleared the wind filled in sufficiently for the foilers to take to the water. Race officials were able to get several races away in the four-stop GoldCup’s first east Asian foray, which is hosted and sponsored by the Korea Windsurfing Kitesurfing Federation, and supported by Boryeong City.

Nocher demonstrated his dominance and coolness under fire, leading both races of the two-lap windward-leeward course from start to finish signal barely 13 minutes later, putting his newly-launched Enata 19m kite and Enata foil to good use.

“It was a good start. I’m happy,” said a relaxed Nocher. “In the first race we had solid winds, but in the second it got a bit light and there were holes towards the bottom of the course. There was quite a lot of seaweed, but I only caught one piece and cleared it from my foil easily.”

Rikki Leccese (ITA), riding a Mike’s Lab foil and prototype Ozone R1 kite, pushed Nocher all the way in both duels. He crossed the line just a few seconds behind the Monegasque on each occasions but was happy with his efforts, fully aware that Nocher's forte is in light airs.

“It was an amazing day, considering these conditions are not my element,” he said. “I’m pleased. He was a little ahead of me each time and able to manage the races. The best I could do was hope to make him feel the pressure, put the ‘hammer on his neck’ in a sporting way, so that maybe he would makes a mistake.”

France’s dreadlocked Theo Lhostis, on identical Enata equipment to Nocher, notched up valuable points scooping sixth and third places, while former Formula world champion Florian Gruber took fourth and fifth spots.

Maks Zakowski (POL), on his first competitive outing on the all new Moses Comet foil and 19m Ozone R1V2 kite, picked up fourth and fifth places, pipping Julien Kerneur in choosing the marginally windier right side of the track on the final downwind leg to overhaul the Frenchman in the last race.

“This this the first time in competition with the Comet foil, so I’ve had no opportunity to test it against the other riders,” he said. “I feel I’m wanting a little for speed, but I’m trying to tune the foil to find some more pace. Still, I’m happy with the day.”

Among the five women racing in the open fleet, France’s Alexia Fancelli had a good start to the day when she took tenth spot overall in race one. But like many riders, she was unable to finish the second race as the breeze became so fickle and light at the bottom of the course that officials were forced to call racing for the day.

The light airs also meant that the Kiteboard Tour Asia’s Twin-Tip Racing Open slalom event being staged simultaneously was unable to get any races away. But with four days of competition remaining hopes are high that the high-octane racing format to be used at next year’s Youth Olympics in Argentina will get a chance to delight the Korean spectators.

Overall standings after two races:

MEN

1 Maxime Nocher (MON, Enata/Enata)                     2pts
2 Riccardo Leccese (ITA, Ozone/Mike’s Lab)           4pts
3 Theo Lhostis (FRA, Enata/Enata)                           9pts
4 Florian Gruber (GER, Flysurfer/Levitaz)                 9pts
5 Maks Zakowski (POL, Ozone/Moses)                    9pts

WOMEN

1 Alexia Fancelli (FRA, Ozone/Taaroa)                     31pts
2 Anais Desjardins (FRA, Flysurfer/Spotz)                42pts
3 Bitna Kim (KOR, Ozone/Levitaz)                            62pts

Full rankings: 
http://kitefoilgoldcup.com/images/documents/2017_KFGC_Korea_Results.pdf

Racing continues through to Sunday with daily racing in the KiteFoil class and/or the TwinTip:Racing class depending on conditions.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017 03:02

Reigning KiteFoil GoldCup title holder Maxime Nocher has been putting the final touches to his campaign to defend his crown in the season’s eagerly-awaited opening clashes in Korea.

Nocher (MON) — who is also the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) Formula Kite (Foil) world champion — and some of his keenest rivals have been testing conditions off Daecheon Beach, Boryeong.

The five days of racing due to commence tomorrow (WED, 17 May) will mark the first time the IKA GoldCup has graced east Asian waters in what is sure to be a thrilling contest as the foilers do close-quarters battle in breathtakingly fast action on the Yellow Sea’s smooth waters.

In another Korean first, the Kiteboard Tour Asia (KTA) will simultaneously stage a Twin-Tip Racing competition in the format that will be followed in the Youth Olympic Games to be held in Argentina next year.

The dual events being hosted and sponsored by the Korea Windsurfing Kiteboarding Federation, with the support of Boryeong City, will perfectly showcase Daecheon’s endless talcum powder beach framed by scenic islands and blue waters.

To mark the events’ kickoff, the Korea Windsurfing Kiteboarding Federation staged a dramatic opening ceremony, complete with exuberant traditional drumming signalling the fierce battles ahead.

Yet, as spectacular as the setting and the opening proved, it will inevitably be matched by the thrills and spills of the 20 foilers from 13 countries, and 22 Twin-Tip racers from 15 nations, fighting for glory and giving no quarter.

With Nocher on relatively-new and little-tested Enata foil kites, it will be intriguing to see if he can maintain his edge over Riccardo Leccese (ITA) on his super-quick set-up of Mike’s Lab foil and Ozone R1V2 kites.

Former Formula Kite world champion Florian Gruber (GER) has also set out his stall aiming to get his GoldCup season off to a storming start on new Flysurfer Sonic Race kites teamed with newly-designed wings on his Levitaz Bionic foil.

“I’m really looking forward to racing here in Korea,” said Gruber. “It’s a little different from China and it’s always nice to race somewhere new. It’s also important for me to come to the first event of the season and get points on the board, as you never know what will happen later in the year.”

The top riders in this year’s IKA KiteFoil GoldCup’s slated four events will earn themselves a spot in the IKA KiteFoil class world championship due to be held at the close of the year.

In Daecheon the likes of Maks Zakowski (POL) and the speedy French duo of Julien Kerneur and Theo Lhostis will be pushing hard to ensure their leading rivals do not have things all their own way on the windward-leeward track.

The five women will race in one fleet with the men but be classified separately, with France’s Alexia Fancelli a strong contender looking to build on her momentum of 2016 by concentrating her efforts on the KiteFoil GoldCup season.

But Bitna Kim (KOR), with the advantage of home turf despite spending the winter months training in La Ventana, Mexico, hopes she will be able to keep the French woman in her sights while savouring the moment.

“For me it’s interesting and exciting to race here,” said the 24-year-old from Incheon. “It’s not exactly my home spot, but at least it’s not far from home. I’ll just try to enjoy myself.”

In the Twin-Tip Race (TT:R) class Thailand’s Narapichit “Yo” Pudla, who recently clinched the Asian title at the inaugural event in his Pranburi home spot, hopes to follow the Korean’s lead.

“This TT:R is really a new discipline for me, but I really like it,” he said. “It’s very fast. The border cross element is exciting: ride fast and jump over obstacles. That’s the best bit. For the spectators it’s spectacular and easy to see.”

Wednesday, 12 April 2017 14:46

World Class Race Management, 15000 USD prize money, free airport shuttle and subsidised accommodation and food.

Only one month to go to the first GoldCup event of the season (plus some TT:R slalom racing to get you in the mood for the Youth Olympics).

15000 USD prizemoney and qualifier places for the KiteFoil World Championships later this year are up for grabs - the top 25 of the event qualify directly for the World Championship, while all others can collect important points to make their way to the Final through a good position in the World Ranking.

Pick up from Seoul airport is provided as well as subsidised accommodation and food. Not only the racing will be hot but also the legendary KTA parties.

Don't miss it !

Event Facts:
Location: Daecheon Beach, Boryeong, South Korea
Registration Day: 16 May 2017
Prizegiving Day: 21 May2017
Prize Money: 15000 USD
Entry Fee: 150 EUR
Event Website:www.kitefoilgoldcup.com
Registration: http://internationalkiteboarding.org/events/upcoming-events/kitefoil/69-2017-kitefoil-goldcup-korea
Notice of Race: http://kitefoilgoldcup.com/images/documents/2016-17_KFGC_NoR_SI.pdf
Invitation Letter: http://kitefoilgoldcup.com/images/documents/2017_KFGC_Korea_Visa.pdf
Travel, Shuttle and Accommodation Info: http://kitefoilgoldcup.com/images/documents/2017_KFGC_Korea_Accommodation.pdf

#ika #kiteclasses #yog2018 #tokyo2020 #kiteracing #kitefoilgoldcup

Monday, 03 April 2017 07:50

World Class Race Management, 15000 USD prize money, free airport shuttle and subsidised accommodation and food.

The 2017 KiteFoil GoldCup season will kick of in six weeks time at the all new and exotic venue, Daecheon Beach / Boryeong, South Korea

Located just 2 hours south of Seoul, it offers wide, sandy beaches with reliable side-onshore winds; a perfect setup for world level kiteboard racing action.

We have now published travel and accommodation information on the event registration page.

KWKF will provide free shuttle from Incheon International Airport to the event site. The event hotel is located just 5 minutes walk from the beach, and accommodation is subsidised to cost only 20 USD per night (from 16 to 22 of May).

Don't miss this event in an exciting new location, organised in cooperation with the KTA team which will ensure that there is not only plenty of racing action but also good party.

Event Facts:
Location: Daecheon Beach, Boryeong, South Korea
Registration Day: 16 May 2017
Prizegiving Day: 21 May2017
Prize Money: 15000 USD
Entry Fee: 150 EUR
Event Website:www.kitefoilgoldcup.com
Registration: http://internationalkiteboarding.org/events/upcoming-events/kitefoil/69-2017-kitefoil-goldcup-korea
Notice of Race: http://kitefoilgoldcup.com/images/documents/2016-17_KFGC_NoR_SI.pdf
Invitation Letter: http://kitefoilgoldcup.com/images/documents/2017_KFGC_Korea_Visa.pdf
Travel, Shuttle and Accommodation Info: http://kitefoilgoldcup.com/images/documents/2017_KFGC_Korea_Accommodation.pdf

The KiteFoil GoldCup serves as the Qualifier Series for the World Championship later in the year, where only the best riders can enter based on World Ranking and Qualifier events results. Please check the Notice of Race for details.

Also part of this five-day event is a TwinTip:Racing event in the Youth Olympic Games format, slalom and boardercross. Riders entering the KiteFoil GoldCup have free entry to this side-event.

Sunday, 20 November 2016 14:42

Reigning world champion Maxime Nocher put in a stellar shift on the closing day of of the International Kiteboarding Association KiteFoil GoldCup to bag another title in some of the fiercest and most competitive racing of the year.

The Monegasque rider began the day in second spot on the leaderboard just two points adrift of Britain’s Olly Bridge on the for fourth day of the finals of the “open” kitefoil world championship series.

But with two bullets, four seconds and a third spot in the day’s seven races, even as his training partner Axel Mazella (FRA) and Bridge pushed hard and match-raced him, Nocher kept clear and fast to do enough to grab the crown.

With three successive Formula Kite world titles, the latest secured in China in September, the addition of the second successive KiteFoil GoldCup crown now makes it an incredible ten kiteboarding world championships to his name.

Nocher’s jubilation was evident when he punched the air as he crossed the line second in the day’s penultimate race. Even before the last race he knew he had clinched the title as another discard available meant he could not lose whatever happened.

“When I crossed the line I knew I already had the win,” said a beaming Nocher. “The last race for me was free, and for me that’s when I race best. But overall I had a good competition. Perhaps I’m not the fastest, but I am the most consistent and that’s what helps me get there in the end. It was perfect really. I’m very happy.”

The closing day of four in the competition hosted by the Qatar Sailing & Marine Sports Federation off the The Pearl-Qatar island’s Qanat Quartier precinct finally provided unbeatable conditions for the 31 men and six women kitefoilers from 18 nations.

Doha’s characteristic breezes usual in the approach of the desert winter went largely missing for several days. Yet day two delivered sparkling racing when the full potential of hydrofoils teamed with ultra-efficient foil kites manifested itself with scorchingly-fast competition in breezes the rarely reached 7kts.

Slovenian teenager, Toni Vodisek, had his breakthrough moment when he clinched four bullets from the day’s six races, breathtakingly quick on his Levitaz Bionic foil and Ozone R1V2 kite.

Ultimately, his challenge faded as the slightly older and more tactically experienced riders regrouped, while he made a number of errors. But he still posted a bullet and third spot on the final day to give him fourth overall to mark him out as a rider with a bright future.

The 9kts to 13kts blowing over the mirror flat waters of the Arabian Gulf sparked the fastest and closest racing of the contest. The windward-leeward track, with 1.1 nautical miles between top and bottom marks, threw up a raft of photo-finishes even after more than one-and-a-half laps of the course with riders hitting more than 30kts on downwind legs.

As the breeze built, riders increasingly favoured the left track’s side to take the benefit of a lift towards the shoreline, choosing to tack several times to stay on the inside. One of the hydrofoil’s advantages, aside from sheer blistering pace, is that almost no time is lost in the tack.

The tactics of many of the top riders led to nail-bitingly tense duels with the top of the order rounding the windward mark at full speed within metres of one another. Yet there were few incidents despite the huge potential for tangles, testament to the riders’ skill.

Bridge, 18, on his Levitaz Bionic foil and 17m Ozone R1V2 was moderately pleased with his second podium placing, despite starting the day in poll. But he felt the stronger breeze would have played more to his strengths than was ultimately the case.

“I’m quite happy,” he said. “I thought I might have been more in control [of the races] because of the slightly stronger wind. But Nocher and Mazella just seem to a bit faster on their foils with the new wings.”

Similarly, Mazella, also 18, who notched up two bullets and three seconds, was pleased with his day’s performance. On his Banga foil and F-One Diablo2 kite, gear identical to Nocher’s, he was able to leapfrog Vodisek to third in the standings.

“For me it was a good day,” he said. “I like these conditions, gusty and very shifty. But the problem for me was the second day of racing. I’m not so happy about that. I made many mistakes, had many crashes, and chose the wrong options. But in the end that’s all part of the game.”

Russia’s Elena Kalinina, yet another 18-year-old, was the worthy winner of the women’s title, showing her pace, class and experience even when competing among the strong men’s fleet.      “I’m a bit tired, but happy,” she said. “I’ve never done seven races in a day. Overall I enjoyed racing among the men. Sometimes I can catch them. But their level is so high.”

Overall standings after 15 races (three discards):

MEN

1 Maxime Nocher (MON, F-One/Banga)        21pts
2 Olly Bridge (GBR, Ozone/Levitaz)               28pts
3 Axel Mazella (FRA, F-One/Banga)              33pts
4 Toni Vodisek (SLO, Ozone/Levitaz)             40pts
5 Florian Trittel (ESP, Ozone/KFA)                 65pts

WOMEN

1 Elena Kalinina (RUS, Elf/Banga)                193pts
2 Gina Hewson (AUS, Ozone/Levitaz)          270pts
3 Jade O’Connor (IRL, Elf/Banga)                 279pts
4 Ariane Imbert (FRA, Ozone/Banga)            311pts

Full results: http://kitefoilgoldcup.com/images/documents/2016_KFGC_Qatar_Results.pdf

Saturday, 19 November 2016 12:24

The wind played cat and mouse, but in the end there was just enough breeze and daylight to squeeze in one race on the penultimate day of competition at the finals of the “open” kitefoil world championship series.

But in the hard-fought race with the desert sun sinking fast, the fickle, shifty airs were ideal for Monaco’s Maxime Nocher to eke out another bullet that puts him one step closer to retaining his International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) KiteFoil GoldCup title.

His win over training partner Axel Mazella (FRA) by just one second at the line pushed him up to second place in the standings after a forgettable day two of the competition marked by misfortunes and mistakes that cast him down the order.

Yet courtesy of a third place finish Britain’s Olly Bridge holds his spot as overall leader going into the final day’s racing. With good wind finally forecast and just four points separating the top three riders, the high-octane action will undoubtedly furnish a fitting climax to the four-day championship played out on flat waters off The Pearl-Qatar island’s Qanat Quartier precinct.

Slovenia’s Toni Vodisek, just 16, is still very much in the hunt after blazing a trail with four bullets from day two’s six races, but his fifth place in the day’s only race caused him to slip to third overall.

Even Mazella, current KiteFoil GoldCup series’ leader after his victory in the opening round in Gizzeria, Italy, in July, is just a few points adrift in the competition hosted by the Qatar Sailing & Marine-Sports Federation.

The 31 men and six women, from 18 countries, have been racing as one fleet in an attempt to run as many races as possible in the short days and the light breezes that have only permitted eight races.

Day three came perilously close to proving a complete bust. An adequate 6kts to 7kts finally emerged in mid-afternoon. But while many of the lighter riders easily made it to the track from the beach and were comfortably riding in the 5kts to 7kts breezes, others were stuck in the wind shadow on the beach.

For more than an hour race organisers waited and helped riders to get on to the course. But with the starting sequence eventually underway, the wind dropped to less than 6kts and the race had to be postponed just 10 seconds before the off.      

When the yellow class flag finally dropped to signal the start Nocher, on his Banga foil and F-One Diablo2 kite, rarely looked back and led all the way. But he was aware that Bridge, on his Levitaz Bionic foil and Ozone R1V2 kite customised with a Union Jack flag, was hard on his heels.

As the pair match raced, covering one another’s tacks and gybes, they took the left side of the track on the second upwind leg of the two-lap race that unfolded in barely 13 nail-biting minutes.

Their duel left the door open for Mazella, who opted for the right side of the course where the wind was marginally stronger and steadier. It was a move that cost Bridge a place and almost allowed Mazella to overhaul Nocher.

“I’m so happy,” said a clearly relieved Nocher. “It’s a big fight with Olly Bridge and Axel Mazella for the world title, so every race you push hard and try to win. Every race is so important, partly because we will have only two discards. Yesterday, I made so many mistakes and broke my foil. But today I was clear and fast, and I’m pleased.”

For Russia’s Elena Kalinina, the path to the women’s crown seems assured. The 18-year-old has been racing fast and cleanly, putting her on a par with many of the men.

Overall standings after 8 races (1 discard).

MEN

1 Olly Bridge (GBR, Ozone/Levitaz)             17pts
2 Maxime Nocher (MON, F-One/Banga)      19pts
3 Toni Vodisek (SLO, Ozone/Levitaz)            21pts
4 Axel Mazella (FRA, F-One/Banga)             24pts
5 Florian Trittel (ESP, Ozone/KFA)                31pts

WOMEN

1 Elena Kalinina (RUS, Elf/Banga)                103pts
2 Gina Hewson (AUS, Ozone/Levitaz)          159pts
3 Jade O’Connor (IRL, Elf/Banga)                 160pts
4 Ariane Imbert (FRA, Ozone/Banga)            192pts

Full results: http://kitefoilgoldcup.com/images/documents/2016_KFGC_Qatar_Results.pdf

Low resolution pictures can be downloaded from:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/rlcyvekq21b9ysd/AADDMwUEWJsu6CEl0N5scloXa?dl=0 

For daily highlight videos, please see https://www.youtube.com/user/IKAClass/videos


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