Hang Loose Beach, Gizzeria—Riders faced a frustrating day on the beach when competition was halted after just three races at the KiteFoil GoldCup in increasingly flukey and unstable winds, only contest to resume in the early evening with another three races. But on day two of the championship — when the wind switched 180 degrees from the opening day and varied between 2kts and 15kts on the start line — Monaco’s Maxime Nocher again proved devastatingly quick, scoring a two bullets and a second in the “yellow” fleet’s three races.
In the day’s first race Nocher appeared to be in a good position on the second upwind leg of the one-and-a-half laps of the windward-leeward track, but was forced to tack again to round the final windward mark after apparently misjudging the lay line in the fickle breeze, allowing Simone Vannucci (ITA) to snatch victory after a strong race.
Yet Nocher’s dominance afforded him time to pull an aerial 360 at the top mark, “just for fun”, in his day’s final race keeping him top of the leaderboard. He will be seeded head of the 24 riders in the “gold” fleet for the final two days of the competition taking place off Hang Loose Beach, the second stop of four on the KiteFoil GoldCup world tour. The bottom-ranked 24 racers will compete in the “silver” fleet.
Nocher — riding his F-one foil kite and board, teamed with a Taaroa Sword2 hydrofoil sporting new high-aspect wings — has thrown down a marker for the other riders and shown his set-up to be fast in varying conditions.
In the alternate “blue” fleet made up of the field’s other half, Airush’s Julien Kerneur (FRA) riding a 15m Flysurfer Sonic foil kite and Sword2 hydrofoil, racked up two bullets and a second place to keep him hard on Nocher’s heels in the standings.
Kerneur traded first and second spots with Benni Boelli (GER), who reiterated the potency of the Flysurfer Sonic foil kite and Levitaz Aspect Bionic hydrofoil that earned him the third seeding for the final days’ “gold” fleet racing.
Britain’s Olly Bridge, who had struggled for pace on day one with his Elf foil kite and Sword2 hydrofoil, also scored two third places after switching to a Levitaz hydrofoil being used to dramatic effect by others.
“The conditions are pretty tough, much harder than yesterday,” said Bridge. “The gusts are everywhere on the course and shifting. But this foil is much better. It goes upwind much better and is more stable.”
Adrian Geislinger (AUT) also employed his 15m Flysurfer kite and Levitaz foil sporting the unexpectedly successful rear winglet to score a third, second and fourth in the “yellow” fleet.
Geislinger was clearly thrilled with his improved showing in the testing conditions that left him in fifth place overall and left him poised to contest a podium spot.
“Tactics were really important today,” he said. “You always have to look very carefully for the gusts and lulls. The conditions were really difficult. Every 10 minutes, or so, you’d get stronger winds. Normally it was 10kts, but then it would hit 20kts. The left side of the course was better, with big lulls on the outside.”
Still, the Flysurfer kite and Levitaz foil with its “awesome” rear wing have given him a big fillip, dramatically improving his performances from the first stop of the kitefoil tour at La Ventana in Mexico, where he could place no better than the middle of the fleet.
Writer: Ian MacKinnon
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