2021 Formula Kite Worlds Day 3 –
Only the finest margins separate the top of the order after scintillating races, as the Formula Kite World Championships are about to come to an end on the penultimate day of the regatta in the Gulf of ‘Oristano on the Italian island of Sardinia.
French duo Axel Mazella and Théo de Ramecourt are tied for points at the top of the men’s standings after a fast day of racing, in gusts and devious coast winds that reached 18 knots. But occasional lulls of up to 7 knots were at times a source of drama for most athletes.
Behind the pair, only three points separate the seven riders in positions four to ten; such was the intensity of the battles everywhere in the flat waters of the trapezoidal track, right next to the beach of Torregrande.
Among women, the difference between the leaders was almost as narrow. Reigning Formula Kite world champion Daniela Moroz of the United States maintains her slim lead despite an unusual drop of a ball.
In the fourth of the five-day regattas scheduled for the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) Formula Kite World Championships in Torregrande, the leading men and women will face off after the first three days of the qualifying heats have been completed. established the hierarchical order.
A remarkable fleet of 138 athletes – 89 men and 49 women from 34 countries and six continents – are vying for the world titles after a break of more than two years due to the pandemic.
This is the largest kitefoil fleet ever, reflecting growing interest as the event marks the countdown to the Olympics and the much-anticipated kitesurfing debut at the 2024 Paris Games.
As France hosts the Olympic sailing regatta on the waters off the city of Marseille, the well-endowed national team has a squad of 21 world championship athletes, including a number of the world’s fastest runners.
Frenchman Axel Mazella rose to the top of the standings, with fast races in which he rarely went wrong. Mazella faced tough opposition that included Slovenian Toni Vodišek, scoring five balls in his day’s six races.
“I don’t know why, but Toni Vodišek wanted to compete with me,” Mazella said.
“Everywhere I went he was like a shadow so I decided to get more aggressive and tried to put more runners between me and him. Then I tried to focus only on my own game. My starts were often poor, but I’m super happy with my downwind speed, where I was able to take and hold the lead.
Mazella has also tried to keep track of the leaders, running through the three alternate male fleets that could prove crucial to the outcome of the final series if the wind weakens over the weekend.
His compatriot, Theo De Ramecourt had a stormy performance in the north-westerly breezes which strengthened during the day but let his overnight lead slip. A few costly mistakes when he lost focus took away the luster of his three balls.
“It was a very good day, even if it was a long one,” said De Ramecourt. “I made a few small mistakes that cost me two balls. In the last litter of a race, I hit the bottom mark because I was somewhere else in my head. Another time I went to the right and it just didn’t work due to the changes in the wind. The conditions were harsh, but really pleasant. I am happy.”
In another fleet, Singapore’s Max Maeder, 15, recently crowned European Open champion, had an equally stellar outing, winning four balls. However, he slipped to third place overall, failing to finish under the teasing conditions of the opening race.
“On the downwind stage, my 15m kite just banked in a gust and crashed into the water,” said Maeder. “It was really difficult to restart and it got me out of the race. I can’t complain about four balls though, especially since the competition in my fleet was tough.
Among those who fought with Maeder were the remarkable Italian Riccardo Pianosi, 16, fourth overall, the Frenchman Benoît Gomez and the Croatian Martin Dolenc. Barely three points separate the trio.
The women’s final promises to be just as captivating, the French Lauriane Nolot following the American Moroz in the general classification. Nolot was fighting in an alternate fleet and suffered several big moments.
Two tangles at a mark in separate races framed Nolot’s ball trio. In the first, she cleared quickly, but finished at the bottom of the order, while the second time, she had to give up with a damaged kite.
“After the tangle of the first race, my tactic was just to be as quick as possible, in order to reach the first mark first and avoid trouble,” said Nolot. “It worked and I got the balls. Now I can’t wait to face Daniela Moroz.
Nolot was battling with compatriot Poema Newland, who managed to run quickly and cleanly, taking advantage of two balls and three second places, leaving her comfortably in third place overall.
Great Britain’s Ellie Aldridge, faced with the formidable task of running against Moroz, has finished second on four occasions. But in the last race of her day, the Briton finally got the better of the American, who got off to a bad start and couldn’t pass, giving Aldridge the ball and fourth overall.
“In this last race, I got off to a good start. I had a good angle upwind. I had had enough of a lead. It generally catches up with the second time. But I kept going and it paid off, ”Aldridge said.
Watch all the action from the Finals and Medal Series which will be featured on Facebook Livestream on Saturday and Sunday and see how the battles unfold.
Men (10 races, 2 failures)
- FRA – Axel Mazella – 9pts
- FRA – Théo de Ramecourt – 9pts
- SGP – Max Maeder – 11pts
Women (12 races, 2 withdrawals)
- United States – Daniela Moroz – 8pts
- FRA – Lauriane Nolot – 9.5pts
- FRA – Poema Newland – 12pts