Porsche KiteFoil World Series kicks off in Gizzeria

2019 Kitefoil World Series

Italy sets the stage once more for world championship racing.

Hang Loose Beach highlights.


Words / Photos: Icarus Sports

Reigning KiteFoil World Champions Maxime Nocher (FRA) & Kirstyn O’Brien (USA) aim to defend their titles in Italy at the 2019 Porsche KiteFoil World Series Gizzeria.


Hosted by Hang Loose Beach 25th – 29th July, 82 athletes from 19 countries will compete in pristine foiling conditions on the Tyrrhenian Sea.


Slovenian Toni Vodisek stormed the first day of competition on Thursday with 3 bullets from 3 races in perfect conditions – here are the highlights:


Setting the scene for the event

Following on from her recent win at the Formula Kite World Championship on Lake Garda earlier this year, the four-time world champion Daniela Moroz (USA) is expected to set the benchmark in a rapidly expanding and progressing female fleet:


“I think it’s really exciting that we have 20 girls signed up for this event, which is the most we’ve had for a KiteFoil World Series so far I believe. You can tell the sport is growing and more girls are getting into it since it went Olympic. Also you can see the nations are building up their Youth programs which is also really good for the sport. So I think it’s really exciting times”


Of the 62 strong male competitors, previous foiling World Champions such as Nocher and his fellow countrymen Nicolas Parlier and Axel Mazella will again be looking to repeat their successes.


2018 KiteFoil World Series runner up, Great Britain’s Connor Bainbridge, will be looking to go one better in 2019:


“I had no expectations going into last year. I was hoping to be top ten and being thrown in at the top of the fleet was quite new and I wasn’t particularly prepared for it. I’ve had more experience at that now and I think what it takes to win is to complete a series solidly and that’s something I could never do last year. We have moved away from one guy bashing out bullets for the whole event. Maxime [Nocher] showed it last year where you don’t have to be winning any races in an event to win the event, Giles Scott has proved that numerous times before, and I think that’s where the sport is at.”


With speeds of up to 24 knots upwind and regularly in the mid-30’s downwind, the world’s best are also pushing the rules to the limit. Bainbridge notes that “everyone is so confident on the foil, going much faster and being much happier with being closer, they’re actually happier to make the tight crosses. I think it’s pulling in to more and more rules issues that we have in the sport right now. It’s incredible how close everyone is, so it does need a bit of a reshuffle and a rewrite of those rules to help make sure that people are doing tactics safely.”


2019 Kitefoil World Series


Unlike the Formula Kite class, in which riders can choose their equipment from a list of registered kites and foils similar to a ‘box rule’ used by other sailing classes, the KiteFoil class allows full development of hydrofoil kite racing equipment. Kites, boards and foils from any manufacturer and of any variation are permitted under the class rules as governed by World Sailing.


This freedom in equipment allows manufacturers and athletes to bring their prototype kites and foils to a world-class racing series for testing and further development.


Maxime Nocher is just one of the athletes using this event for a testbed for his own brand ‘FlyMaax’: “Since the [Formula Kite] Worlds we make some R&D since we launch our brand called FlyMaax. We will see what is going on. We want to make something good with some new tools on it.”


Other competitors are seen using the latest unregistered kites and foils from the likes of Flysurfer, Mikeslab and Chubanga. This development will generally lead into the next generation of registered kites, boards and foils to be used in the Formula Kite class during the lead up to, and inclusion in, the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.


Having an open slate also provides many potential on-water performance gains for the athletes. Not only can they ride the fastest kitefoil gear available, increasing their speed and performance around the course, but there is the added ability to choose the equipment with which they feel the most comfortable.


The KiteFoil World Series comprises of four events and is a non-discard series, meaning all event scores will be counted. The series begins in Gizzeria, Italy before heading to Pingtan and Weifang in September for two back to back events in China.


The final event of the series will take place in Cagliari, on the Italian island of Sardinia, where the male and female 2019 KiteFoil World Champions will be crowned.


Find out more and see real-time results via www.kitefoilgoldcup.com


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