Please select your home edition
Savvy Navvy 2021 SW LEADERBOARD v2

2020 Gran Canaria KiteFoil Open European Championships - Day 3

by Oliver Hartas 19 Dec 2020 22:10 PST 17-20 December 2020
2020 Gran Canaria KiteFoil Open European Championships - Day 3 © IKA Media / Alex Schwarz

With a slightly cloudy morning, there were a few worried faces around the rigging area, but the confident words from the locals proved correct, with the clouds blowing away and a perfect 16-20 knot gradient breeze blowing through, with the orange flag being displayed at 1105 local time.

The benchmark in this regatta so far has been Theo de Ramecourt (FRA), whose base strategy has been to focus on his own performance rather than worrying about other riders. Minimising mistakes has certainly proved a good strategy in this regatta, although luck is somewhat involved; with seaweed on the race course, which gets picked up by the riders' hydrofoils, causes not only drag, but can also cause crash-inducing ventilation, and when the competitors are riding at speeds between 20 and 40 knots, one mistake can cost hundreds of meters.

In Race 6, Maxime Nocher (FRA) was again putting the pressure on Theo on the first lap. A wind shift on the first downwind saw Maxime gybe out again, gaining back into Theo, resulting in a very tight gate rounding.

With all the leaders on starboard, Maxime opted to leave the tack to the last minute, very close to the peninsula, and keeping a close eye on Theo, not letting him get as far in front as the previous days. Indeed Theo's winning streak was brought to an end with Guy Bridge (GBR) claiming his first race win in this event. Maxime again was in 2nd and Martin Dolenc (CRO) getting on the podium for the first time in this regatta in 3rd place, with Theo back in 4th place.

Flysurfer kites were dominant at the front of the pack. Featuring flexible cam battens in an effort to remove a lot of the bridle lines in the pursuit of drag reduction, it is a great example of the benefits of being an open development class.

Being a development class provides a whole other range of opportunities to the entire community, as it allows a certain amount of freedom for designers to innovate and try different concepts and prototypes for the next Olympic cycle equipment registration, which will be utilising equipment borne from this development, in the separate, more controlled Formula Kite class.

There are further benefits to having an open development class. By having multiple different designs of kites, boards and foils, riders are able to select the setup that suits them best. This allows for a lot more riders to be competitive, and means that success is less reliant on the genetic fortune to be born with the optimum body shape.

Additionally, as this style of sailing is evolving rapidly, the open design concept allows and encourages the sport to develop and grow outside the restrictions that are naturally associated with the equipment rulings of the Olympic Games. This keeps the sport exciting and relevant whilst enabling advancements in other areas, such as safety. Designers work closely with competitors, relying on feedback to improve and alter their designs, which means that quite often there are prototype versions of various equipment present at each regatta, so there is always something exciting and new to look at for everybody.

After a brief interlude for the wind to stabilise, the second race of the day got away in spectacular fashion, with the huge fleet of kites tearing across the water in a beautiful 20 knot breeze. On the first downwind, it appeared that Florian Gruber (GER) had a nutritious breakfast and thus was putting on a stronger performance than previous days, in 2nd place on the downwind, opting to gybe early out of the main leader pack.

When asked about his performance during the regatta, Florian said "Just feeling a little bit better [today]. I feel like I maybe had a small concussion from a big crash on the first day, and yesterday I just didn't feel good. Today is a little better, but in one race I got a tangle (sic.), Marcus [Edegran] took me down at the gate.

"It is not my favourite conditions anyway, and when you don't have the best luck then it is not the best result overall, but it is still good racing, good training for next season with the strong wind for me, so keeping the good vibe up!" remarked Gruber, beaming positivity as he prepared to relaunch for more racing in the afternoon.

The big crash between Marcus and Florian kept spectators on the edge of their seat, watching the live stream online around the world. By the finish, Theo de Ramecourt was back on form with a scintillating smile accompanying his victorious fist pumps as he crossed the line with a handsome lead ahead of Maxime Nocher with Martin Dolenc scoring another 3rd place, followed by Dor Zarka (ISR) who performed well to finish in 4th.

Unfortunately for Gisela Pulido (ESP), the local crowd favourite vying for the Women's Title, equipment damage in the form of a broken control bar forced her back to the beach where she was unable to replace the broken part and relaunch in time for Race 8. Similarly, Guy Bridge, who was in 3rd place overall after Race 7, was left ashore for Race 8. Said a disappointed Bridge "I wouldn't have come in but my foil was damaged on the rocks."

Race 8 saw a familiar sight of Theo and Maxime taking out the top two spots, with Florian Gruber on the podium in 3rd. This race also saw good performances from Alejandro Hernandez (ESP) in 4th, Dor Zarka in 5th and Alexander Ehlen (POL) in 6th.

The difficulty plaguing racing here has been the fact that when the wind shifts left toward the north, or gets affected by the thermal breeze trying to build, the wind on the beach vanishes, leaving a 300m void before the wind line resumes. This area of zero wind occasionally encroaches upon the edge of the race course, affecting the finish line, and also preventing riders from either sailing in to the beach, or sailing out from the beach to rejoin the racing.

Indeed, this is exactly what eventuated again this afternoon after Race 8, with the thermal wind being enough of a thorn in the side of the race committee that AP over A was displayed again shortly after 1530 local time, ending racing for the day. With the final day of racing tomorrow, all involved are looking forward to it greatly.

Results after 8 races: (1 discard)

1. FRA 46 Theo de Ramecourt 7 pts
2. FRA 41 Maxime Nocher 14 pts
3. GBR 60 Guy Bridge 24 pts
4. CRO 37 Martin Dolenc 36 pts
5. GER 55 Florian Gruber 42 pts

Find complete results here.

Related Articles

Representation and aspiration
Why the sailors themselves matter far more than what they sail A lot has been made of the International Olympic Committee and World Sailing's decisions for the tenth sailing medal at the Paris 2024 Games. Posted on 14 Jun
IOC approves Men's & Women's Kiteboarding
As Sailing's 10th Medal Event for Paris 2024 On Thursday, June 10, World Sailing was informed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that the IOC Executive Board approved Men's and Women's Kiteboarding (Formula Kite) for the Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Competition. Posted on 11 Jun
Registration open for GKA Youth Freestyle Tour
First scheduled event to be held at El Gouna, Egypt in July The GKA is proud to host the Youth Freestyle and Kite-Surf World Tour. We're stoked to have confirmation for our first scheduled event in El Gouna, Egypt and registration is now open. Posted on 29 May
Youth show the way
World Sailing's crucial mid-year meeting vote for kiteboarding alternative World Sailing held their crucial mid-year meeting last week to decide the alternative for the Mixed Offshore Keelboat event at the Paris Olympics Posted on 17 May
Alternative events for Paris 2024 approved
World Sailing's Council meeting concludes 2021 Mid-Year Meeting World Sailing's Council have approved the Men's and Women's Kiteboarding (Formula Kite) and Men's and Women's Two Person Dinghy (470) as the first and second alternative event proposals to Mixed Offshore at Paris 2024. Posted on 14 May
Alternate reality
Is the Paris 2024 10th medal hammering a square peg in a round hole? This time 40 years ago the drummer Nick Mason released an album called Fictitious Sports. As with his band Pink Floyd, Hipgnosis were called upon for the album art, creating the image you see above, which seemed apt as an intro for this editorial. Posted on 3 May
IKA event update May 2021
The first international kiteboarding events will commence as planned from July onwards With travel restrictions easing and mass vaccination progressing quickly, the first international kiteboarding events will commence as planned from July onwards. Posted on 3 May
Next generation of stars named in Futures Squad
Athletes come from the eight confirmed Olympic classes for the Paris 2024 Games Australian Sailing is pleased to announce the inaugural group of athletes and coaches to be selected to the recently launched Performance Pathway Futures Program. Posted on 22 Apr
The RYA Youth Nationals is back!
The event will welcome as many as 350 young racers from all over the country The RYA is thrilled to announce that the RYA Youth National Championships is coming back with a bang for 2021 - and entries are opening on Monday. Posted on 20 Apr
New Tracing Sticker Program launching Summer 2021
Goal is to maintain beach safety and access for kitesurfers around the world At its core, the Global Kitesports Association's main objective is to continually ensure that kitesurfing has safe practices through the development and implementation of equipment standards. Posted on 10 Apr
Henri-Lloyd 2021 M-PRO PURE BLACK - FOOTERVaikobi 2021 FlexForce - FOOTERCoast Guard Foundation FOOTER 3