A dramatic change in atmosphere on the final day of the 2014 Youth and Masters World Championships, as clouds moved in to dominate the skyline and brought in big waves and a breeze of over 20 knots. One could feel the suspense in the air here at Poetto beach this morning, as the world's top 10 riders in the Youth & Masters fleets prepared themselves for the 4 medal races which would decide the World Champion.
Ahead of the riders getting onto the track to start, some heartfelt words of "good luck and ride safe" were extended by the Race Committee. In the Youth feel, Maxime Nocher had a 5 point margin and had been the strongest rider all week, so just needed to sail safe and protect his lead. The Masters fleet was wider open, so it was an all or nothing gamble for those who took a more risky approach to racing, as they attacked at the front of the fleet.
In the Masters fleet, Tomek Janiak from Poland went into the day carrying a 6 point deficit to leading rider Wilson Veloso from Brazil. Tomek started strong, taking the first race win, following up with a second place and then two more wins. But with Wilson right behind him, finishing in second and claiming the other race win, Tomek's impressive scorline just wasn't enough to get past the Brazilian. So Wilson walked away with gold, Tomek silver, just 4 points behind, and securing the bronze medal was Spain's Pedro Garijo Velasco, who sailed a conservative four races to finish in 3rd, 5th, 3rd, 4th and claim bronze with an 8 point margin. Stunning racing.
In the Youth Worlds fleet, the air was alive with tension as the world's best youth sailors went head to head in the final showdown. Maxime Nocher from France had the advantage, sitting in first overall, 5 points ahead of Poland's Maks Zakowski. Except for some unforeseen disaster, the gold and silver medals would be decided between these two riders.
Maks attacked first, unleashing some awesome power to take the first race win. Mak's win seemed to ignite Maxime's determination to claim gold, and he won the next three races back to back, scuppering any hope for Maks to stand on top of the podium. Gold to Maxime, silver to Maks and third to Spain's Florian Trittel. The top girl was Russia's Elena Kalinina, who finished in 10th overall, and also claimed the Under 18 title. Axel Mazella from France secured the boys under 18 title.
Five days of racing for the cream of youth and masters kiteboarding here in Cagliari, Italy was a real showcase of the excitement and thrill of kiteboard racing. The Kiteboard Youth & Masters World Championships enjoyed a perfect combination of shoreside hospitality, organization and weather conditions – yet again sealing Poetto Beach as a venue of choice for kiteboarders. The event was also a unique opportunity for the future stars of the sport to mingle and gain tips from the masters riders, who have quite a few years of experience on them. A great exchange of skills. Some great racing and great memories.
The Kiteboard Youth & Masters World Championships 2014 wrapped up with a fun filled medal ceremony. Lots of applause and celebrations. The riders also emphasized their thanks to the Organizers for a superbly organized Championship. See you next year!
On Day 4 of the 2014 Kiteracing Youth and Masters Worlds the wind filled into the racing area early in the morning, allowing the race committee to stay on schedule. The breeze had eased a little compared to earlier in the week, giving an opening for the lighter riders to gain an advantage, finish higher up the fleet and edge their way up the overall leaderboard.
The day opened with the Masters Silver fleet, where Erwin Gruber, father of the kiting star Florian, again flourished in the conditions, to knock out a winning performance of 3 bullets from the 4 races.
In the Masters Gold fleet series leader, Wilson Veloso from Brazil, secured two race wins and one second place finish, as he dueled with Poland's Tomek Janiak. Third place on the leaderboard remains wide open with many contenders in with a shot to claim the bronze medal in tomorrow's Championship deciding day. Amongst the likely frontrunners for the bronze is Spain's Pedro Garijo Velasco, who found his form yesterday, and was back on pace today, winning the first race of the day.
In the Youth fleet, Maxime Nocher, the young gun from France, delivered an astonishing performance – a monumental full house of aces – 4 back to back wins in the 4 races. Florian Trittel from Spain had been waiting for his moment to attack, and today he executed a perfect strategy, outfoxing Poland's Maks Zakowski in two of the races - finishing in second place behind Maxime, and also securing a 4th place . The girls are racing in the open fleet, so head to head against the boys. Elena Kalinina from Russia took every advantage from the decrease of breeze and powered around the track, to twice finish in 3rd overall and clamber up the leaderboard to qualify through to tomorrow's Medal Race. Maks' scoreline gave him two second and two third places, so he has lost some ground on his title quest, but with 4 medal races tomorrow – the podium is still wide open
Sunday heralds the final day of racing here at the Kiteboard Youth & Masters World Championships in Cagliari, Italy. We are looking forward to another intense day of racing and crowning the 2014 World Champions. Stay tuned!