Please select your home edition
Edition
Hyde Sails 2017 Dinghy Show

2019 Pascucci Formula Kite World Championship - Mixed Kite Relay for Olympics debut proves a hit

by Ian MacKinnon 3 May 03:57 PDT
2019 Pascucci Formula Kite World Championship - Mixed Kite Relay © IKA / Oliver Hartas

A special test event to trial a new mixed relay race format that will be used when kiteboarding makes its historic debut at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games saw the US's reigning Formula Kite world champion Daniela Moroz and partner Evan Heffernan top the standings.

But the pair edged out France's Alexia Fancelli and former world champion Maxime Nocher by just one point in a day of thrillingly close race action on northern Italy's breath-taking Lago di Garda on the sidelines of the 2019 Pascucci Formula Kite World Championships.

With all the world's fastest kiteboarders gathered to contest the world championships—hosted by Campione Univela and supported by Regione Lombardia—most who could muster a mixed team joined the trial for which one day was set aside.

The crop of former world champions teamed with their fellow countrymen added to the drama and intensity of the nail-biting format, with Russia's Elena Kalinina and highly-ranked Denis Taradin taking the third place overall.

In the case of Britain's multiple former world champion Steph Bridge, she teamed up with middle son Guy, the current European Formula Kite champion. Despite their top-notch pedigree, they could only place seventh.

The novel round-robin format involves the man and the woman racing one lap each of the track against half the teams, with the added complexity of a "flying" handover when the second team member begins their lap just as the other finishes.

It certainly spiced up the action when stronger team members handed big leads to their weaker partners, or vice versa, only to see them slip back, or charge to the head of the order. The result was a far great shuffling of the order that is common even in kitefoil racing.

The adoption of the unusual mixed team relay format—which will no doubt be refined—was necessary after kiteboarding was allocated only one Olympic medal, coupled with a stipulation that there should be gender parity in the event.

Nonetheless, the prospect of Olympics inclusion spurred national sailing federations to pour unprecedented resources into kiteboarding in the quest for coveted medals.

The 2019 World Championships of Campione del Garda can already boast the biggest foiling fleet ever assembled, with 87 men and 27 women from 29 countries. But many nations like Britain, France, Poland and China also have funded coaches on the water for their many young racers.

Steph Bridge, long a supporter of kiteboarding's Olympics inclusion, was sold on the mixed relay format even after chilly afternoon on the water when ten near back-to-back races were contested.

"I enjoyed it", said Bridge. "Of course it's frustrating if you're winning and the other person doesn't do well. But that brings teamwork to the sport, which something new and very welcome."

Russian Denis Taradin, lucky enough to partner Elena Kalinina, is another convert. "Hands down I'm in love with this new sport", he said. "It completely changes the dynamic. I've long raced with the guys, but to put girls in the mix changes everything. It's really, really fun."

Evan Heffernan had the added pressure of teaming Daniela Moroz and crossing the line early to earn a disqualification, squandering the lead she handed him in their first race. But with a discard, the pair were able to claw back the overall win.

"This format's pretty cool", he said. "The changeovers were very smooth, though we could do better. And perhaps the races could be a little longer, so that they're more tactical and enable you to make up for mistakes. But it was fun."

Top five teams after five round-robin races (one discard)

1 USA (Daniela Moroz / Evan Heffernan) 6pts
2 FRA (Alexia Fancelli / Maxime Nocher) 7pts
3 RUS (Elena Kalinina / Maxime Nocher) 7pts
4 GER (Leonie Meyer / Florian Gruber) 9pts
5 POL (Julia Damasiewicz / Jakub Jurkowski) 10pts

2019 Formula Kite Worlds top five men after four races (one discard)

1 Nico Parlier (FRA) 3.0pts
2 Olly Bridge (GBR) 4.0pts
3 Connor Bainbridge (GBR) 4.0pts
4 Théo de Ramecourt (FRA) 5.0pts
5 Maxime Nocher (MON) 5.0pts

2019 Formula Kite Worlds top five women after three races

1 Daniela Moroz (USA) 3.0pts
2 Elena Kalinina (RUS) 6.0pts
3 Breiana Whitehead (AUS) 14.0pts
4 Kirstyn O'Brien (USA) 15.0pts
5 Alexia Fancelli (FRA) 15.0pts

More information at kiteworlds.com

Related Articles

GKA Kite-Surf World Cup Prea overall
Airton and Mikaili are the Ceara Kite Pro Champions! 13 year-old Capuccine Delannoy was the fight-back star of the women's double elimination, coming through four back-to-back heats before being beaten by the already-World Champion Carla Herrera-Oria in the quarter final. Posted on 16 Nov
GKA Kite-Surf World Cup Prea day 2
Mikaili Sol takes breathtaking win... in her first strapless freestyle event! 15-year-old Mikaili Sol decided that, as the Kite-Surf discipline was wrapping up at her home spot in Prea, she'd have nothing to lose by throwing her hat into the ring. Posted on 15 Nov
GKA Kite-Surf World Cup Prea day 1
GKA Prea delivers perfection as Airton breaks new ground Two ten points scores and a 9.57 helped propel the World Champion to the top step in an amazing afternoon at Prea. Once again the strong but clean winds at this spot in Brazil have helped deliver mind blowing strapless freestyle action. Posted on 14 Nov
Kiteboarding confirmed for annual Youth Worlds
The World Sailing Youth World Championships will feature the same format as 2024 Paris Olympic Games World Sailing Council and AGM have confirmed kiteboarding events in both the annual World Sailing Youth World Championships, starting 2021 in The Hague (Netherlands), and the 2022 Youth Olympic Games in Dakar (Senegal). Posted on 4 Nov
2019 ANOC World Beach Games
Golden Gruber grabs victory in kitefoiling nailbiter Former world and European champion Florian Gruber (GER) won two consecutive races in the final to become the first men's Kitefoil Racing ANOC World Beach Games champion. Posted on 17 Oct
British Sailing Team at the World Beach Games
Bridge taking home the bronze in the kitefoil The British Sailing Team's Guy Bridge has made history taking bronze in the kitefoil competition at the inaugural World Beach Games in Doha. Posted on 16 Oct
2019 ANOC World Beach Games
The four-time and defending Formula Kite world champion dominated all three days After a stop-start week of competition, on finals' day there was no holding back for American Daniela Moroz, who stormed to victory in the women's Kitefoil Racing. Posted on 15 Oct
GKA Kite World Cup Dakhla overall
Comeback of the season complete! GKA Dakhla last day goes off On the tenth and final day of the GKA Kite World Cup Dakhla Airton Cozzolino yet again took the headlines with an incredible eight back-to-back heat winning comeback in the men's Kite-Surf double elimination. Posted on 14 Oct
GKA Kite World Cup Dakhla day 9
The Fightback is ON! Airton's fantastic five heat comeback saw the very best of him (yes, including his amazing backside 3s) and has set-up a re-match on the very last day of the GKA Kite World Cup Dakhla tomorrow with Reece Myerscough in the double elimination semi finals. Posted on 13 Oct
GKA Kite World Cup Dakhla day 8
Mitu Monteiro wins men's Kite-Surf single elimination in Dakhla At the end of an action-packed afternoon, Cape Verdean Mitu Monteiro has claimed top step of the men's singe elimination podium! Perhaps in a surprise match-up he faced Canadian Reece Myerscough in the final heat who, having reached his first final Posted on 11 Oct
PandB 2019 Autumn Sale - FooterRS Sailing 2019 - FooterSOUTHERN-SPARS-OFFICIAL-SUPPLIER-52-SS728-X-90 Bottom