"The Need for Speed", African Course Racing Championships!
Racing is more than just the moment when you cross the line – it´s all about training, technique and in the end - the competition. Physical and mental strength is the key to success, but perfect gear helps a lot. 2011 the production class was introduced and has made racing much more accessible to everyone all over the world and has made the sport a lot more professional too. Check out the new race video "The Need For Speed", shot in Egypt at the African Course Racing Championships and inhale the racing atmosphere!
North Race Team scores in Egypt!
The African Continental Championships in Egypt was the perfect way for the North kite Race Team to start the season. Most riders registered sizes 9, 11, 13, 17 mtr Dyno 2013ltd kites and all were riding the new race ltd 69.
Following the 1st 2 days of qualifiers, mens gold fleet racing was an intense battle amongst the top 30 qualified Kiters. The North Race team were consistent & managed to get 3 team members earning their place in the final days medal Race. These included: Maxime Nocher (FRA) , Florian Gruber (GER) and Blazeg Ozog (POL)
Meanwhile a heated competition was going on in the womans division with UK rider- Steph Bridge consistent & showing experience counts for a lot in the varying wind conditions. North race team manager - Dirk Hanel took some bad luck in the protest room , narrowly missed gold fleet but dominated silver fleet with a string of bullets.
Other North race riders included 2008 Race World Champion , Charles Deleau (FRA) who was stoked to make a come back into Gold fleet along with Danish rider James Johnson. Youth World race Champion, Oliver Bridge (GB) is learning the hard way, mixing some confident starts and gaining vital bigger fleet expereince with some top 10 results. Olly is age 15 and took 2nd Youth & overall 20th in the mens Gold fleet racing.
The final medal Race day was a huge one for the North Race Team and the pre- track training, tactics, strategy & shared knowledge really paid off. It was Maxime who cranked up the big gears, moving from 8th place to a podium 3rd final position in a series of 5 minute short track races. Team mate-Blazeg was black flagged on race 1 ending his medal day glory while the German, Florian took a penalty in the race 2 ending his overall ranking in 2nd.
The womans finals also left spectators on an edge , however with good power on all points of sail, Steph did what she set out to do – win the 1st medal race which would Secure her the tittle. French rider – Ariane Imbert proved that time on the water really counts & now, after only starting racing last year is top 10 in the womans fleet.
Podium places for 3 of the North race Team riders , followed by a big party & a huge energy amongst the team to be riding the best boards & kites for the 2013 race season.
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)
Kite Race World Championships 2012 - Cagliari
In the history of Kiteboarding all that took part in the champagne racing conditions in Cagliari bay last week will always remember this event as the start of something really really big in our sport. Over 220 riders from 40 countries met in a showdown of colour, excitement & crashes for this was the start of a new road for many competitiors now that kiteboarding has replaced windsurfing for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
In the mens fleet, racing started with a qualifying series, with three groups of 51 sailors each which were re-seeded by the first racing days results before the fleet got split into Gold/Silver/Bronze for the final series day. In the womens fleet, a single opening series was run over the first three days, followed by a medal race series on Sunday.
North riders were joined by kite designer Ken Winner & production manager Dirk Hanel - most using the new North Dyno Ltd & battling it out in the first 2 days to gain selection for the much sought after Gold fleet. It was close racing amongst Maxim Nocher (FRA), Olivier Dansin (FRA), Florian Gruber (GER), Blajez Ozog (POL) with Oliver Bridge (GB) not far away.
The womans fleet saw 2012 European Champion - Steph Bridge come head to head daily with Johnny's sister- Erika Heineken. Brazilian rider -Nayara Licariao & Alice Brunacci (ITA) took top 10 results during this qualifying series.
After day 3 the top 10 riders from the girls fleet & top 10 riders from the mens went head to head in a medal race to determine the 2012 World Champion. All could be lost or gained in an 8 minute umpired fleet race which was carried out in gusty offshore conditions. The beach scene was huge & North kiteboarding provided the much needed support for the competitors that made it to the final.
It was the womens turn first, with the whole fleet starting on starboard towards the first leg, and the battle was on between Steph Bridge and Erika Heineken. Being only one point separated, it was open for virtually every sailor who qualified for the medal race series to win the event. In the end it was Steph Bridge taking the win in this race, meaning that both Erika and Steph were tied in points now and whoever won the last race would take the tittle. Coming in in third, it was Nayara Licariao (BRA, North). Race 2 of this medal race day was more of a challenge to fight back after a windshift on the start line & steph's chance of her 5th World tittle was looking in doubt. Pushing the board hard & using the bands of wind to her advantage was not enough, a 1 point defeat & steph took home the Silver medal while 4th place went to Nayara Licariao (BRA and 8th to Alice Brunacci (ITA).
The men's medal race involved huge place changes, crashes & penalty turns & the eventual results were Maxime Nocher (FRA) in 5th place, Florian Grubber (GER) in 7th place while Olivier Dansin (FRA) was in 8th position. Disappointment for Blazej Ozog (POL) who was black flagged on the final gold medal race & this pushed him out of the medal race day to finish in 14th overall.
Other huge success's for the North team were for Ken Winner who was 3rd overall in the Grandmasters and Oliver Bridge (GB) who at age 15 became Youth World Champion with Jannis Maus (GER) in 2nd & Oswald Smith (RSA) 3rd. Race Team Manager - Dirk Hanel had some bad luck in the qualifying series however what was apparent at this event was the level to which kite racing is now going to be with most athletes taking this full time in their run up to Rio 2016.
Thomas Sabo Kite Camp with Dirk Hanel in El Gouna
Sun, fun and lots of Kitesurfing action was guaranteed at the 2012 Thomas Sabo Kite Camp in El Gouna. For a whole week, the lucky winners of a Men´s Health raffle joined Dirk Hanel on an exciting trip to Egypt. Packed with the newest NKB gear like Rebel 2013, Vegas 2013, a sneak preview on even the Evo 2013 and some new Spike Textreme , Xride and Jaime boards, the trip started from Munich. Four male and two female winners boarded the Condor flight to Hurghada and enjoyed the nice Steigenberger Hotel in El Gouna. The first two days the wind was not quite there, but the hot 38 degrees and sun could not ruin the great vibes and enthusiasm of the complete team. Four full days with great winds were the treasure for all of us getting the chance to work on new tricks and just enjoy the time on the water together. Topped with four days of getting photos and shots done by the professional photographer Caro Thiersch, the camp came to an end.
Thanks to Kitepower El Gouna for perfect storage, North Kiteboarding Germany, Christian Schmitt for test gear, ION for the great gifts for all winners, Swox for the sun protection and Thomas Sabo for the complete organization.
To be continued in 2013.