Top Kite Course Board Riders Go Through Their Paces Ahead Of Race Worlds
Hang Loose Beach, Gizzeria – The hotly anticipated showdown between the world’s fastest kite course board racers is set to kick-off in southern Italy in light-to-moderate Mediterranean breezes and smooth conditions guaranteed to throw up blistering pace and the closest of contests.
With reigning Formula kite world champion Maxime Nocher (MON) fresh off the back of the back of a peerless victory in the Kitefoil Gold Cup Italy on the same waters, he is familiar with the conditions and keen to prove his dominance with back-to-back victories.
But the young Briton, Olly Bridge who took the third podium spot at last year’s worlds in Turkey, will be looking to avenge his defeat. He suffered a calamitous meltdown missing the last race when in contention for the gold medal, partly due to a kite mix up with his mother, Steph Bridge, who herself took the women’s world championship title.
Olly Bridge bounced back, though, with a stellar performance in the International Sail Federation (ISAF) World Cup in Abu Dhabi snatching the title in the Formula kite “short track” format vying to secure kiting an Olympics berth.
Another young rider, Axel Mazella (FRA), will also be out to show his pace on a course board after he placed second to Nocher in the Kitefoil Gold Cup which was also hosted by Hang Loose Beach on the dramatic, wooded Calabrian coast.
The field consists of 73 riders — including 11 women — from 25 nations. The men will be divided in to “yellow” and “blue” qualifying fleets for the first two days of competition, with the riders seeded into the top “gold” and “silver” fleets, with medal races of the top ten men on the final day of competition. The women will race as a separate fleet.
Among the women Bridge is likely to be challenged hard by Elena Kalinina (RUS), especially if the conditions remain as light as registration day when most of the fresh arrivals tested their pace on the flat seas under sometimes sultry, but generally clear skies.
Poland’s Aga Grzymska, Anastasia Akopova (RUS) and Ariane Imbert (FRA) could also prove to be fast over the coming days likely to see close tactical battles on the water.
The men’s fleets boast a strong roster of Formula kite racers, despite the migration of some solely to the kitefoil discipline. The riders most likely to be in contention are Alejandro Climent Hernandez (ESP), former kite race world champion, Florian Grubber (GER), Florian Trittel (ESP) and Maks Zakowski (POL).
But unknown quantities like the talented Guy Bridge (GBR) could cause some upsets. The coming days’ battles will no doubts prove an intriguing to sort out the new up-and-coming faces from the established old order.
Writer: Ian MacKinnon
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