Last week the first stop of the Kitefoil Goldcup 2016 took place in the south of Italy, to be specific on Hang Loose Beach in Gizzeria. With 62 competitors in total this was the most well attended hydrofoil kite racing event to date. Plus the event was the first stop of the 2016 World Championship tour, which crowns the best overall competitor on this Kitefoil tour World Champion through the 4 event rankings.
Further stops will be held later this year in Turkey (postponed for the moment), Korea and Qatar. The Kitefoil Goldcup is a so called “open class” which means any gear may be used by competitors, either hydrofoil, board or kites, so this class is a true development class and as such can be seen as the current Formula1 of the kite racing sport.
Since FLYSURFER Kiteboarding has a true passion for Kiteracing, our team saw this event as a great opportunity to compare our SONIC 2 prototype kites performance with the best of the best in the world, to see where we are at currently. Some other brands were also testing out race kites in and in between races, all seeking for that ultimate in performance advantage. Changes to last year were immediately apparent with most of the hydrofoil competitors now flying kitelines in between 14-19m in length, for even less drag while riding up- and downwind and getting an even directer feel from their kites. Riding angles to the wind have been further improved as well as overall speeds and VMG.
Typical Gizzeria conditions are sunny, with winds building throughout the day, from 5 to 15 knots, with a calm sea. Perfect for hydrofoiling, but not so this year! A cold front swapped around the weather system and instead heavy seas, 2m waves, heavy shore shorebreak and strong to very strong winds were seen (20-30 knots). Making equipment choices and general riding difficult for all the riders.
FLYSURFER race kite designer and competitor Benni Boelli, together with head of FLYSURFER R&D Armin Harich, were on the spot the whole week to test & trim the prototype kites. Unfortunately not all team riders were on SONIC 2 prototypes because of availability and conditions, but Benni, together with Florian Gruber did their best to have our race team perform as good as they could.
After a first day with some bad luck and tactical mistakes, our team re-grouped and made a plan for the next days. Since only the top 20 riders would get into the Gold Fleet, the main goal was to get all our top riders in that group, we succeeded and after the conditions settled a bit on the 2nd qualification day, Florian Gruber got dialed in more and more on the prototype SONIC 2 kites, eventually scoring 2 bullets in the last 2 qualifying races in front of World Champion Maxime Nocher and Olly Bridge!
On day 3 the rider groups were divided into Gold, Silver and Bronze fleets, to have more similar competition level for all the riders and to also crown the podium spots for this Kitefoil Goldcup tourstop. After another hectic day with very heavy seas and competition postponed to 15:00 o’clock on Saturday because of the heavy shore break and strong winds, only on the last day the racing conditions were a bit more ’normal’.
With Florian Gruber scoring two 2nd places and a 3rd place in the Gold fleet, with great speed and angles, he finally landed on a great 5th place overall. A super consistant Blazej Ozog, scoring top 10 race finishes in almost all his races, earned him a well deserved 9th place overall. Adrian Geislinger was not as consistant as normal, but still could take a 4th and 6th place race finish in the Gold Fleet showing competitiveness when he was on the SONIC 2 prototypes. Youngster Martin Dolenc (<18 years) and kite designer and top racer Benni Boelli in the end fought it out for place 16 and 17. Giving Martin a well deserved 3rd place in the men under 18 category.
Big compliments also go out to French Alexia Fancelli who, racing with her SONIC-FR kites, showed great speed and pace, fighting hard with Elena Kalinina until some of the last races for the final event win. Alexia her training and motivation over the winter has paid off big time. We expect more good things from her in the upcoming events!
Overall we are very happy with the performance of our SONIC 2 prototypes, final tweaking will be done in the next weeks, as well as more back to back comparisons, we hope to bring you more news on this kite in the coming months.
Kite foil Goldcup Italy 2016
Overall standings after ten “gold” fleet series races (two discards) and eight “silver” races (one discard).
1 Axel Mazella
2 Maxime Nocher
3 Oliver Bridge
5 Florian Gruber (GER, Flysurfer/Levitaz)
8 Theo de Ramecourt (FRA, Flysurfer/Fone/Taaroa)
9 Blazej Ozog (POL, Flysurfer/Moses)
13 Adrian Geislinger (AUT, Flysurfer/Levitaz)
16 Martin Dolenc (CRO, Flysurfer/Levitaz)
17 Benni Boelli (GER, Flysurfer/Levitaz)
1 Guy Bridge
2 Toni Vodisek
3 Martin Dolenc (CRO, Flysurfer/Levitaz)
1 Elena Kalinina
2 Alexia Fancelli (FRA, Flysurfer/Airush/Taaroa)
3 Jade O’Connor
Kitefoil Goldcup 2016 Daily highlight videos: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNAFyjJcjSsas1OHL6hyM8w
All photos by Icarus Sailing Media & Alexandru Baranescu