The International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) hosted the TwinTip:Racing (TT:R) World Championships, which was staged on the ideal natural arena off Pingtan Island’s beach in conditions that were light, but still amazing for kiteracing. The East China Sea served up flat water and a steady breeze of 11kts to 13kts in the large sheltered bay to kick off the action in the sixth successive edition of the China International Kiteboarding Festival. The festival highlights the beaches of Pingtan as international kiting spot and welcomed a total of 112 riders from 28 nations and regions who competed in the IKA KiteFoil GoldCup and the TT:R World Championships.
In the Men’s Open division it was Croatian FLYSURFER Kiteboarding rider Martin Dolenc, 17 years old, who put himself in the driving seat with a series of controlled performances that saw him top the leaderboard after the first elimination round with his SONIC RACE kites. Martin just became the IKA TwinTip:Racing European Champion, and dominated the event in Italy in July with numerous days of great competition, showing amazing pace on our SONIC RACE kites, Martin showed again that he had the nerve and timing to position himself for the all-important start in the eight-person downwind slalom heats lasting barely four minutes.
The twin-tip format of five short downwind slalom legs, with obstacles to be jumped over, was devised for ease of access for all kiters. Kiters in the Youth divisions are only allowed to use inflatable “tube” kites. But in the 11kts to 13kts that blew up over the East China Sea just off Pingtan’s beach it was the leading men on their high-aspect closed-cell foilkites who provided the excitement in their second and third elimination final of the Men’s Open class. In clinching victory on the final day of competition in Pingtan, Florian Gruber made it a back-to-back World Title after seizing the TwinTip course racing crown in Weifang, China, a year ago. And became TwinTip:Racing World Champion in 2017!
To ensure victory in Pingtan on the 5th day of competition Florian – who began the day equal on points with three other riders – knew he could not afford any mistake with team mate and European champion Martin Dolenc breathing down his neck. “I was defending my World title and it was fun,” said a delighted Florian. “Right up until the last race I knew Martin had a chance to win too, so it was good to beat him, especially after he just won the Euros.”
A win by Martin in the final race would have given him the title. Together with Florian, Martin showed amazing pace, and ultimately took the second podium spot, with France’s Julien Kerneur just behind. “In that last race I had a good start, and on the first reach I was able to extend my lead,” said Florian. “I’m super-happy with the back-to-back world titles here in China, the SONIC RACE surely helps to keep us out in front”.
A noble mention goes out to the Master Class during the 2017 TwinTip:Racing Open World Championship, where the podium was filled completely with FLYSURFER Kiteboarding riders, with Atte Kappel from Sweden on 1st place, Andreas Gustafsson on 2nd place and Atsushi Sato from Japan on place 3. Well done guys!
Results 2017 TT:R World Championships Pingtan – MEN Open Class
1. Florian Gruber – FLYSURFER
2. Martin Dolenc – FLYSURFER
3. Julien Kerneur
7. Theo de Ramecourt – FLYSURFER
9. Atte Kappel – FLYSURFER (1st Master)
10. Andreas Gustafsson – FLYSURFER (2nd Master)
Photos: IKA – Alex Schwarz