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2021 KiteFoil World Series Gran Canaria Day 1

by International Kiteboarding Association 1 Dec 2021 13:40 PST 1-4 December 2021

Asked what a Frenchman eats for breakfast in Spain, today's winner smiled: "I eat an English breakfast in Spain. Look at my skinny legs! I need bigger legs to go faster, and that's why I need an English breakfast."

Another rider familiar with the Great British breakfast is Connor Bainbridge who powered his way to victory in the opening race, with Mazella breathing down the Briton's neck all the way to the high-speed finish. Bainbridge followed up with three second places and would have taken second in the last race of the afternoon but for a crash just before the finish line which dropped him to third.

Bainbridge's loss was Denis Taradin's gain, as the Russian Federation rider stormed past to steal second place. Taradin admitted it had taken him a while to get into his groove. In race two he was holding a healthy lead until a crash down the final run dropped him from first to fifth place. "It was tricky conditions in the waves and it took me a while to get into the flow. Either I was going fast and crashing, or going too slow. Connor sailed a really good day with all his second places but I was getting better by the end of the day. Whoever beats who at this event is probably going to end up taking second overall in this year's Series, so I'll keep on pushing."

Another Russian Federation rider, Mikhail Novikov, is leading the Under 19 youth category with a consistent bunch of sixes and sevens. In the women's division, Poema Newland had the best day and sits just a point outside of the top 10 overall. Another French rider Lauriane Nolot holds second in the women with Austria's Alina Kornelli in third. "Really hard racing out there," smiled Kornelli. "I lost a few places with a crash just before the finish. I think the high-speed reach at the end makes it hard for us to keep control and that's why we're seeing a few people fall right at the end of the races."

Maintaining board and kite control whilst thinking race strategy and tactics is a lot to take in for the human brain. A lot of the riders are happy to get round without a crash, but a mark of Mazella's brilliance was on display in race three. With Bainbridge and Croatia's Martin Dolenc approaching the final windward mark on starboard tack, Mazella came charging in from the left-hand lay line. Seemingly with no place to go the Frenchman managed to execute a perfect foiling tack right in the gap between his two rivals without fouling them. One slip and Mazella would caused an incident which would have required him to take a penalty. "I had to go for it otherwise I would have had to sail behind them both and give up the fight for first place."

Once around the mark, Mazella used the downwind superiority of the Ozone kite to sail a deeper line towards the bottom of the course. This gave him the ability to control the next gybe and take charge of the race until the finish. "The others were faster than me upwind but I have the edge downwind so that was my opportunity."

Racing continues at 1300 hours on Thursday with five more races on the schedule, although a higher wind forecast could make the conditions very challenging indeed. All the action on the climactic final two days of the regatta on Friday and Saturday will be featured on Facebook Livestream.

2021 Kitefoil World Series Gran Canaria - Men (5 races, 1 discard)

1. FRA Axel Mazella 4pts
2. GBR Connor Bainbridge 7pts
3. RYF Denis Taradin 13pts

2021 Kitefoil World Series Gran Canaria - Women (5 races, 1 discard)

1. FRA Poema Newland 40pts
2. FRA Lauriane Nolot 54pts
3. AUT Alina Kornelli 59pts

Full rankings available here...

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