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2024 Fuerteventura KiteFoil International Open Cup - Preview

by Fuerteventura Kitefoil Open Cup 14 Feb 08:27 PST 15-18 February 2024
Trainings in Corralejo before the competition © Sailing Energy

More than 40 participants from 15 countries are already training on the beaches of Corralejo to compete from February 15 to 18 in the Fuerteventura KiteFoil International Open Cup, featuring Gisela Pulido, who will represent Spain in the Olympic Games.

The beaches of Corralejo on the island of Fuerteventura will be the stage where more than 40 competitors from 15 countries will compete, and they are already training on the island before starting their international trial journey, as many of them aspire to reach the Paris 2024 Olympics if selected by their countries. "Registrations are still open for the Fuerteventura Kitefoil International Open Cup, an event requested by the riders themselves who train in Corralejo and whom we will likely see competing in Paris," said Manuel Martínez, president of the Canakite Experiences Sports Club and organizar.

Currently, 10 of the countries participating in this event are already qualified for the Olympics, as are athletes who have secured their spot, such as Gisela Pulido, a 10-time kitesurf world champion, who will represent Spain in this new Olympic discipline of Formula Kite. Among her main rivals is Lauriane Nolot (France), the current world champion and second in the Formula Kite world ranking, as well as leading the overall ranking of the KiteFoil World Series 2023. "Many participants from the top 20 of the World Sailing world ranking are expected to participate," added Martinez.

Among the male competitors, Italian Riccardo Pianosi and Frenchman Maxime Nocher have already registered for the competition, currently holding the second and third positions in the Formula Kite world ranking. Additionally, the current leader of the KiteFoil World Series 2023, Singaporean Maximiliam Maeder, will also be present. Among the veterans, German Florian Gruber, an 8-time kitesurf world champion, stands out. Representing Spain, Valencia's Alejandro Climent, who recently won the Formula Kite Spain Series 2023 in Tarifa, will participate, among other riders.

For the Spanish rider, it will be a chance to make contact with practically the entire fleet, so he hopes to demonstrate all the work they have been doing since November, despite being injured in the back. "I hope to measure up; we have spent two winters here, in addition to the kitefoil cup we held in 2021 in Jandía, the conditions are spectacular," said Climent. Among the confirmed participants is also Catalan Bernat Cortés, among other competitors who could surprise during the event.

Since the celebration of the first KiteFoil World Cup in Fuerteventura in 2021, competitors have discovered the ideal conditions the island offers for training during the winter season. So, from November to late February, "some of the world's best riders have their annual preparation on these beaches, which represents a significant investment in the destination for the municipality and also at the island level," said Manuel Martínez.

Especially due to its perfect wind conditions throughout the year, the Canary Islands are the preferred destination for many athletes and organizations such as the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA). "Fuerteventura is the perfect place for kitefoil races, as representatives from more than 20 countries spend the entire winter training in Corralejo," said Mirco Babini, president of the IKA. In his words, he hopes to "make a lot of noise to bring back the World Series of the discipline in 2025."

This first edition of the Fuerteventura KiteFoil International Open Cup, organized by the Canakite Experiences Sports Club with the collaboration of the Royal Canarian Sailing Federation, is sponsored by the Tourism Department of the Fuerteventura Island Council, Promotur Canary Islands, and subsidized by the Government of the Canary Islands. The event has also had the unconditional support of the La Oliva City Council, through various areas such as Mayor's Office, Sports, Tourism, and Beaches, among others.

Kiteboarding professionalizes after being included in the Paris 2024 Olympics

In the last 20 years, kiteboarding has been a rapidly growing outdoor activity, and with its inclusion in the Olympic Program for Paris 2024, its performance has reached elite levels. According to the event organizer, by coming to Fuerteventura, "elite riders" are "confident" in participating in a professional event that will be communicated to the world and showcase an ideal location with "unparalleled" conditions for kiteboarding enthusiasts worldwide.

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