France cleans up the men’s and women’s divisions at the KiteFoil World Series in Sardinia • Live Sail Die
Frenchman Axel Mazella won the third stage of the KiteFoil World Series amid difficult sea breezes that faded towards the end of the dramatic fourth day of the regatta in Cagliari, on the Italian seaside island of Sardinia.
The faltering breeze that dropped to 6-8 knots in the last race, left Mazella swimming when her kite collapsed after failing to cross the first mark, despite furiously pumping her foil, well that he was able to retrieve and complete the order.
But by then he had already carved out an insurmountable lead with clinical performances in the previous 16 races on the Gulf of Angels track, off Poetto beach in Cagliari. He had taken up the test challenges of his compatriot Théo de Ramecourt, Briton Connor Bainbridge and Russian Denis Taradin, who finished just behind in the standings.
Mazella’s victory earned him a share of the purse of € 25,000 and solidified his lead in the tour’s overall standings following his second act triumph last month in Traunsee, Austria. This keeps him firmly in the pursuit of a coveted third World Kitefoil Championship title from the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA).
“I’m happy to have won this event, that’s for sure,” said Mazella. “I am also satisfied with my performance. But I know I have things to work on again after this. Because of the changing winds, I didn’t make good decisions. It was hard. Winning brings me a little closer to the title, and this is where I earned big points in this quest.
His compatriot De Ramecourt gained a place in the standings on the final day, moving up to second place in the overall standings. The Frenchman finished the four-day regatta with a solid finish, in which he won three and two-thirds balls in the last seven races.
The competition, in its fourth edition in Cagliari, was marked by various conditions ranging from the 33 knot Mistral offshore to lighter and more unstable coastal breezes, which allowed De Ramecourt to become more assured and faster after a mixed opening of his campaign.
“I’m really happy because I finally found my rhythm,” said De Ramecourt. “Especially the past two days. On the last day I got one of my best wins, but I also had some really bad races earlier. So I’m really happy with my performance and my state of mind.
De Ramecourt’s gain came at the expense of Briton Bainbridge, who took third place on the podium after losing a place on the final day. Bainbridge had a roller coaster ride that started out with the lead in the overall standings in the rough conditions of day one, moving up and down in order.
“I’m happy to be on the podium again on closing day,” said Bainbridge. “I felt that I was going fast enough and that I was pushing Axel Mazella. But I felt the last day was a bit lucky with the breeze. There was no real prediction of what was to come.
16-year-old Italian Riccardo Pianosi did better than most readers. Pianosi, who will represent his home country at the World Sailing Youth Worlds in Oman in December, passed Mazella in the final race, taking a third and sixth place overall, earning him the U19 Youth crown.
“I am so happy with my result,” said Pianosi. “It’s a bit of a surprise, but a good surprise. Running with this level of guys, the best in the world, it’s tough. I just try to do my best every day.
The IKA KiteFoil World Series Cagliari attracted 42 athletes, 29 men and 13 women, from 19 countries and from five continents. It was the third of five scheduled acts, with the winners of the men’s and women’s general classification crowned IKA KiteFoil World Champions.
As the women raced in a single fleet with the men and competed for an equal share of the World Series Cagliari pot, battles between the leaders were intense, with the top two places changing hands during the competition.
But ultimately, the domination of the France team was never in doubt since it climbed the three steps of the podium. Victor, Lauriane Nolot, finally got the better of the compatriot and recently crowned European Formula Kite Champion Poema Newland, with Jessie Kampman in the trio.
Nolot’s victory in Cagliari in sometimes difficult conditions also earned him two consecutive stops in the World Series after his victory in Austria. She was happy to see Newland again, who held the lead for several days.
“I can be happy with my performance,” said Nolot. “I did the job I came for. I survived the conditions. It’s a very good training for the world championships because we had all the conditions, from 9m to 21m of kitesurfing.
Newland, too, was comforted by her second step on the podium which allowed her to keep her place in the standings. She also used it as a learning experience which she hopes will help her eliminate costly mistakes.
“Every day was a bad day for me,” Newland said. “I made a lot of mistakes, made bad choices of strategy, size of kite, everything. But I came here to learn and keep my place in the rankings, so at least I’m happy with that.
Most athletes will now make their way up the Sardinian coast to Torregrande, where even tougher challenges await them at the 2021 IKA Formula Kite World Championships next week.
KiteFoil World Series Cagliari – Men
1 FRA Axel Mazella
2 FRA Théo de Ramecourt
3 GBR Connor Bainbridge
KiteFoil World Series Cagliari – Women
1 FRA Lauriane Nolot
2 ENG Poem Newland
3 ENG Jessie Kampman
KiteFoil World Series Cagliari – Youth U19
1 ITA Riccardo Pianosi
2 CZE Vojtech Koska
3 ITA Angelo Soli
KiteFoil World Series Cagliari – Masters
1 DEN James Johnsen
2 SUI Kari Eisenhut
3 ARG Frédéric Aguilar
KiteFoil World Series Cagliari – Grand Masters
1 DEN James Johnsen
2 SUI Kari Eisenhut
3 BRA Claudio Cruz
Full results: www.kitefoilworldseries.com