Maxime Nocher & Sophie Caillet win the inaugural IKA KiteFoil GoldCup 2014 in La Ventana, Mexico.
Playa Central Beach Club in La Ventana, Baja California Sur, México hosted the first tour stop of the new hydrofoil kiteboarding circuit called KiteFoil GoldCup, bringing in the top competitors from 11 different nationalities mainly coming from France and lots of top contenders from the San Francisco bay area.
Sailed over four days and fourteen races the event had all conditions presented. From light and shifty to gale force winds a fair test was administered by the Race Committee lead by PRO Robbie Dean. The real question that everyone wanted to see answered was how the newcomers in the fleet would fair against the pioneering French contingent.
The epic battle ensued after a brief delay on day one. By late afternoon the wind had slowly built to six knots and the sailors rigged their biggest kites. Sailing at speeds more than doubling the windspeed the competition was fierce. French sailor Maxime Nocher was clearly dominant in the light wind qualifying series scoring all first place finishes. However with strong wind forecasted this championship was still up for grabs.
The championship series was conducted over the following three days with thousands of spectators viewing from the beach.
Saturday the 15th saw the traditional "El Norte" winds having sailors rig their 7m and 9m kites. 3 races peer fleet were on the day's agenda. Johnny Heineken, Joey Pasquali and Bryan Lake showed the whole fleet how many hours they have logged the past summer and this winter by always coming in the top 7 in all races but nothing close to Frenchmen Maxime Nocher who once again took the day winning every race.
On Sunday the 16th the El Norte came in strong and heavy with 40-knot gusts and offshore winds. The strong winds made the race committee hesitant from running races due to the big swell and call for the first ever hydrofoil bigair competition. Local rider Adam Withington won this big air contest with the highest jumps, combination of tricks and smooth landings, followed by Herve Rousseau in 2nd and Maxime Nocher in 3rd.
At the end of the regatta, Maxime Nocher took all bullets earning his 1st place followed by Johnny Heineken in 2nd, Nicolas Parlier in 3rd, Julien Keurner in 4th and Joey Pasquali in 5th. The French female champion Sophie Caillet won her division followed by La Ventana local, Cynthia Brown in 2nd, Catherine Dufour in 3rd and Eugenia Gueorguieva in 4th.
The last day of the regatta saw perfect and traditional La Ventana winds coming strong, heavy and consistent from the North.
The four stop KiteFoil GoldCup will continue in August with a stop in St. Moritz, Switzerland and then on to Townsville, Australia. The tour will then conclude in the motherland of Hydrofoil Kiteboarding, Gruissan France.
Watch out for these athletes as they compete for international fame in this new and exciting discipline presented by the International Kiteboarding Association.
RESULTS KITEFOIL GOLDCUP LA VENTANA
1. Maxime Nocher (FRA, North/Taaroa)
2. John Heineken (USA, Ozone/Taaroa)
3. Nicolas Parlier (FRA, North/Spotz)
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The IKAwas formed to give an international platform to the skills and talents of competition kiteboarders throughout the world, and to combine the professional tours into one consistent world ranking. Since 2008, IKA is developing competition formats and rules as class association within the International Sailing Federation.
Several professional tours are sanctioned by the IKA including the Professional Kiteboard Riders Association (PKRA) which is awarded to conduct the world championship in freestyle and slalom kiteboarding throughout their tour, the Kite Surf Pro (KSP) who is running the wave world championship tour on behalf of the IKA in the most extreme wave locations around the world as well the the Kitesurf Tour Europe (KTE) and the Kiteboard Tour Asia (KTA), which are awarding the continental freestyle championship titles through their tours.
Additional programs of the IKA include cooperations with KB4Girls which is focussed on empowering women through the sport of kiteboarding, the KTA Race centers which are offering training and coaching opportunities to sailors in South East Asia, and the Kite Kids program which is offering training and participation programs to children in emerging countries.