Formula Kite Worlds – Reigning Champions fly ahead of the chaos

HIGHLIGHTS
•    Gusty wind up to 27 knots, rain clouds and seagulls contribute to chaotic conditions
•    Four races of qualifying completed for men and women’s fleets
•    Singapore’s Max Maeder and France’s Lauriane Nolot get a perfect 4/4
•    Good performances by Kampman, Moroz, Mazella and Lobo

The defending champions emerged mostly unscathed from an opening day of puffy and gusty conditions at the 2024 Formula Kite World Championships in Hyères in the South of France

Rain clouds wreaked havoc across the race course, according to British rider Lily Young. “You always know it’s going to be difficult when the coaches are telling you it’s going to be a ‘heads out of the boat’ kind of day,” she said after coming ashore still buzzing with adrenalin after four back-to-back races. “We were doing a B2 outer-loop course and the wind was so up and down and all over the place, you could have used any one of the kites at any point around the course.”

© IKA media/ Robert Hajduk: Daniela Moroz enjoying her new foil set-up
© IKA media/ Robert Hajduk: Daniela Moroz enjoying her new foil set-up

It was super, super windy at the top of the course. Then the reach was just horrible. It’s was really, really long and we were on the 11 [square metre kite] and it was really gusty, puffy and quite hard to control. It was really hard on the legs and you were getting around and everyone’s trying to keep their kites in the sky and not kill each other! It was quite a stressful day and I’m quite happy that it’s all over quite quickly.”

RIDING ON THE 11

Through all the chaos, somehow defending world champion Lauriane Nolot from France scored a perfect four wins from four in her qualifying group. On the other side of qualifying another French rider, Jessie Kampman, did almost as well – finishing second in the first heat and following up with three wins.

© IKA media/ Robert Hajduk: Jessie Kampman in impressive form despite lack of practice
© IKA media/ Robert Hajduk: Jessie Kampman in impressive form despite lack of practice

Kampman downplayed her performance, despite her almostperfect set of scores. “I started off a bit slow, not quite in tune,” she said. “In the first race I went to gybe and I put my foot in the wrong place, and did all I could to avoid a big crash. But I enjoyed the fact that my legs were hurting way less than they were a couple of weeks ago at the last regatta. This time the pain wasn’t as bad. And I love racing with the 11 [square metre kite].”

It was maybe over 20 knots in some of the gusts but then other times it was quite light and we could have been on the 15s. I had some good races with Daniela [Moroz] and it took me a while to get into my groove, it’s taking me some time to warm up and get up to speed, a bit like a diesel.”

Moroz, the six-time world champion from the USA, was happy with her first day despite some hairy moments. “I had a bit of a shocker in the last race. I just didn’t get a great start and then was kind of playing catch-up and then hit a massive rope, randomly lying in the water, on the first downwind. So I did a tomahawk, had a big face plant, and came in after that. But at least we have a discard [worst race throwout] already.”

© IKA media/ Robert Hajduk: Martin Dolenc sails to a 1,2,3,4
© IKA media/ Robert Hajduk: Martin Dolenc sails to a 1,2,3,4

FOIL SWITCH FOR MOROZ

The other races went much better for Moroz who won the first ahead of Kampman followed by two second places. She has been trialling some big equipment changes in recent months including a Chubanga foil. “Honestly I’m really happy. I just recently made the switch to the Chubanga and I’ve been taking the last few regattas to figure out how to ride it and how to race with it, because it’s quite a big change. So I feel like I’ve definitely improved a lot and made some good adjustments with all my gear and I feel really solid, so I’m looking forward to the rest of the week.”

For Moroz the biggest difference with her new foil is when she’s operating at maximum push. “When you’re at 99 per cent, pushing super hard, then it just feels like it supports you a little bit more, whereas the Levitaz is a bit more high maintenance. Then again I won two of my six World Championships on the Levitaz so it’s a good foil, but the Chubanga feels more stable.”

© IKA media/ Robert Hajduk: Bruno Lobo looking solid for Brazil in the big breeze
© IKA media/ Robert Hajduk: Bruno Lobo looking solid for Brazil in the big breeze

Text Credits: IKA Media / Andy Rice
Photo Credits: IKA Media / Robert Hajduk
Video Credits: IKA Media / ICARUS Sports

To keep up to date with Formula Kite Worlds 2024, please visit formulakite.org/2024worlds or follow on:

Instagram: @kiteclasses
Facebook: @kiteclasses

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