A new record for kitesurfing from Rottnest Island to Leighton Beach, Fremantle was set today when German expat Marvin Baumeister made the crossing in just 23 minutes and 50 seconds in the 19km Lighthouse to Leighton race. Marvin led from the start and held a strong lead, despite coming off his board after hitting seaweed.
The Lighthouse to Leighton is part of the Kiteracing Oceanic Championships which finish tomorrow at Leighton Beach.
1. Marvin Baumeister (GER) Record time: 23.50
2. Florian Gruber (GER)
3. Torvar Mirsky (AUS)
1. Marie Desandre Navarre (FRA)
2. Ariane Imbert (FRA)
3. Lisa Hickman (AUS)
Several competitors who raced in the iconic 19km Lighthouse to Leighton race from Rottnest Island to the mainland showed both inner and physical strength by then contesting the Oceanics course racing flights.
In the first race, all riders got away cleanly with Lighthouse to Leighton winner Marvin Baumeister obviously feeling buoyed enough to try a port start. He got held up though and finished in 8th.
At the top mark, things were looking different for the first time in the competition with Leccese first and Olly Bridge second. Gruber was third despite making up ground on the downwind leg.
Gruber then screamed upwind gaining on Bridge and finally passing him next time they rounded the top mark. It looked like he would reel in Leccese but the Italian hung around the final mark and scored his first Oceanics bullet in front of a packed Leighton Beach in the closest and most dramatic race yet.
In the second race of the afternoon, Bridge drew on his youthful reserves of energy, leading the way after the first tack with Leccese hunting him down and Poland's Maks Zakowski and Gruber completing the chase pack.
First round the top mark was Zakowski, with Gruber now already in second, ready to crank the throttle wide open for a downwind run that left Bridge, Leccese and Zakowski slugging it out.
Leccese couldn't handle the pace and it was Gruber, Bridge and Zakowski in that order on the final beat to the finish.
Reasserting his dominance over a fiercely competitive pack, Gruber held his lead ahead of Bridge to take the last bullet of the day.
The two leading women, Poland's Aga Grzymska and France's Ariane Imbert, were once again slogging it out for top position. Top Australian kiter Lisa Hickman provided the only disruption to the usual finishing pattern by scoring a second in the first race today and a third in the second race. Nuria Gomez of Spain had a tangle at the start of race Two, which gave Hickman the opportunity she needed to come in ahead of Justina Sellers (NZ).
Racers competed in clear blue skies, temperatures in the high 30's and winds around 11 to 16kn.
The medals races will conclude tomorrow in four races for each fleet, victors will be crowned and A$30,000 in prizemoney presented.
The Kiteracing Oceanic Championships is officially sanctioned by the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) and the International Sailing Federation (ISAF). 100 championship points are awarded to the event winner.
The State Government through Tourism Western Australia is a proud supporter of the Championships.
For more information visit http://kiteoceanics.com or the event Facebook and Twitter pages. Join in the conversation with the hashtag #KiteOceanicsWA and #L2L
Top 3 Men after today's races:
1. Florian Gruber (Germany) 9 pts
2. Olly Bridge (Great Britain) 17 pts
3. Riccardo Leccese (Italy) 28 pt
Top 3 Women after today's races:
1. Aga Grzymska (Poland) 16 pts
2. Ariane Imbert (France) 19 pts
3. Nuria Goma (Spain) 39 pts
*Please note all results are preliminary at the time of release.