Team North Kiteboarding proves unstoppable at The French International Kite Foil Championships
The French International Kite Foil Championships was held in La Ciotat, Côte d'Azur in southern France. Attracting the ever growing number of Kite Foil Race competitors, riders from across Europe gathered to compete for the Title.
Maxime Nocher, who has been dominating the Gold Cup Kite Foil Championship was the favourite going into the event. Performing outstandingly, he won all but four of the races, riding with huge consistency and control. Not far behind him was his Foil team mate Nicolas Parlier and UK's Olly Bridge who was there to compete in his first Foil event.
The new 2015 Dyno was the weapon of choice for North Kiteboarding riders, who used everything from 5m to 15m over the four day event, proving themselves and the Dynos high performance in the variable winds.
Olly started as he meant to go on, winning the final two races and staying true to his competition ethos; '”You are only as good as your last race!” Normally a Formula Class rider, Olly is the current mens European Champion so this event was a good opportunity to see which were the quickest foils and to size up the competition.
Guy Bridge was competing in his first Race event and secured a 16th overall and made the podium with a 3rd in the Youth division. Herve Rousseau won the Masters and placed 6th overall, proving that he has no intention of slowing down, scoring top five results amongst a strong fleet.
The woman's fleet was strong, with many racers having years of experience on Foils. Attending her first Foil Race event was Steph Bridge, taking 2nd place with Ariane Imbert placed 3rd overall.
The Kite Race Foil Tour is off to Lake Silvaplana in August, where racers from all over the world will congregate for the second stop on the Gold Cup Tour
1st Maxime Nocher
3rd Nicolas Parlier
4th Olly Bridge
6th Herve Rousseau
16th Guy Bridge
2nd Steph Bridge
3rd Ariane Imbert
The Dyno dominates as Maxime Nocher claims the Under 21 World Champion Title
The IKA Kiteboard Race World Championships hit Poetto Beach, one of the most famous beaches in Sardinia. The Yacht Club Caligari was at centre stage for the Master and Junior World Chamionship Race from May 12th – 18th.
The trade Mistral wind blew in from the north-west delivering world class conditions for the first day of the competition. North Kiteboarding Rider Maxime Nocher was there to fight for the Under 21 World Champion Title, but faced hot competition from Maks Zakowski (Poland.) With strong and gusty winds increasing throughout the day, riders put in a fantastic performance around the simple course, crossing the finish line that ran parallel to a crowded and cheering beach. Maxime put in an outstanding effort, although it wasn't enough to put him in the lead, leaving him and Maks neck and neck after the first day of competition.
Day two was greeted by a change in wind conditions, much to Maxime's delight. The usual Mistral switched to Libeccio, a south-west onshore wind. After repositioning the course to suit the conditions, competition got underway. Choosing a 17 m Dyno, Maxime dominated all four of his races with ease putting him ahead of Polish rival Maks Zakowski, and at the top of the leader board.
As the Libeccio wind continued into day three, Maxime lost out to Maks, giving him a double victory and turning up the heat for the two riders looking to claim the title. Continuing into day four, the final day, Maxime pulled out all the stops rigging an 11m Dyno. Blasting across the finish line first in the last three races gave him the Under 21 World Champion Title.
Catching up with him after the competition he says; “ I'm stoked about the title and my result against Maks, as he is talented and a phenomenally dedicated rider, committed to training hard every day. I'm positive about the Worlds in Turkey, as I have been training hard and am doing my best to push the limits. I don't worry about the conditions really as I am confident that the Dyno is the best inflatable kite out there, which allows me to concentrate on the race.”
Sail Melbourne ISAF World Cup dominated by NKB teamrider Florian Gruber (GER) and Ariane Imbert (FRA)!
The first ISAF sailing World Cup after the disappointing decision to exclude Kiteboarding from the Olympics, did not stop the enthusiasm of the competitors and saw the biggest fleet at Sailing Melbourne World Cup ever.
Melbourne, a city where people say about it “it shows all four seasons in one day”, did the best possible to support exciting races. With temperatures between 12 and 37 degrees and wind speeds from light breezing 5 knots south easterly, to strong 25 to 42 northerly and south westerly winds, all 5 days of racing showed the huge potential Kiteboarding has for sailing sports! While on day 2 all other classes could not leave the port or shore, kiters had a blast competing everyday and battling it out in exciting races.
Outstanding in these days was definitely one North Kiteboarding rider - Florian Gruber - who won every single race he took part in the last week and of course winning Sail Melbourne in exceptional performance. In the women’s division Arian Imbert, North Kiteboarding won the women’s title, also dominating the fleet in an absolutely impressive way.
After Two days of qualification, men have been divided in gold and silver fleet racing for another 3 days, to determine who would have the honor to sail Saturdays medal race. The format of the medal race was a short track, with 4 guys on the water the same time fighting to succeed to the super final in the end.
The first heat of the medal race series went underway in strong northerly winds with gusts up to 28 knots, setting a perfect stage for the medal race course right in front of Sandringham Yacht Club. It was up to Dirk Hanel (GER, North), James Johnsen (DEN, North), Aykurt (TUR, Ozone/North) and Girdis (AUS, Aguera/Ozone) to test this new format, and with board speeds around 25 knots they went off the start and towards the top gate leaving spectators with open mouths at the shore. Both NKB riders, Hanel and Johnsen advanced from this heat to face Vance (CAN, Ozone/Mikes Lab) and Gynjol (TUR, Aguera/Ozone) in the final.
Vance went off with the best start and had a comfortable lead already at the bottom gate of the first lap, with a tight battle between Hanel and Johnsen for second. In the end Hanel managed to sty in front and advanced to the Semi Final together with Vance, where third placed Taggert (GBR, Ozone/NJS) and Cakir (TUR, Aguera/Cabrinha) have been waiting, ready to battle.
Shooting off from the start, it was Cakir in front with Vance and Taggert close behind. Cakir and Vance went through the top gate with nice downloops, fully committed to the acceleration to probably 35 knots on the downwind reach, while Taggert capsized shortly after the gate. Taggert and Hanel battled close behind the advancing Vance and Cakir and had a super close photo finish ending their hopes to make it into the final.
The final was sailed as a 3-race series, with the first race pre-scored from the previous results, meaning that Gruber and Bright went into the final series with a first and second position respectively, while Vance and Cakir pre-scored a third and fourth position.
In the meantime everybody was nailing the starts on the reach with full speed, and this time it was Gruber who had control problems when going through the top gate. Falling back to third position he was however able to catch up and even catch the victory in the first final race in again a photo finish ahead of Cakir.
The second final went off with Gruber playing it save this time, knowing that only becoming third in this final race would secure him the Sail Melbourne Gold Medal. It was up to the second upwind leg for him to catch up and finally also winning this heat, putting him on top of the podium with not having lost a single race. Vance managed to come second, and with Cakir in fourth it meant securing bronze for him. Bright sailed a solid 2-3 to secure him the silver medal.
Congratulations to not only all the winners, but to all competitors that made it to Australia.
Well done NKB Racing Team!!
And a big thank you to Sail Melbourne and Sandringham Yacht Club to conduct the racing, we will hopefully see more kite racing action in future Sailing World Cups soon. An amazing event in incredible conditions, with the best competitors in the world and awesome people involved!
1. Florian Gruber (GER, North)
2. Torrin Bright (NZL, Ozone/Mikes Lab)
3. Adam Vance (CAN, Ozone/Mikes Lab)
6. Dirk Hanel (GER, North)
7. James Johnsen (DEN, North)
1. Ariane Imbert (FRA, North)
2. Lisa Hickmann (AUS, Ozone/RRD)
3. Astrid Berz (SUI, Ozone/Aguera)