The Taste of Brazil - Paula Novotna
KITE RACE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS 2013 - CHINA
NORTH KITEBOARDING TAKE 3RD, 4TH, 5TH MENS KITERACE WORLDS AND 2ND IN WOMANS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Over 160 riders from more than 40 countries gathered to battle for the men’s and women’s titles in five days of competition at the International Kiteboard Association course racing world championships being staged in China for the first time. The North International Team travelled from all parts of the world for this, the final showdown of the year & battle for the title, joined also by team manager - Dirk Hanel.
From day 1 the conditions were perfect as winds of more than 20 knots blew steadily over Boao's King Bay, Hainan. The fleets were split and a total of 4 races per day were sailed in each fleet. This qualifying series took 2 days and determines a Gold/Silver/bronze fleet. The womans fleet was one opening series until the final day when they also have the medal race format. Consistency and keeping out of trouble was the key to success with only 1 discard in the whole regatta. Conditions were similar for these 2 days with all North Kiteboarding riders choosing their 9mtr or 11mtr 2013 Dyno kites and a rolling swell at the windward mark which was placed on the reef to liven things up a bit! These 2 days was about keeping things clean and for young Olly Bridge - mens European Champion at age 16, this allowed many older riders to have their say in the protest room. Maxime Nocher (FRA) took a big fin cut on his heel which meant a trip to hospital for stitches, however this only later enhanced his performance!!
Day 3 & 4 of gold fleet racing was a mix of stronger & lighter winds which saw some upsets up and down the rankings. A close battle between Johnny Heineken and Florian Gruber (GER) saw Johnny defeated when the wind dropped giving Florian a lead going into the medal races. The biggest stir was from 16 year old Olly Bridge (GBR) who came into the gold fleet racing in 11th position but scored some top 5 results on day 3 & 4 to climb up to 3rd going into the medal race day. Also stepping up his game, Maxime scored bullets in the final 2 gold fleet races, taking his ranking up to 4th. Olly, Maxime & Blazej were just a couple of points behind the Reigning World Champion, Johnny Heineken and although would take a miracle to get to 1st, all knew that with the lighter winds predicted for the medal races, they would have a good advantage over Johnny.
A great spirit amongst the team with 3 out of the top 5 riders all competing for North Kiteboarding and riding the NKB 69 Race Ltd and the North Dyno 2013 kites. Riding for Denmark, James Johnson showed some real moments of glory having qualified for Gold fleet and ended 30th overall.
The womans fleet saw tighter racing with many switched positions between the young Russian- Eleanor Kalinina, Steph Bridge (GBR) and Erika Heineken (USA). The lighter winds suiting Steph & Eleanor, however this was not enough to defeat the lead that Erika had built over the first 2 days of the championship. North Kiteboarding womans rider from France, Ariane Imbert took a big step up in performance scoring all top 10 results and placing her in 9th position going into the final day.
The final day of the event in Boao, Hainan being organised and locally managed by Kite tour Asia (KTA) and the resort development of King Bay, saw winds up to 8 knots and many switches in direction. This proved difficult to set a course and allow fair racing to take place for the final medal race series. With a cut off time of 4pm, many riders thought the chance to go on the water was very slim, however by 2.30pm enough wind had filled in to start the 1st Mens Medal Race. Taking their 17mtr North Kiteboarding Dyno kites, long lines, biggest fins it was a battle to keep the kites in the air, however it was Maxime Nocher (FRA) who showed the field that this was his day & won the only medal race this day. This was enough to secure his lead over Olly Bridge (GBR) who got knocked down to 4th place in the overall rankings. The medal race for the womans fleet went into sequence however soon got abandoned when the wind dropped below 5 knots.
The closing ceremony was held in King Bay with fireworks, live music and in true chinease fashion, the ceremony was top quality with every detail impeccable. A superb week for North Kiteboarding with such a strong positive presence in the top 5 and all 3 of the mens top 5 team under 21years old.
Many of the NKB riders now travel to Sail Melbourne followed by the Oceanics in Perth. Both are big events with great organisation, prize money and points for the isaf world ranking. Well done and good luck to all the North Kiteboarding team members!!
Mens OPEN Results:
1st Florian Gruber (GER)
2nd Johnny Heineken (USA)
3rd Maxime Nocher (FRA)
4th Olly Bridge (GBR)
5th Blazej Ozog (POL)
Womans OPEN Results:
1st Erika Heineken (USA)
2nd Steph Bridge (GBR)
3rd Eleanor Kalinina (RUS)
4th Katja Roose (NETH)
9th Ariane Imbert (FRA)
Under 18 world Champion: 1st Olly Bridge (GBR) 2nd Mario Calbucci (ITA) 3rd Martin Dolenc (CRO)
Under 21's World Champion: 1st Florian Grubber(GER), 2nd Maxime Nocher(FRA) , 3rd Olly Bridge (GBR)
EVO 2014, an insight view with Ralf Grösel
Ralf, to start simple, what´s new about the 2014 EVO?
Ralf Grösel: A lot!! The Evo 2014 is not based on the 2013 model but a completely new design coming out of two different prototype directions. This Evo is a kite I´ve been developing for the last two years, this means the first prototypes have already been built parallel to the Evo 2013. Which was kind of strange but necessary to come from a new approach.
What was the challenge about it and why did the development take so long?
Ralf Grösel: Since the introduction to the market in 2008 the Evo was very Delta-oriented. This concept direction offers a lot of positive aspects, but also a lot of limiting factors. Over the years I really pushed the kites’ overall performance to the absolute limit in-between the concept, until I really came to the point where I just could not improve the Delta-shape anymore in 2013. I already saw that coming in 2012 and therefore needed the time to work in time on the new concept and be ready after these two years for a new direction.
What do we have in our hands now?
Ralf Grösel: At the end of the day, a completely new kite, which offers some of the typical Evo genes, but also is a completely different construction and direction. The Evo is trimmed to maximum performance combined with perfect handling. Developed to fit perfectly to a 4 line bar, I found a perfect match for the geometry combining stability with flexibility of the whole kite construction. Not to mention several prototypes…
Sounds a bit like a conflict…
Ralf Grösel: On the first view, yes. But I can explain it easily:
The higher aspect ratio and the flatter radius, which are even similar to a Rebel, have been optimized on the other hand to a very very stiff and compact system through several small changes. A lot of flexibility in the tip area to achieve that great handling, stiffness in the profile for bomb proof stability. But it is indeed tricky to combine these two characteristics, which pull in opposite directions!
Any other changes?
Ralf Grösel: Several, just to mention the changed panel layout, remarkable thinner struts to reduce weight, a different tip geometry and a new bridle system with to rolls at both sides to depower efficiently.
Where in the North Kiteboarding Range is the Evo seen in your view?
Ralf Grösel: The Evo is and will stay the all-round talent inbetween the North Kiteboarding range. But, the Evo made a huge step forward regarding the overall performance. Steady is the extremely easy water relaunch and the brilliant stability.
What does that mean in detail for the pilot?
Ralf Grösel: The general speed of the kite in the wind window has increased, the upwind ability is just insane and the depower is now massive. Jumping is super easy, anybody can boost highest jumps with smooth landings with this kite. Compared to last years models flight time and height has increased a lot.
NKB: Where is the Evo´s position next to the completely new Dice?
Ralf Grösel: The Dice is nothing more or less then the jackpot. We never had a kite which started this fast and with so many good feedback from team riders and customers at the same time, never sold several thousand pieces of one kite model in the first year.
Still, the Evo is a different concept with 5 struts and all the benefits which come with it and the potential to surprise, especially Evo lovers! The Dice is a specialist´s kite for advanced freestyle/wakestyle and advanced wave riding. The Evo´s jumping ability for classic moves and classic riding are just easier and more stable. As mentioned, the Evo jumps high, wide and long!
Test one, you´ll be surprised!!
Thank you Ralf for this inside you of your perspective!