Olly Bridge and Maxime Nocher take the cake at the ISAF sailing World Cup in Abu Dhabi!
The ISAF sailing World Cup is one of the most prestigious race events on the calendar, and was hosted last week in the decadent location of Abu Dhabi. 20 of the world's top Kite racer's gathered to compete in a 4 day high speed showdown, along with other Olympic sailing classes.
For Kiteboarding to be integrated and included in such a reputable event and embraced by the Olympic sailing world is always encouraging for the sport as a whole.
Thanks to textbook race conditions, Stage 1 – which was completed on the first day – took the form of 4 fleet races in order to determine a seeding for Stage 2. Stage 2 has undertaken a new format known as Short Track, a series of 40 elimination heats to ascertain the top 10 riders to compete in the Finals.
On Medal Race Day, North Team Riders Maxime Nocher and Olly Bridge found themselves going head to head for 1st and 2nd place, with the added pressure of the $10,000 cash prize for the winner.
Both athletes put in star performances, and showed immense skill in keeping calm as the nerves and tensions built. With the finish line in sight, Olly steamed ahead to take gold and Maxime silver.
A huge congratulations goes to both Team Riders, who have show a lot of dedication to their sport this season!
*check the half finals and finals (5h 15min)
North Rider Olly Bridge dominates Asian Race Continental Championships in Qatar
For the first time ever, Kite Racing went to the Gulf where the hosting nation of Qatar put on a great show for the 5 day event! Athletes from over 26 countries competed for the Asian Continental Championship title, where challenging light-wind conditions proved tough. Going into the Medal Race day in 1st place, Olly needed four clean races to come out on top. Riding the North Race Ltd 69, Olly was full steam ahead securing his bullet, and taking 1st in the under 18's & Under 21's.
Steph had a good regatta, although she struggled to hold rival Eleanor Kalinina from Russia off. Both riders were on equal points as they went into the final race, but light winds proved tough, leaving Steph in 2nd place at the end of the event.
The North Team Riders will return to the Gulf in ten days time for the ISAF World Cup Finals, where the top 20 competitors from across the globe will race the new Short Track format.
Olly Bridge shines at the Kitesurf Tour Europe
North Kiteboarding team rider Olly Bridge travelled out to Italy for the second and last stop of the Kitesurf Tour Europe, held on Hang loose beach in Gizzeria. Riders such as current World Champion Florian Gruber and African Champion Riccardo Leccese, had also made it to Italy to compete. With Olly already familiar with the spot and kiting conditions, he was ready when the event started.
The event started with light thermal winds, perfect for the course racers. They managed to run five races with Olly securing four bullets and a 2nd place. With such a strong performance on the first day, he was in a very good position to do well in whole event.
Second day of competition had very similar conditions to the first. The wind was light in the morning so again, perfect for the course racers. Olly again started the day strong, winning the first two races by good distance. He led the third race of the day, but on the final reach to the finish line hit a plastic bag and was overtaken by Florian Gruber. This unfortunate glitch, put Olly back into second place in this race. After the three races the wind picked up enough to run the freestyle single elimination, and by the end of the day Olly was sitting comfortably in first position in the overall ranking.
The third day of competition brought a completely different set of conditions. The wind was light and off shore so again, the course racers were first to start. The wind was light so all the riders opted to take their bigger kites but, during the race the conditions changed. The wind increased up to 30 knots with big gusts seeing Olly switch down to his 7m Dyno for the next race where he managed to win event. Because of the good wind the racing was put on hold and the Freestyle Double Elimination got underway. After the Freestyle had finished the organisers decided to run one final course race. The conditions were unchanged so taking his 7m Dyno, Olly won the last race of the day.
The fourth and final day of competition saw cross onshore 8-12 knots, and as the Freestyle competition had finished the whole day was dedicated to the course racers. Managing to run four races, Olly won three with one second place.
Winning this event puts Olly in a very good position for the World Championships in three weeks’ time.
North American Championships - San Francisco
North dominates the first KTE Stop in Almanarre France
Almanarre, the neighborhood of St. Tropez was the perfect start into an exciting season for the NKB team! Let´s get it on! With the two first days of wind, sun, 95 riders from over 14 countries coming to the South of France – Almanarre Kitemasters finished with a full freestyle event and 8 counted course races. The tour started with 46 racers - 39 men and 7 women – as well as 49 freestylers - 37 men and 12 women. The first edition of the European tour stop on the Côte d’Azur was a great event with a parallel execution of the two disciplines. The first day brought strong 30-35 knots. The action was intense right from the beginning and it started early in the morning with both competitions. Freestylers were riding with 7 meters kites and after, to get used to the conditions, the spectators could seen some awesome tricks. North Kiteboarding rider Stefan Spiessberger (Austria), who was unfortunately kicked-off in round 4 in the single elimination, fought his way back straight through the doubles and won unstoppable six heats, until the quarter final, when he was beaten by Liam Whaley (Spain).
The final in the doubles featured Mario Rodwald, NKB (Germany) against Whaley. Both of these riders have had an amazing start and demonstrated great progression over the wintertime. That heat was full of power, variety and action for the beach crowd. With a great powerful double S-Bend Pass and a Low Mobe 5, Mario got it and won the first European tour stop. Congratulations!
The final women’s heat took place between Sabrina Lutz, NKB (Germany) and title-holder 2012 Annelous Lammerts (Netherlands), when Sabrina crashed her kite and Annelous advanced. A super women final was announced and finally the first women tour stop title goes to Germany and North Kiteboarding as well - Sabrina Lutz (NKB).
Focusing on course racing, the first two competition days were quite eventful. Racers entered the water early, hungry for days full of racing action. With regard to the rough sea, the course provided tactical challenges that made not only spectacular for racing, but excellent spectating as well.
On day one, French rider Maxime Nocher (NKB) won three of four races followed by Julien Kerneur, also from France. British race legend Steph Bridge, also NKB from UK, holds first place positioning, while Dutch rider Katja Roose followed her on second place. The riders were always quite close and handled out arresting battles. The second day was a smoother running. Some kites moved in perfect synchronization alongside one another. With the fleet on bigger kites, Maxime Nocher, Julien Kerneur, Blazej Ozog and Florian Gruber were riding close to each other in rotational positioning. Day three and four, brought a bout of very light, or better, no wind.
The course director adapted due to these light conditions. But unfortunately they realized their wishful thinking did not materialize. The wind didn’t pick up the last two last days. In a nutshell, ten races were sailed, with two discards in total. French rider Maxime Nocher (NKB) at first and Blazej Ozog, also NKB on third position. Congratulations!
The women´s fleet, was lead by Steph Bridge (UK). Steph crossed five times the finish line first and dominated the event. Like so many times before.
The end of the first MINI KTE event was marked with the closing ceremony and the distribution of the trophies and prize money. It could not have been a better way to start the season with a grateful event and tough conditions in the beginning.
The next stop of the season is on the German island Sylt. The rough Northern Sea and strong winds will be a perfect spot for the 2nd stop of the year, from 2nd July to 7th July.
Congratulations to all the participating North Kiteboarding riders!!
North Race Results are: North Freestyle Results are:
1st Steph Bridge 1st Sabrina Lutz
4th Arianne Imbert 3rd Nanette van der Snoek
1st Maxime Nocher 1st Mario Rodwald
3rd Blajez Ozog 3rd Stefan Spiessberger
4th Florian Gruber
5th Olly Bridge