2022 Formula Kite World Championships – Day 1

Solid breeze from 160 degrees, increasing from 9 to 14 knots during the afternoon
A total of 20 qualifying races completed
Daniela Moroz (USA) and Lauriane Nolot (FRA) lead the women’s qualifying fleets
Axel Mazella (FRA), Toni Vodisek (SLO) and Max Maeder (SGP) are top of the three men’s groups.
Four riders shot out of the start like a bullet with perfect four-from-four scores on day one of qualifying at the 2022 Formula Kite World Championships in Cagliari, Sardinia.

In the 58-rider women’s fleet, Daniela Moroz from USA opened her defence of the world title with an unbroken series of four victories on her side of the qualifying draw. French Lauriane Nolot did the same in her fleet, four straight victories for the recently crowned European Champion.


In the 92-rider men’s fleet, the qualifying takes place across three groups. Toni Vodisek from Slovenia and Axel Mazella from France scored four out of four in their respective groups, although both acknowledged that Max Maeder from Singapore had it hardest in the talent-packed red group. The 16-year-old Singaporean won his first three heats but slipped to fourth in the last.

Maeder holds himself to high standards and was not entirely happy with his almost impeccable day. “I came ashore at the end of the third race because I had some ventilation issues with my foil and I wanted to spent two minutes to clean the foil for the last race”, said Maeder. “It was a bad decision because I didn’t give myself enough time to be properly ready for the next start. It was a bit hectic and I had a touchdown. Then I was playing catch-up and it was good to get back to fourth, but I paid the price for some rash decisions on the beach.”


The day had begun even more stressfully for Maeder even before the first starting gun had been fired. “We were just 50 metres off the shore when someone dove their kite into mine”, he said. “It goes to show people are under a lot of stress at the Worlds because sometimes they tend to be almost blind. But I managed to come back and change the kite and get out there and win some races. So overall I have to remind myself that this was a good day and there are many people who had a much worse day than me.”

The ventilation issues that Maeder mentioned were felt by all riders. Even the faultless Daniela Moroz said she could feel it through the foil. “It was quite choppy out there, so it could be when your wingtip breaks the surface, or there might be just some stuff in the water that makes it pretty unstable.”


Toni Vodisek agreed: “I felt fast today, but I wasn’t pushing so much because I wanted to avoid the crash. There were a lot of water ventilations and I think everyone was feeling it. Maybe just tiny bits of seaweed were causing the problem, I’m not sure.” Having recently finished runner-up to Maeder at the European Championships, the Slovenian knows the 16-year-old will be hard to beat this week. “I have to say congrats to Maxie. He had the hardest fleet today and he still pulled it off. Real good job. But I’m coming for you, little man!”

Defending world champion Theo de Ramecourt scored a set of four 3rd places today and was pretty happy with his first day at the event. “I had quite a tough group with a lot of good riders, so I’m happy that I managed to race clean. There was a lot of strategy to think about on the race course and it was a really challenging day. You had to focus, you always had to adapt, you couldn’t stick with one thing and make it work all day.”


After two days of measurement checks, a number of riders were penalised for removing equipment from the event tents. Each of them was given a 1.6 point penalty to add to their race one score, although any further infringements are likely to incur tougher punishments as the regatta progresses. The racing is getting more serious than ever, and further along Poetto Beach are other Olympic aspirants out training in the bay, including Italy’s gold-medal-winning foiling Nacra 17 squad. In two days’ time Luna Rossa launches its 40ft foiling monohull in Cagliari, so this corner of southern Sardinia really does feel like Foiling Central this week.

Racing continues at 1100 hours local time on Wednesday, with the 150 competitors continuing their battles in the qualifying fleets. Friday sees the fleet re-organised into gold, silver and bronze, when the final three days of the Worlds will be livestreamed on YouTube and Facebook.

For the current standings, please visit https://www.formulakite.org/2022europeans

Text Credits: Andy Rice
Photo Credits: IKA Media / Robert Hajduk

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