Please select your home edition
Hyde Sails 2022 One Design LEADERBOARD

2023 KiteFoil World Series Final in Zhuhai - Day 3

by Andy Rice 2 Dec 2023 09:58 PST 30 November - 3 December 2023
World's best men and women racing off one busy start line - 2023 KiteFoil World Series Final in Zhuhai, Day 3 © IKA Media / Robert Hajduk

According to the Old Testament legend of Samson, when Delilah cut his hair he lost all his power. The opposite appears to be true for Martin Dolenc. Having had his hair cut on Friday evening in the Chinese city of Zhuhai, the Croatian rider finally got his mojo back.

After two difficult days on the water, not least an exploding kite in a particularly nasty gust at the end of a blustery day two, day three of the Lakewood Hills KiteFoil World Series China was when things came good for the freshly-shorn Dolenc.

Mind over Maeder

"Finally I found my groove," smiled Dolenc. "I didn't hit any fish! I think I sailed well the other days but had bad luck. Today I felt I was going fine, always battling with the top two. After a good first race I felt I had the speed and just happy to have had a good day overall." Today's scores of 3,1,4,2 lift him to fourth overall, a few points behind Denis Taradin of Cyprus, but some way back from the front two - Slovenia's Toni Vodisek and Singapore's Max Maeder.

It came as some relief after the treacherous conditions of Friday - when the gusts were squalling up to 30 knots - to get back to more manageable breeze between 10 to 13 knots. However, that doesn't mean the obstacles beneath the surface - the fish or the plastic bags - were any less of a threat. Where Vodisek had struggled with bad plastic bag luck on the previous day, today it was Maeder who felt like he had the bag magnet on his foil.

Crash, bang, wallop

But, as Maeder was the first to admit, some of his ill fortune was down to his own judgement, not least picking up a UFD disqualification for starting a fraction too early on a congested line. "I was pushed and I wanted a good start," shrugged the Singaporean teenager whose last UFD came more than four years ago in 2019. "I was adamant in keeping my good start, so I stuck my nose out - and paid the price."

At the climax of the last of today's four races, it was a photo-finish between Maeder and Dolenc as they powered across the line in excess of 30 knots. "I was cheering a little bit for Martin because I wasn't sure about the points," admitted Vodisek, although even with Maeder edging the win over Dolenc, it's still Vodisek who leads by a point going into the final day. It's a critical advantage to be wearing the leader's yellow bib as this puts the Slovenian on two wins compared with Maeder's one, meaning Vodisek is just one race win away from taking the title in Zhuhai.

Maeder conceded that he has his work cut out on Sunday if he's to turn the tables on his arch-rival. "It's certainly an advantage that Toni has over me. We'll have fun in the finals. We can't complain, because the others have to fight through the repechage, everyone else has to battle through to the final." Vodisek joked that it's his turn to take a win off Maeder. "Max already beat me when we were playing Mario Kart two days ago, but I can even out the wins tomorrow on the water."

Of course there are other riders in the mix, not least Dolenc who will be looking to carry through the momentum of today's success into the Medal Series, as well as other top riders such as Taradin, Flo Gruber of Germany and a strong squad of Chinese riders led by Qibin Huang, who beat Maeder last weekend at the Formula Kite Asia & Oceania Championships in Shenzhen.

In the women's contest, Lauriane Nolot must have been wondering why she was dogged by such bad plastic luck in the early races today. "I couldn't avoid the plastic in the water, crashing all the time, five or six plastic bags in the first three races. But in the final race I avoided all the plastic and I'm happy to have finished with a good race."

This puts Nolot in second overall behind Jingle Chen of China. Just as Huang enjoyed an important psychological breakthrough last week with his historic victory of Maeder, Chen is hoping she can beat the reigning Formula Kite World Champion from France in Sunday's four-rider showdown. "I'm very excited for tomorrow, it will be just four people which makes it easier to show your level, competing close to each other. Let's see! I hope to win, because if I beat Lauriane in this event, it will make me more confident for next year." Next year being Olympic year, the debut for kiteboarding in the Games.

While today was a setback for Nolot, she's not giving up the fight easily. "Jingle is doing an impressive job. She is pushing hard and it's a good fight between us. This afternoon I will rest and have a massage, and then I will come back tomorrow with as much power and energy as possible, and smash it."

Results Men

    1. Toni Vodisek, SLO - 14.0 p
    2. Maxilimian Maeder, SGP - 15.0 p
    3. Denis Taradin, CYP - 29.0 p

Results Women

    1. Jingle Chen, CHN - 128.0 p
    2. Lauriane Nolot, FRA - 138.0 p
    3. Wan Li, CHN - 143.0 p

More information and entry list

Related Articles

Six athletes named to Paris Canadian Olympic Team
Sarah Douglas will make her second consecutive Olympic appearance at Paris 2024 Sail Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee have announced the roster of Team Canada sailing athletes nominated to compete at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Posted on 8 Jun
2026-27 World Sailing Championships host announced
Valencia in Spain and Gdynia in Poland host new format split event World Sailing has selected the cities of Valencia in Spain and Gdynia in Poland to host the 2026-2027 World Sailing Championships as the event moves to a split format for the first time. Posted on 6 Jun
Sail Canada introduces the Canadian Sailing Team
2024-25 Canadian Sailing Team and Canadian Sailing Development Squad announced Sail Canada is pleased to announce the list of sailors who will be part of the 2024-2025 Canadian Sailing Team and Canadian Sailing Development Squad. Posted on 4 Jun
Sail Canada introduces its team for Youth Worlds
The competition will be held July 13-20 in Lake Garda, Italy Sail Canada is pleased to introduce its 13-member team that will represent the country at the 2024 Youth Sailing World Championships to be held July 13-20 in Lake Garda, Italy. Posted on 22 May
Introducing Paris 2024 U.S. Olympic Sailing Team
Celebrating and introducing the sailors off to Marseille shortly For fans of U.S. Olympic sailing, the past several quadrennials have been a nosebleed, at best. Despite this history, however, the USA has fielded a young-but-hopefully-competitive team for the Paris 2024 Olympics. Posted on 21 May
Aldridge wins statement silver
At the Formula Kite Worlds in final pre-Paris test Marseille-bound Ellie Aldridge secured a statement silver medal at the Formula Kite World Championships following another consistent performance in Hyeres. Posted on 20 May
Breiana shows she's a strong contender for Paris
Breiana Whitehead finished fifth at the Formula Kite World Championships Breiana Whitehead finished fifth at the Formula Kite World Championships, held over the past six days in Hyeres, France. Posted on 20 May
Emily qualifies to be nominated for Paris 2024
To represent Canada in Women's Kiteboarding at the Olympics Emily Bugeja from Vancouver, B.C., has qualified to be nominated on Canada's Paris 2024 Olympic Games sailing team in women's kiteboarding. Posted on 19 May
2024 Formula Kite Worlds in Hyères, France overall
Nolot & Maeder win back their world titles Max Maeder and Lauriane Nolot have successfully defended their titles at the end of the Formula Kite World Championships in Hyères in the south of France. Posted on 19 May
2024 Formula Kite Worlds in Hyères, France Day 5
Triple-bullet boost for Newland before final Defending champions Max Maeder and Lauriane Nolot go into the final day of the 2024 Formula Kite World Championships in pole position. Posted on 18 May
Cyclops Marine 2023 November - FOOTERRooster Wetsuit RangeRS Sailing 2021 - FOOTER