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Kitefoil Youths and Masters ready to race in Sardinia

by International Kiteboarding Association 23 May 11:29 PDT 22-28 May 2023
Formula Kite Youth European Championship © IKA media / Robert Hajduk

An international group of talented riders are getting ready to contest the Formula Kite Youth European Championship and the Kitefoil Open Masters World Championship in the Marina di Torregrande in Oristano, Sardinia.

Taking place from 22 to 28 May 2023, the event is the latest in a long line of world-class kitefoiling regattas to be staged in this part of the Italian island. In recent years Oristano has earned a reputation as one of the most reliable arenas for high-speed wind-powered watersports.

Eddy Piana, local organiser of the competition, believes high-profile kiteboarding events are one of the best ways to showcase what the region has to offer. "It's a unique opportunity to show international visitors the historical, architectural and environmental wonders of our city and to introduce the exciting sport of kite which has found its homeland in Torre Grande and in the Gulf of Oristano."

Fast girls

With so many of the youth-level riders competing at the very top of Olympic level racing, it's going to take a world-class performance to win the Youth Europeans. Exactly a year ago Nina Arcisz (POL) sailed out of her skin to win the Kitefoiling Youth World Championships on these very same waters, which must give the Polish rider a boost going into this year's competition.

However, she's going to have to beat some world-class talents including her Polish teammate Julia Damasiewicz, the 2021 Youth World Champion who also beat all the senior fleet at last summer's Kitefoil World Series Traunsee in Austria. Magda Woyciechowska (POL) has only just finished her exams in maths and physics, so the 18-year-old is feeling a bit rusty. "I hope I can get my head back into the racing soon," she said. "I won the last Polish Nationals so that gives me some confidence that I can do well if I can get my head back into competition quickly."

Others to watch in the girls' fleet include Héloïse Pégourié (FRA), Maddalena Spanu (ITA) and Gal Boker (ISR), while among the furthest travelled include Catalina Turienzo from Argentina and Suofeiya Li from China.

Battle of the boys

In the boys' fleet there are also some world-class performers at senior level including local hero Riccardo Pianosi (ITA) as well as riders from further afield like Qibin Huang from China. Among a strong French squad, Ulysse Dereeper's name stands out. Swiss fans will be cheering for Cedric Baker and Karl Maeder as well as Gian Andrea Stragiotti who won the Youth Foil U17 class in Torregrande a year ago but is now coming to terms with the faster, more powerful equipment in Formula Kite. Derin Baba (TUR) is proud to be representing Turkey at the event. "This is my third time racing in Torregrande and I'm really looking forward to it. Last year I was 20th [at the Youth Worlds] so this year I hope I can finish 15th or maybe make it into the top 10."

Masters of the universe

To qualify for the Kitefoil Open Masters World Championship, you need to be born in 1987 or before for the Masters competition or before 1977 for the Grand-Masters competition. In the men's fleet watch out for a good battle between Mexico's Xantos Villegas and Denmark's James Johnsen. In the women's fleet there are entries from Czech Republic, France, Thailand and Latvia. Aija Ambrasa (LAT) is only in her third competition having taken up kitefoil racing just last year. "My first time in Torregrande and I hope to learn a lot this week and have a really good time competing in this fleet," said the Latvian rider.

Mirco Babini, President of the International Kiteboarding Federation (IKA), is looking forward to another successful event in Oristano. "We always get great feedback from competitors who race at this beautiful venue. Once again the local Eolo association can be relied on to deliver a fantastic event and will show its logistical, organisational and sporting skills to the whole world with a strong participation from many nations from around the world."

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