Day 1 of KiteFoil World Series Gizzeria in the south of Italy asked as many questions as it provided answers for the 96 competitors. Safe starboard tack, or risky port tack at the start? Both strategies were working at different times.
In the men’s fleet, last year’s winner of Kite Foil World Series Denis Taradin (CYP) holds the top spot after today’s five races. It wasn’t the best of starts to his afternoon as Taradin realised just minutes before the start that he had launched off Hang Loose Beach without his competition number bib. Hurrying back to the shore he pulled on his bib, relaunched and crossed the start line of the first race about 45 seconds after the gun. Playing a game of catch-up using his awesome straight-line speed, Taradin caught up to 8th place by the finish of the 16-minute race.
Winner of that first race was Toni Vodisek (SLO) who ignored the concerns of the older riders in the fleet to pull off a dramatic and very successful port tack start which launched him into the favoured right-hand side of the course near the beach. “It felt nice, a really lucky port start,” smiled the Slovenian. “Then I tried to do it in the second race, didn’t work out. I got caught up and I ended up with a DNF [Did Not Finish]. That created a bit of stress, and I got out for the next race but crashed in each race, got a 7,3, then the last race, another bullet.”
So with a bullet at either end of the day, Vodisek’s port tack approaches put him in second overall behind Taradin who was playing it conservative on starboard all afternoon. “Axel [Mazella] and I were always together at the committee boat, tacking early out to the right, and it was good for us.”
Mazella’s conservative approach may not have won him any races today but scores of 2,3,4,7,3 put the Frenchman in third overall on equal points with the swashbuckling Vodisek. Goes to show there’s more than one way to skin a cat.
Poema Newland (FRA) leads the women’s Formula Kite after five races, although the French rider is tied on points with last year’s winner in Gizzeria, Daniela Moroz (USA). Newland said she felt a bit off the pace in the first two races but improved during the afternoon to rack up scores of 5,4,1,2,2. “I had a lot of crashes and little mistakes in the two first races and then I tried to figure out, what is going wrong? I just wanted to sail clear with a lot of speed.” Newland was doing port-tack starts and wasn’t pushing it enough in the early races. “Then I said, OK, no more jokes, time to get serious and I went 100% and you just trust that you will do it.”
Clearly the ‘no jokes’ policy worked wonders for Newland while Moroz was also testing her port-tack courage. “The last race was probably my favourite of the day because I was trying to get more comfortable starting on port and I executed that pretty well,” said the five-time and reigning World Champion, who admitted – like pretty much everyone else – that the legs were very tired. “The 16 minute races are a bit longer than we’re used to, but it’s good practice even if it is hard work.”
Ellie Aldridge (GBR) had been leading after three races but then an accident in the fourth race: “I had some ventilation on the foil, lost control, the foil flew out of the water, swung round and caught Alina [Kornelli, AUT] on the foot. She’s having stitches and so it’s been a bit of an up and down day.” Even so, Aldridge lies in third overall, just three points behind the leaders. Like Moroz, the British rider was feeling the burn – both from the blazing Italian sunshine and the constant squat that their legs have to endure in kiteboarding. “This place is like nothing else, it just delivers pain,” laughed Aldridge. “It’s painful but it’s the perfect place for kitefoiling, good launching, great wind, it makes the pain worthwhile.”
Jessie Kampman’s (FRA) legs were shaking as she crossed the fleet in the first race off the start line. “That was my first ever port-tack start,” grinned Kampman. “My legs were shaking from the nerves. Actually my start wasn’t that good but somehow I made it work and won the race.” It’s Kampman’s first race win in a KiteFoil World Series and the French rider sits in fifth overall behind Annelous Lammerts (NED).
Reigning Youth World Champion in the A’s Youth class, Gian Stragiotti (SUI), made a strong start to the European Championships with three wins from four races. “I did two starboard and two port tack starts,” said Stragiotti. “The port tack was fun, it’s a great feeling to sail ahead of the fleet like that.” Jan Koszowski (POL) was the only rider to take a race off Stragiotti today and sits in second overall.
Racing is scheduled to begin on Friday at 13.00. The final two days of competition will feature on the Livestream Broadcast this Saturday and Sunday.
For more about the event: https://kitefoilworldseries.com/
1 CYP Denis Taradin 6p
2 SLO Toni Vodisek 12p
3 FRA Axel Mazella 12p
1 FRA Poema Newland 9p
2 USA Daniela Moroz 9p
3 GBR Ellie Aldridge 12p
Full results: https://kitefoilworldseries.com/
1 SUI Gian Andrea Stragiotti 3p
2 POL Jan Koswowski 4p
3 ITA Giuseppe Paolillo 12p
Full results: https://www.youthfoil.org/
Text Credits: IKA Media / Andy Rice
Photo Credits: Martina Orsini / IKA Media