The Mistral fully kicked in for day four of the 2022 Formula Kite World Championships in Cagliari, Sardinia. The wind was pumping from 15 up to 22 knots, with some really hard gusts coming off the Sardinian shore. Everyone came back off the water with a big story to tell. The adrenalin and the endorphins were still pumping through every rider’s body as they stepped back on to Poetto Beach while the ever-changing cloud colours scudded overhead.
The only thing that stopped Daniela Moroz in the four women’s gold fleet races was a UFD disqualification. In every race the American crossed the finish line in first place, and thanks to the discard the five-time World Champion still counts a perfect set of race wins. Always pushing her hard, however, was the new European Champion Lauriane Nolot (FRA) who won the race from which Moroz was disqualified, along with 3,2,2 in her other races.
The front two have a significant jump on the rest of the women’s fleet, making it very likely that Moroz and Nolot will earn the two automatic places in the four-rider final at the end of the competition this Sunday. Best of the rest after a really solid outing in gnarly conditions were Poema Newland (FRA) and Breiana Whitehead (AUS), the Australian proving that her stand-out performance at the recent Europeans was no fluke.
America’s Cup skipper and keen wingfoiler Jimmy Spithill was out watching the racing from an imposing black powerboat, and was cheering Moroz along from the sidelines. “I was sitting on Jimmy’s rib between races,” smiled Moroz, who has raced with Spithill on the Team USA foiling catamaran in the SailGP circuit. “It was nice to see him again because we hadn’t caught up since I was with him for the San Francisco SailGP event back in March. When I got the UFD Jimmy was like ‘No worries, just get on with the next one.’”
AN ‘INTERESTING’ COLOUR SCHEME
They also talked about the ‘love it or hate it’ colour scheme of the new AC40 launched by America’s Cup team Luna Rossa nearby in Cagliari the previous day. “I told him, I thought the colour scheme was a very interesting idea because it makes it harder to tell what the shape the boat is. Jimmy was saying they’re already having some Joker stickers printed up for it.”
As to the high-speed duel with Nolot, Moroz said: “I was having such a good time pushing with Lauriane and she made me work super hard on the downwind, she was always right behind me. We had a really good battle and we’re super tight on points now.”
THE TONI & MAX MATCH RACE
As with the women’s fleet, there was a duel between two stand-out riders in the men’s gold fleet. Toni Vodisek (SLO) and Max Maeder (SGP) won two races apiece, putting down a level of performance that the other 23 riders struggled to match.
Vodisek was overflowing with excitement after getting his kite down on to the beach. “That was a big day for everybody,” said the Slovenian. “I wanted to congratulate every competitor in every fleet out there because nothing was easy today.”
Earlier in the afternoon when the silver and bronze fleets were racing, a big black rain cloud loomed on the horizon. Even though one of the races was about to finish, it was abandoned in a bid to give maximum time for the riders to get upwind and back on to Poetto Beach. Some made it back to terra firma in the nick of time, others were still struggling to get back and were caught up in the worst of the 40 knots squall as it struck. Coach boats joined the rescue teams to help get every rider and piece of equipment back to the beach. Everyone was safe, no one injured, although a number of kites were damaged in the worst of the squall.
11 > 15
“I’m happy that everybody got out safe and no big incidents,” said Vodisek. As to his duel with Maeder. “He’s a legend in the sport, and it was great to push each other so hard. I was using my 15 square metre and it was too much. I pulled out of the last race as I wanted to preserve my kit. I should have been on the 11 square metre, but anyway, it was the right decision [to retire].”
Maeder agreed that Vodisek’s decision to use one of his discards to preserve his kite was the right move. “That was smart thinking by Toni,” said the Singaporean who jumped up from ninth to second overall today. “He is such a strong competitor and hats off to him. He’s a wonderful rider and I enjoyed our competition on the water today. The choice of going out on the 15 [in those conditions] I will never do again though. I am sure that I would have been more efficient on the 11 [square metre] and it would have been safer for me and for my fellow competitors. I won’t make that mistake again.”
HIGHWAY TO THE SCARY ZONE
The 16 year old admits that he does get scared when the board hits speeds of 37 knots or more. Today he hit a peak speed of 38 knots, although his all-time record is 43 knots on a board barely more than a metre long.
The best riders behind the front two were the Frenchmen Axel Mazella and Theo de Ramecourt who is the defending world champion. De Ramecourt was satisfied with his day after scores of 3,10,4,2 and he has closed the gap to Mazella to just three points.
LIVE: LAST DAY OF GOLD FLEET
Saturday sees the conclusion of gold fleet racing before the top 10 men and women go through to Sunday’s climactic Medal Series. Starting 1400 hours local time the gold fleet racing will be livestreamed on YouTube and Facebook.
Men’s European champion Toni Vodisek and Women’s reigning world champion Daniela Moroz finished the Opening Series of the Sardinia Grand Slam – Formula Kite World Championship (Olympic Class) in the lead on Thursday, October 13th. Twenty-five boys and as many girls qualified for the Gold Fleet scheduled from Friday to Sunday, October 14th-16th.
Also on Day 3 of the event organizers and athletes had to deal with the whims of the wind and a mistral first unstable and then too weak. Only eight heats were completed, allowing men to finish six series (Q6) and the women to finish five qualification series (Q5).
Toni Vodisek ends the day with a smile, after placing twice second behind Polish Maksymilian Zakowski and Benoit Gomez. “The sirocco made everyone competing in stable wind conditions, while the mistral is always an unknown factor. I’m very happy for today’s second results, I’m not a magician in wind reading, at least not like Gomez who was very good in Q6. We hope we’ll have stable winds in the next days, as well as I hope to have fun and to aim for the best result, of course”, the Slovenian commented.
Axel Mazella can look at the glass half full too, thanks to a runner-up and a fifth spot that allowed him to finish the opening series with the same net score as Vodisek, even if in second place overall so far. “This is the sixth time I compete here in Cagliari and every time I enjoy it a lot. Today there was the classic mistral wind and it was not easy to compete, because the wind was gusty and shifty. But this is also the kite, I always enjoy it. “Difficult to say who’s the favorite for the final win, in a few races everything can happen”.
Also, Denis Taradin, third overall, Theo de Ramecourt, Florian Gruber and Riccardo Pianosi took a heat win. The latter took the best-combined results of the day, climbing to eighth place overall: “It was a good day for me, I found two good and clean performances. I got off to a good start, I was able to read the wind as best I did. My shape is growing day by day”.
Daniela Moroz continues dominating the Women’s races, whilst Lauriane Nolot positive streak stopped, due to the great performance of Ellie Aldridge, another big gun of this World Championships. Leonie Mayer also performed well: the German enters the Gold Fleet in the third position, ahead of the British Katie Dabson and the Spanish Gisela Pulido Borrell. “I wished we could race more because I really like when it’s offshore shifty conditions, but hopefully tomorrow it will be stronger and hopefully stable. I feel good to go into first into Gold Fleet Race, we’ll see what happens in the next couple of days” Moroz commented.
BATTLE FOR THE MEDAL SERIES TO START TOMORROW
Tomorrow, Friday 14 October, the schedule includes Silver and Bronze Fleet races since 11.00, while the Gold Fleet will start competing at 13.00, with the best 25 athletes of each series chasing a Top-10 spot to enter the Medal Series on October 16th.
LIVE STREAMING FROM FRIDAY TO SUNDAY
The images of the Formula Kite World Championships will be streamed live on the Facebook and Youtube platforms of the event and of IKA, the international kiteboarding association, from Friday, October 14th (1.15 pm) to Sunday, October 16th. The event will reach over 140 countries around the World, with dedicated services and focuses. Daily highlights are also broadcasted on the Facebook and Youtube platforms of the event and IKA.
MEN – Ranking after 5 races
1. Toni Vodisek SLO – 6p
2. Axel Mazella FRA – 6p
3. Denis Taradin CYP – 12p
WOMEN – Ranking after 5 races
1. Daniela Moroz USA – 4p
2. Lauriane Nolot FRA – 4p
3. Leonie Mayer GER – 14p
First the rain, then the absence of stable wind: after the rich program of the Sardinia Gran Slam – Formula Kite World Championships (Olympic Class) Day 1, no races started at Cagliari‘s Poetto beach on Wednesday, October 12th. In fact, the adverse weather conditions overruled any will or attempt.
After the heavy rain of the morning, the sun came out on the Gulf ot the Angels and therefore the race direction tried to set the start of the Women’s heats at 3:00 pm, followed by the Men’s ones. However, the ideal conditions for race hasn’t come in the expected time. The race decided first to postpone the start, waiting for stable winds, trying then to set up a route for the appropriate checks.
The official communication about the schedule cancellation came at 5.10 pm. The Words’ heats will continue tomorrow, October 13th, before the race for the medals to enter in the decisive days from Friday to Sunday, October 14th-16th.
“The World Championship is the event I’ve been training for all year long. The injury that affected my Europeans did nothing but boost my motivation“. The neck pain is actually just a memory, the mood is great and the feeling with Cagliari’s Gulf of the Angels keeps strengthening year by year: reigning champion Theo de Ramecourt promises to battle until the last meter with all the rivals at the Sardinia Grand Slam – Formula Kite World Championships (Olympic Class) taking place from today, October 11th, to Sunday, October 16th in Cagliari (Italy).
The intensity of the wind rose to 13 knots for the Women’s races, with “her majesty” Daniela Moroz reaffirming her title ambitions (it would be the sixth) with four wins in four races, sharing the overall lead with European champion French Lauriane Nolot. Top 5 of the day for Jessie Kampman, Poema Newland and Katie Dabson.De Ramecourt started the rainbow event by placing third in the first four Qualification Races. The 25-year-old Frenchman stands in 10th position after Day 1. “All the best kiters are racing here and that’s where the level is the highest – says Théo de Ramecourt, winner of the 2021 Formula Kite World Championships -. With the Olympics coming up, we are training to be ready for specific events and the world championship is the event I’ve been training for all year long. I had a really good event last year and I couldn’t wait to race in Cagliari, a place that can be technical and windy. On top of that, the Europeans didn’t go as planned as I hurt my neck and had to stop racing before the event so my motivation level is high.”
Théo makes his forecast about the Worlds: “I predict a really technical and interesting race: at the European Champs everyone was pushing really hard and they will do the same in Cagliari, to win this title“. The Frenchman arrived in Cagliari more than a week ago, feeling at home immediately: “I really love to come here, especially because is off-season and it’s not so crowded, being at the same time warm with wonderful weather and nature. I enjoyed hiking and of course, kiting in this great scenery with perfect conditions. Great people, good food, good vibes: I’m ready“.
2021 Sardinia Grand Slam winner Axel Mazella and European champion Toni Vodisek stole the show in the qualifications Day 1, finishing in the lead in their respective four heats. The fast Maximilian Maeder completed the day with three wins, the same net score (3.0) of Mazella and Vodisek and third in the GC. Croatian Martin Dolenc and US Kai Calder rounded out the Top 5. Lorenzo Boschetti, sixth, is actually the best among the Italians: the crash in the Q1 was promptly redeemed with a fourth and two second spots in the following heats. World ranking leader Riccardo Pianosi stands at 12th. The Men’s batteries were characterized by a sirocco wind at 9/11 knots.
The strength of the wind rose to 13 knots for the women’s races, with “her majesty” Daniela Moroz reaffirming her title ambitions (it would be the sixth) with four wins in four races. European champion French Lauriane Nolot also did very well, with three partial victories and second place overall. Jessie Kampman, Poema Newland e Katie Dabson round-out the Top 5 after Day-1.
The great sail lives in Cagliari, whether Sardinia‘s capital is hosting the Luna Rossa crew in view of America’s Cup or welcoming the stars of the Formula Kite, a discipline warming up to debut at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
Sardinia will host the highest Formula Kite World Championships for the second year in a row, moving from Torregrande (Oristano) to Poetto beach (Cagliari): two seaside locations distant only a hundred kilometers and united by the passion for great sailing.
After hosting the queen stage of the KiteFoil World Series last autumn, Cagliari gives encore with the Sardinia Grand Slam (October 8th-16th) assigning the World Championships titles in the Olympic Class. Welcoming 150 athletes (92 men and 58 women) from 44 countries and 6 continents, the event is organized by GLEsport with the financial contribution of the Tourism Department of the Autonomous Region of Sardinia and the Municipality of Cagliari.
The Formula Kite World Championships are held under the aegis of World Sailing (the International Sailing Federation) and IKA (the International Kiteboarding Federation), in addition to the FIV – Italy’s Sailing Federation and CKWI, the Kiteboarding and Wingsport Italia Class and with the collaboration of the Chia Wind Club.
In the traditional press conference on the eve of Monday 10 October, held at the Sardinia Grand Slam Village, at the sixth stop of Poetto, the President of the organizing committee Gian Domenico Nieddu and IKA’a number one Mirco Babini introduces the event, in the presence of Mauro Contini from Department for Sports of the Autonomous Region of Sardinia; Alessandro Guarracino, Councilor for Technological Innovation, Environment and Sea Policies of the Municipality of Cagliari; Fioremma Landucci, Councilor for Sports at the Municipality of Cagliari.
DE RAMECOURT AND MOROZ TO DEFEND THE TITLES
The defending champion Théo de Ramecourt will try to defend the 2021 title in Cagliari from the attack of several rivals, starting from his friends from the strong French team. Second-placed in Oristano’s World Championships and a brilliant protagonist and winner of the Sardinia Grand Slam 2021, Axel Mazella stands among them. Cyprus’ Denis Taradin, leader of the KiteFoil World Series, and Slovenian Tony Vodisek, new European champion, are other two serious prospects for success, as well as the English team and Singapore’s Maximilian Maeder, actually one of the fastest athletes in the World.
2021 Worlds and 2022 European championships bronze medallist Riccardo Pianosi, leader of the World ranking, doesn’t hide his ambitions, as well as German Florian Gruber and Lorenzo Boschetti, second and third respectively.
Five times World champion and star of Sardinia Grand Slam in past editions, US’ Daniela Moroz will try to hold the title among Women. British Ellie Aldridge and French Lauriane Nolot, silver and bronze at the 2021 World Cup, are supposed to be her main rivals. Gisela Pulido Borrell will also fly over the waters of Cagliari: the Spaniard leads the seasonal ranking ahead of Nolot, the new European champion and winner of the Sardinia Grand Slam 2021, and Moroz.
The athletes reached Cagliari with their entourage since the early days of October, for a total of 6,000 estimated presences in two weeks.
LIVE STREAMING FROM FRIDAY TO SUNDAY
The images of the Formula Kite World Championships will be streamed live on the Facebook and Youtube platforms of the event and of IKA, the international kiteboarding association, from Friday, October 14th to Sunday, October 16th. The regattas will start at 12.00 pm CET, except for schedule modifications due to weather conditions. The event will reach over 140 countries around the World, with dedicated services and focuses. Highlights at the end of the day are also scheduled. The event will be broadcasted on Sardinia Grand Slam and IKA Facebook and Youtube platforms.
WEATHER FORECAST: REGATTAS STARTS AT 12.00 PM CET
Tomorrow, Tuesday, October 11th, in Cagliari expected an air temperature of 22°C, whilst the winds will rise in intensity at 12.00 pm CET, the scheduled start time for the regattas.
The Formula Kite World Championships (Olympic Class) started in Cagliari on Saturday, October 8th with the registrations of the 150 participants, opening the 2002 king event whose regattas will kick-off on Tuesday, October 11th to end with the finals scheduled on October 16th. Italian Riccardo Pianosi, 17, European Championships bronze medallist a few days ago, one of the most awaited competitors at the Sardinia Grand Slam, doesn’t hide his ambitions: “The favorite for the Worlds is Maeder but I won’t settle for a podium spot: I aim to fight for the most important medal”.
Seventeen years, a natural talent and a veteran awareness, Pianosi is not only aspiring to add more bronze medals to his precious collection built up at the 2021 World Championships, 2022 Kite Worlds Youth and European Championships. “I have high expectations because I come for a good performance at the European Championships, where I stood up to the strongest rivals, with the possibility of preceding them. I hope to do better than the third place I held at the European Championship and at the 2021 World Championship. Of course, sailing with the goal to improve the bronze of last year’s edition could make me a little anxious, but I’m confident of performing a good race” Pianosi says.
Number 1 in the Men’s World Sailing Ranking, Pianosi arrived in Cagliari several days ago, together with a very rich patrol of athletes come, day after day, to a total number of 150 participants (92 men, 58 women) from 44 countries of 6 Continents. “Italians like me will play at home, we trained a lot and we know the location. I like the Gulf of Angels a lot, I’m actually trying some boards to choose the best but for sure I have good feelings with this place”, Pianosi words.
Riccardo has no doubts about who the main rivals will be: “There is more than one rider who can aim for gold, above all Max Maeder, actually the fastest of us and the man to beat. Also, the French guys have good chances, as well as Taradin and Boschetti: Sardinia Grand Slam will be a great show”. In view of an event where the details can make the difference, Pianosi entrusts a wish to the sea breeze: “I’m the lightest man in the top ten, so I prefer to compete in light wind conditions, which allow me to express myself at my best”.
The Sardinia Grand Slam is the traditional sailing event organized in Cagliari by GLEsport, with the financial support of the Tourism Department of the Autonomous Region of Sardinia and the Municipality of Cagliari, under the aegis of World Sailing (the International Sailing Federation) and IKA (the International Kiteboarding Federation), as well as FIV – Italian Sailing Federation and CKWI, Italy’s Kiteboarding and Wingsport Class, and with the collaboration of the Chia Wind Club.
The Formula Kite World Championships will have its first official moment with the press conference scheduled on Monday, October 10th at 11.00 am at the Sardinia Grand Slam Village, at the sixth stop of Poetto beach (entrance from Il Nilo kiosk). The regattas schedule will start on Tuesday, October 11th at 10.00.