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Our girls keep the pressure on.

Team Riders Francesca Bagnoli and Paula Novotna are making quite the impression on the World Kiteboarding League with consistent performances keeping them both at the top of the leaderboard. The most recent stop in El Gouna was a big one for Francesca who battled it out in style claiming 2nd place, and with Paula taking 4th. 

We catch up with them both… 

Hi Francesca, how is the tour going for you? 

The WKL is doing a great job and the event in El Gouna was really well organised. I love the new competition format where we have 7 attempts, with the top 4 scoring. We get a minute to do the trick which gives us time to wait for the perfect gust. It’s all about quality over quantity. It works well for us riders as well as making it exciting and easy to follow for the spectators.

What did you think of El Gouna?

It was perfect! The flat water and consistent winds make popping into tricks and landing them much easier. It allowed us to showcase our best riding and run both the Qualifiers and Elite Leagues. 

What was your best trick of the event?

It was the KGB I landed in the Final. I scored a 9.13!

Did you have any tough moments?  

I really struggled in the Semi’s and crashed four times. I was in 3rd place and 1.84 points behind 2nd. I had to make a hard decision to either do an easy trick that may have scored less than what I needed, or take a risk with a handle-pass. I went for it and landed an S-Mobe which scored a 7.17. Finally the doors were open!

Which rider inspires you?

I think Bruna has inspired me since the beginning. I love her style and the power of her tricks.

How do you maintain motivation between events?

I never loose my motivation because competing is the thing I love most. I’m always looking forward to the next event.

How’s your gear working out?

I think that the gear I ride gives me an advantage. The Vegas has awesome slack in the lines and looses all pressure in the bar making handle-passes easy. The Team Series has really powerful pop so I can go big. The new channels give excellent control and it has a hard flex which helps me to stick my tricks.

Hi Paula, how was the event setup in El Gouna?

The Egyptian tourism and El Gouna welcomed us with open arms. Everything was really well organised and we got to stay in the stunning Three Corners hotel. The best thing was that there was wind for the whole week so we managed to finish the Qualifiers and the entire Elite League. The conditions were textbook and perfect for us.

How was the event for you?

I really enjoyed this competition and I surprised myself with how well I rode, beyond my expectations and probably one of my best performances. I was really hoping for a place on the podium as I had the best Average score, but I just missed out. Overall though my heats were great, I was riding powerfully and I felt confident. It was great having my North teammates on the beach helping be switch kites when I needed. Thanks to Tom and Steph Bridge, as well as Stefan Spiessberger for being there! It was also cool to have Lewis Crathern and Aaron Hadlow delivering a quality livestream for the world to follow. Those boys made the show for the people watching from home or at work.

What were your highs and lows of the event?

At the end of the day I must say I was a little disappointed with my 4th place. Looking back at the moment I crashed the first two tricks in the Final, I’d kind of already lost the battle with my own head. I was trying to focus and make a comeback but it just wasn’t happening! I have to congratulate Francesca as she really pulled it together in the Final. Well done girl!

What next?

I’m really excited as we are off to my favourite location, Brazil! My plan is to train hard, get some new tricks under my belt and push the level of female riding. Francesa and other riders from the tour will also be there which is great for motivation. Stay tuned for the next stop on the tour.