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Sunday, 16 July 2017 21:50

A clutch of new young stars, most of them kiteboard racing novices, were crowned at the finale of the first TwinTip: Racing Europeans in southern Italy after almost a week of high-intensity action in the new discipline.

But the competition that was marked by thrilling drama in near-perfect conditions ended with a whimper when the clockwork-like wind went missing on the final fifth day of the 2017 International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) TT:R European Championship.

Until the last minute race officials tried to squeeze in a few more heats, but the little breeze that came remained stubbornly unstable and largely below the 10kts judged necessary for fair and exciting competition in the downwind slalom format that will be used in the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Argentina next year.

Still, the riders who had topped the standings at the end of day four were delighted with the outcome and believed they had done more than enough to earn their crowns over the remarkable 175 short-sharp races that were run in the Open, Boys and Girls divisions.

Croatia’s Martin Dolenc, 17, took the Open title with unmatched pace and precision that left his veteran racing rivals awed and even himself a little surprised. The teenager dominated the Open class, sitting top of the leaderboard right from the opening exchanges.

“I’m so, so happy,” said Dolenc. “This is my first European senior title, so it’s really great to get it. To be honest I’m really surprised. I just didn’t expect to be this fast. I wasn’t really training for this before coming here, just a couple of sessions.”

Yet in the Boys and Girls under-19 divisions made up of those who will be eligible for the YOG in Buenos Aires it was a very different story with the lead changing hands as the young riders who had little experience of TwinTip racing got to grips with the format.

France’s Victor Bachichet, 17, grew faster and more consistent as he gained in experience and took the Boys’ title with a sparkling photo-finish win in his final elimination round on the competition’s penultimate day.

In the process he just squeezed out the US’s Cameron Maramenides, 15, who took the second podium spot. The Frenchman praised his younger rival as a model of pacy consistency who had pushed him all the way.

“I’m really super-happy to win this first event,” said Bachichet. “It was so cool. We’ve had good boys, good girls, and good pizza. Before I came I didn’t expect to win. I hoped to be in the top ten, but not first. It’s great experience to come here and test your level. Now I’ll definitely train for the YOG qualifiers.”

The Girls’ under-19 European crown went to Spain’s Nina Font Castells, 15, who claimed the top spot on the leaderboard on day four after the US’s Daniela Moroz, the Formula Kite Foil world champion, had several poor races that put her down the order.

Moroz, 16, had dominated the first three days of the Girls’ competition and looked odds on to take the title even after the introduction of jumping obstacles on the course that caused her to have to rethink her game.

Castells, by contrast, is a freestyler with little race experience, so at least the jumps were not an alien concept. As she waded ashore on Gizzeria’s Hang Loose Beach after an abortive attempt to get some Girls’ racing away on the final day, the teenager was still having difficulty processing her victory.

“It feels good,” she said. “But I need to relax and take it all in. I’m so stoked, but it’ll take time for me to really realise what has happened. It would be wonderful to go the Olympics and represent my country. But I’m not going to think about that. I’ll just keep doing my ‘job” and take it one step at a time.”

The prospect of a place at the YOG had prompted 68 boys and 28 girls—out of a total of 112 riders from 21 nations—to make the journey to Italy to practice new TwinTip racing format ahead of upcoming continental Olympic qualifiers.

The races of downwind slalom courses of five legs, with jumps depending on the conditions, were designed to make it as accessible as possible to young kiters. The eight-person heats last about three minutes and start relentlessly like clockwork every five minutes.

But the concept of refereeing infringements—rather than the more traditional system of post-race protests adjudicated by a jury—caused some controversy as the inexperienced racers believed they should have recourse to appeal decisions.

IKA race officials recognised that it had taken riders time to get used to the unfamiliar system and accepted that there are some areas that could be improved, particular that penalties should better fit the infringements.

“Looking back over the whole week, where we ended up, it was really good,” said Markus Schwendtner, IKA technical director. “In the beginning it was difficult - the refereeing concept is a total game changer in sailing terms, so it was a very steep learning curve for everybody. Refereeing is a bit of revolution, but it’s the only way to deal with the large number of continuous races (175)  in which the referees made more than 300 calls.”

FINAL STANDINGS

Girls’ (U19) IKA Europeans top five after 5 elimination rounds (1 discard)

1 Nina Font Castells (ESP) - 10pts
2 Daniela Moroz (USA) - 15pts
3 Alina Kornelli (GER) - 15pts
4 Isotta di Domenico (ITA) - 18pts
5 Jingle Chen (CHN) - 25pts

Boys’ (U19) IKA Europeans top five after 5 elimination rounds (1 discard)

1 Victor Bachichet (FRA) - 13pts
2 Cameron Maramenides (USA) - 15pts
3 Toni Vodisek (SLO) - 16pts
4 Anthony Picard (FRA) - 18pts
5 Benoit Gomez (FRA) - 21pts

Open IKA Europeans top five after 10 elimination rounds (2 discards)

1 Martin Dolenc (CRO) - 13pts
2 Olly Bridge (GBR) - 19pts
3 Florian Gruber (GER) - 27pts
4 Axel Mazella (FRA) - 37pts
5Theo de Ramecourt (FRA) - 37pts

All heat results and overall rankings are available through the LIVE scoring at
http://www.twintipracing.com

Saturday, 15 July 2017 22:21

Lighter breezes that nevertheless fuelled scintillating downwind slalom racing in the kiteboard TwinTip class saw some of the leaders who had dominated their divisions over the opening days come unstuck and slip down the order.

In particular the US’s Daniela Moroz, the 16-year-old Formula Kite Foil world champion, ceded the overall lead after several poor heats put her down the order and threatened to derail her bid for the crown in the girls’ division of the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) TT:R Kitesurf Europeans in southern Italy.

On the fourth of the five-day competition being hosted on the flat waters off Gizzeria’s Hang Loose Beach in Calabria, the French rider Victor Bachichet, 17, took an opportunity to seize the lead in the boys’ division with an especially gutsy performance in his last elimination final of the day.

But in the Open division, Croatian rider Martin Dolenc, also 17, remained unflappable and blisteringly quick even as his closest rivals found better pace and consistency, chipping away at his overall lead.

The penultimate day of the contest that is employing the format to be used at the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Argentina next year was marked by breezes that took time to build and rarely struggled above 12kts.

Yet the 112 riders from 21 nations—including 68 boys and 28 girls who will be eligible for the Games in Buenos Aires—were easily able to post searingly-fast times on the track of five downwind legs, completing each of the dozens of eight-person heats in a little over three minutes.

The slightly softer airs forced race officials to leave out the jumping obstacles that had added to the already spectacular format. But the scorching mark roundings, with riders barely metres apart, led to a clutch of tangles as the pressure mounted on competitors unprepared to give any quarter with a European crown in their sights.

Yet in the girls’ division China’s Jingle Chen nosed her way into the top five of the girls’ standings after a carefully-calculated performance that secured wins in both her day’s elimination rounds, laying to rest her forgettable foray of opening rounds when she crashed or tangled pushing too hard at the wrong times.

“In the first three days I just crashed too many times,” said the 16-year-old who has her sights firmly on the prize of YOG qualification. “I’ve learned that I don’t need to push it to the limit in early rounds and risk not qualifying for the crucial elimination finals.”

Twice on day four Daniela Moroz failed to reach the elimination round finals, ensuring she was knocked off her perch at the top of the leaderboard. Rival, 15-year-old Nina Font Castells (ESP) took that honour even though she, too, had a mixed day at the races.

But Bachichet, one of the riders sporting snowboard-type goggles against the ferocious amount of spray thrown up by other competitors, held his nerve too, to go top of the boys’ standings in a nerve-jangling elimination final.

The French teenager, who took up TwinTip racing just three months ago with YOG qualification his goal, had led the final until the first mark when Toni Vodisek (SLO) squeezed past on the inside in audacious move.

Both tussled all the way down the course’s next four legs until Bachichet finally overhauled his 16-year-old rival in photo-finish after a drag race to the line. It earned Bachichet the boys’ top spot overall, just ahead of Cameron Maramenides (USA) and Vodisek.

Britain’s Olly Bridge also narrowed the gap to Dolenc in the Open division, but with the Croatian commanding the top of the leaderboard since the opening round, he appear to be in pole heading into what will surely be a gripping finale.

OVERALL STANDINGS

Girls’ IKA Europeans top five after 5 elimination rounds (1 discard)

1 Nina Font Castells (ESP) - 10pts
2 Daniela Moroz (USA) - 15pts
3 Alina Kornelli (GER) - 15pts
4 Isotta di Domenico (ITA) - 18pts
5 Jingle Chen (CHN) - 25pts

Boys’ IKA Europeans top five after 5 elimination rounds (1 discard)

1 Victor Bachichet (FRA) - 13pts
2 Cameron Maramenides (USA) - 15pts
3 Toni Vodisek (SLO) - 16pts
4 Anthony Picard (FRA) - 18pts
5 Benoit Gomez (FRA) - 21pts

Open IKA Europeans top five after 10 elimination rounds (two discards)

1 Martin Dolenc (CRO) - 13pts
2 Olly Bridge (GBR) - 19pts
3 Florian Gruber (GER) - 27pts
4 Axel Mazella (FRA) - 37pts
5Theo de Ramecourt (FRA) - 37pts

All heat results and overall rankings are available through the LIVE scoring at
ttp://www.twintipracing.com

Saturday, 15 July 2017 00:07

Young kite racers and their parent-coaches appear to be struggling to get to grips with a new “referee” concept devised to cope with a huge number of short, sharp high-octane heats and the relentless pace of the TwinTip racing format.

Organisers at the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) TT:R European Championships in southern Italy have been deluged by some of the 112 riders from 21 countries demanding explanations for judging decisions on penalties for tangles or touches on obstacles to be jumped.

Novice racers, or perhaps those more accustomed a traditional sailing process that allows them to register a written protest and present their case for redress for perceived infringements to the jury, have been non-plussed by referees’ decisions that seem to allow little room for appeal.

But with the format to be used for the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Argentina next year that saw organisers stage 53 high-intensity downwind slalom heats on day three, each lasting a little over three minutes and starting like clockwork every 5 minutes, a similarly quick decision process had to be found.

International judges at the five-day event enthralling spectators on Gizzeria’s Hang Loose Beach with high-speed action and gripping mark roundings accept the “referee” concept can be fine-tuned and are open to discussion to find improvements.

But they maintain they are doing the best for the interests of all competitors and have had to make an incredible 187 referee calls in just three days of competition, a level that would be unsustainable under the traditional jury system.

Croatia’s Martin Dolenc had little need of the referees’ decisions. The spell-bindingly quick 17-year-old held his lead at the top of the leaderboard for the third successive after a precise display that left his rivals in awe.

His uncanny ability to position himself to cross the start line first with split-second timing allowed him to control many of his races. After seven elimination rounds Dolenc had a healthy lead over Britain’s Olly Bridge, who clawed his way back into contention when he was able to discard two poor scores.

Bridge climbed the ladder at the expense of Germany’s Florian Gruber in third and France’s  Axel Mazella in fourth. Just a few points separate them, marking the ferocity of the battles on the flat waters in breezes that hit 17kts and proved ideal for the slalom format.

“Martin Dolenc is just very, very fast,” said Mazella. “He usually makes a good start and gets to the first mark in front of us. From there he can control the whole field. It’s nearly impossible to get past him. But he’s been incredibly consistent too.”

In the 28-strong girls’ division made up of those eligible from a place at the YOG in Buenos Aires, Formula Kite Foil world champion Daniela Moroz (USA) has been growing in consistency and finding her groove in the unfamiliar format and tops the standings.

The 16-year-old kitefoil racing prodigy is a virtual novice on a TwinTip and initially struggled to jump the obstacles without hitting them and incurring penalties. But with a little more practice she got the art dialled on day three, bringing her one step closer to her goal of winning a YOG qualifying spot.

By contrast her closest rival in second spot, Spain’s Nina Font Castells, 15, is a freestyler who has come to racing and is no stranger to jumping. Yet the TwinTip Europeans is just her second race competition, and one she is revelling in.

“The Spanish team is working to go to the Youth Olympics,” she said. “But it’s not my main goal. I’m just having fun with my friends and and enjoying the racing. It’s fun. My main aim in the race is always to try to start first and avoid tangles.”

As the competition progressed and riders gained experience, there were noticeably fewer of the tangles that had dogged the opening two days as racers misjudged mark roundings and collided with rivals.

Cameron Maramenides (USA) jumped up to lead the standings in the boys’ division after the overnight leader Toni Vodisek (SLO) had a forgettable day that did not go as he had hoped.

OVERALL STANDINGS

Girls’ IKA Europeans top five after three elimination rounds

1 Daniela Moroz (USA) - 6pts
2 Nina Font Castells (ESP) - 8pts
3 Isotta di Domenico (ITA) - 16pts
4 Alina Kornelli (GER) - 21pts
5 Chiara Adobati (ITA) - 24pts

Boys’ IKA Europeans top five after three elimination rounds

1 Cameron Maramenides (USA) - 11pts
2 Anthony Picard (FRA) - 12pts
3 Victor Bachichet (FRA) - 12pts
4 Lorenzo Morelli (ITA) - 16pts
5 Toni Vodisek (SLO) - 16pts

Open IKA Europeans top five after seven elimination rounds (two discards)

1 Martin Dolenc (CRO) - 6pts
2 Olly Bridge (GBR) - 13pts
3 Florian Gruber (GER) - 15pts
4 Axel Mazella (FRA) - 16pts
5Atte Kappel (SWE) - 17pts

All heat results and overall rankings are available through the LIVE scoring at
ttp://www.twintipracing.com

Thursday, 13 July 2017 22:56

Croatian teenager Martin Dolenc cemented his position at the top of the leader board at the kite racing TwinTip European Championships in southern Italy with another strong performance.

But Dolenc, 17, leading the Open division after a long day on the blue Mediterranean waters in perfect breezes that climbed to around 17kts, found himself pushed ever harder as rivals dialled-in their skills in the new format.

When the thermal breeze kicked in early afternoon on day two of the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) TT:R European Championships, it fuelled intense close-fought racing over a remarkable 49 short, sharp heats lasting just three minutes each.

The format of downwind slalom racing being pioneered in preparation for the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina next year fostered a thrilling spectacle and more than a fare share of tangles as riders misjudged their close-quarters mark roundings and collided with other competitors.

The introduction of obstacles—sausage-shaped buoys to be jumped—on the last two legs of the course later in the proceedings, further added to the drama, and tested riders more used to simply racing as fast as possible on the water’s surface.

Racers, including 68 boys and 28 girls eligible to compete in Buenos Aires, have shown their enthusiasm for the adrenalin-fuelled TwinTip racing by flocking to Gizzeria’s Hang Loose Beach for the five days of competition.

In all 112 racers from 21 countries—studded with a clutch of world champions and former world champions—have come to the classic Hang Loose Beach venue that is hosting a major kiting event for the sixth year in succession.

Slovenian Toni Vodisek wrested control of the boys’ division with a solid third spot after a second elimination round. That built on his overnight second position and gave him the overall lead, leapfrogging 16-year-old Tom Bridge (GBR), a former freestyle junior world champion.

But it was another junior freestyle champion, the Dominican Republic’s Deury Corniel, 17, who seized the win in day two’s elimination final, demonstrating his pace and power and going some way to right the wrongs of a disastrous opening day that put him well down the order.

“The first day was a bad one in my life,” he said. “But today was amazing. This racing is really tough. You feel like your feet are breaking, but you’re prepared to do things just because you want to win. You’re mind decides what you need to do to win.”

In the girls’ division Formula Kite Foil world champion Daniela Moroz (USA) found herself back in her customary top spot overall, but unusually she was again eased out of first place on the day by racing novice, Germany’s Alina Kornelli, who edged the day’s elimination round final in a photo-finish.

“We’re team Germany and we were chosen because we were born in 2000 or later and would qualify for the Youth Olympics,” said Kornelli, 17. “I’d never raced before and I came to see if I liked it. It’s really fun. It’s cool. And of course it’s my ambition to be in the Olympics.”

Dolenc may also choose to make a bid for Argentina. His pace has served him well keeping at bay Florian Gruber (GER), who sits second overall, and veteran TwinTip racer Atte Kappel (SWE) in third spot, who believed he was still feeling his way in the ultra-short format.

“In these races the start is so important,” he said. “That’s why we’re seeing quite a few OCS penalties for riders crossing the start line early. If you’re two seconds behind at the start you just can’t make it up, as you might in longer course racing”

OVERALL STANDINGS AFTER 2 ELIMINATION (BOYS AND GIRLS) / 4 ELIMINATIONS (ADULT OPEN)

Boys (U19)
1. Toni Vodisek (SLO) - 5 points
2. Tom Bridge (GBR) - 10 point
3. Anthony Picard (FRA) - 10 points
4 .Lorenzo Morelli  (ITA) - 11 points
5. Cameron Maramenides (USA) - 14 points

Girls (U19)
1. Daniela Moroz (USA) - 5 points
2. Nina Font Castells (ESP) - 5 points
3. Claudia Leon Martinez (ESP) - 12 points
4. Isotta Di Domenico (ITA) - 14 points
5. Chiara Adobati (ITA) - 15 points

Open
1. Martin Dolenc (CRO) - 3 points
2. Florian Gruber (GER) - 8 points
3 .Atte Kappel (SWE) - 10 points
4. Axel Mazella (FRA) - 11 points
5. Theo De Ramecourt (FRA) - 14 points

All heat results and overall rankings are available through the LIVE scoring at
ttp://www.twintipracing.com

Wednesday, 12 July 2017 22:44

The opening exchanges of the fast-paced kiteboarding twin-tip European championships in southern Italy delivered the expected high-drama that left some of the title favourites licking their wounds as they grappled with the new format and unfamiliar equipment.

One of the biggest surprises came when the US’s Daniela Moroz, the 16-year-old Formula KiteFoil world champion, fell rounding the final mark as she was well clear and cruising to certain victory in the girls’ final.

The crucial mistake after she had easily won her earlier two races in the tricky, shifting thermal breeze that eventually built to 14kts, put her down to third place overall. But with four days of the five-day International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) TT:R Kitesurf European Championships to come, the teenager knows she can rectify her error.

“I just totally messed up my gybe at that last mark,” said Moroz, ruefully. “I had to body-drag for quite a long time to get my board. But at least I was able to get places back on the reach to the finish line and got third in the end.”

The twin-tip slalom format, the same as that to be used at the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina next year, has prompted a huge field of 112 riders from 21 countries to converge on Hang Loose Beach, Gizzeria, to hone their skills in preparing for qualification events that could secure a place in Buenos Aires.

Fast and furious downwind races over five reaches that are wrapped up in barely three minutes require no specialist equipment beyond a twin-tip board and kites, make the competition easily accessible to the average kiteboarder.

But the added excitement of close fought contests with heart-stopping mark roundings and finishes close the shore, make the drama on the perfect, flat Mediterranean waters bathed by reliable thermal breezes compelling viewing.

Croatian Martin Dolenc, 17, competing in the mixed Open division in the fickle breezes that saw the wind back and veer, forcing race officials to take several breaks to reset the course, suffered none of the misfortunes that dogged some of his rivals.

The teenager took two bullets in the two Open finals of the day, leaving him top of the leaderboard in the division courtesy of several good starts and his scorching pace on the short legs that left others in his wake.

“I know I have really, really good speed and I made solid starts that are so important,” he said. “I was on my 18m Flysurfer [kite] which is really good and makes me quick, I think. my gybes around the mark are quite bad, so I really need to work on those.”

With many races still to go and forecast strengthening breezes for the coming days, Germany’s Florian Gruber lies second in the Open division with a third in the first final. But in the second final a spectacular tangle on a blistering reach to the last mark that led to disqualification for France’s Axel Mazella and ended the German’s race, could have cost him dearly.

In the end the jury gave Gruber redress that left him with a nominal third place finish, putting him just ahead overall of racing novice Kirstyn Obrien (USA) who scooped a third and a seventh spot in the two finals.

The boys’ division is led by Britain’s Tom Bridge, the 16-year-old former junior world freestyle champion, who just pipped Slovenian Toni Vodisek and France’s Victor Bachichet, who lie second and third overall respectively.

OVERALL STANDINGS AFTER 1 ELIMINATION (BOYS AND GIRLS) / 2 ELIMINATIONS (ADULT OPEN)

Boys (U19)
1. Tom Bridge (GBR) - 1 point
2. Toni Vodisek (SLO) - 2 points
3. Victor Bachichet (FRA) - 3 points
4. Anthony Picard (FRA) - 4 points
5. Tiger Tyson (ANT) - 5 points

Girls (U19)
1. Poema Newland (FRA) - 1 point
2. Nina Font Castells (ESP) - 2 points
3. Daniela Moroz (USA) - 3 points
4. Claudia Leon Martinez (ESP) - 4 points
5. Chiara Adobati (ITA) - 5 points

Open
1. Martin Dolenc (CRO) - 2 points
2. Florian Gruber (GER) - 6 points
3. Kirstyn O'Brien (USA) - 10 points
4. Theo de Ramecourt (FRA) - 12 points
5. Stephane Ribert (FRA) - 13 points

All heat results and overall rankings are available through the LIVE scoring athttp://www.twintipracing.com

 

Sunday, 28 May 2017 06:19

Kiteboarding will be showcased for the first time on the Olympic stage with a new and exciting discipline: Slalom / Boardercross.

The format is following the ideas of the highly successful Winter Olympic Games disciplines of ski and snowboard boardercross, where riders follow a set track with Obstacles they need to jump over. The whole competition is held in multiple elimination series, where only the best riders advance from round to round until the final.

The IKA and the World Sailing Youth Olympic Games working party have been working on the final details of the format since the confirmation of the discipline in 2016 to provide riders, coaches, national associations and event organisers will all necessary information.

The IKA TwinTip:Racing website (www.twintipracing.com) has been updated with all information, including

More content and the final qualification event dates will be added as soon as tbey become available.

The final rulebook, including on-water refereeing, will be published shortly, and well before the next major event, the 2017 TT:R Slalom European Championships in Gizzeria, Italy.

The event is open to competitors from all over the world. Riders will compete in separate age disciplines (open men, open women, Boys U19, Girls U19).

Registration, Notice of Race and travel information can be found here:
http://internationalkiteboarding.org/events/upcoming-events/ttr/79-2017-european-tt-r-championships

To allow riders ideal preparation for the event, a coaching clinic will be held by multiple Kiteracing World Champion Steph Bridge at the same venue from 8 to 11 July 2017.

Interested riders and national teams please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

Monday, 20 March 2017 17:08

The 2017 TwinTip:Racing Asian Championships came to an end yesterday, with plenty of racing action in all divisions.

Run for the first time completely in the event format which will also be used in the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Argentina when kiteboarding will make its Olympic debut, the youth riders showed that they can beat most of the open men and women competitors.

The slalom/boardercross format requires equipment control and technical skills more than anything else to achieve top speeds and controlled jumps over the floating obstacles. This puts equipment choice into the background, making this event especially affordable for the emerging and developing nations,letting riders chose series production equipment "off the shelf" from a wide range of manufacturers.

After 5 days of intense racing, the leaders went into the final day with only marginal leads, any mistake could change the podium positions especially in the hard fought boys division where Philippines Christian Tio had a triple handicap by competing in the boys, open mens, and freestyle divisions of the event. The 15 year old surely had the most kilometers in his legs at the end of the week !

With winds blowing in our favour from mid-morning onwards, the final day of competition kicked off with energy and high expectations in equal parts. The racers were split into different fleets than the previous few days, going from fleets of 8 to fleets of 15 on average. It made for an interesting turn of racing stats, as suddenly different names from the top contenders were pitted against each other for the first time this week.

Although we have come quite accustomed to seeing the likes of Yo and Atte chasing each other up and down the race course, it’s been seldom we’ve seen Atte Kappel and Christian Tio battling it out at the front of the pack.

Similarly we saw fellow Thai, Praphan Thongnak up at the front of the fleet giving Asian Champion Yo Narapichit Pudla a run for his money on a number of occasions. Even in the final day of competition nobody’s fate was certain.

Nobody’s fate, that is, except for 16 year old Jingle Chen from China, who didn’t falter from her top position in a single heat this week. When she casually hopped off her board at the shore break after effortlessly leaving the rest of the women’s fleet trailing behind her, she smiled with ease and explained that in fact, it wasn’t as easy as it looked- foiling has been her main focus over the past few months and to ride a twin tip again feels very challenging- especially given the level of her competitors. Well, Jingle, your modesty matches your skills.

Once all the races came to a close, 30 or so kiters took to the water for the long awaited end of week expression session. A huge crowd drew around the edge of the bleachers and spilled out onto the sand, every set of eyes captivated by the pack of riders jumping, spinning, and pulling out every trick you can imagine- however unpolished it might have been it was a genuine show of expression, that’s for sure.

While kiteboarding moves gradually further and further down the Olympic path, we often find parallels drawn between our sports. For most of the parts kiteboard racing is closely aligned with the world of sailing, but here is where the difference lies- in the core of the sport, in the spirit of the riders in the last hours of a week-long competition, in the expression session, where everyone is coming together to share the water, the wind, the sun in a friendship way, put all competition aside.

With the expression complete the riders finally made their way from the beach to prepare themselves for the awards ceremony and final closing party. Again sponsored and prepared by our very hands on title sponsors Moose Cider. It’s been great working with these guys and to see new support from them coming into our sport.

It was a tired, but happy crew of riders, officials and event team that gathered for the awards at the atmospheric site of Wilburland for the final bash. The awards were led by TV presenter Grace Austin and MC Reo Mendoza who brought the summary of the week together and presented the winners to the assembled crowds of supporters.

IKA Technical Director Markus Schwendter then closed the formal proceedings with the motivating speech that confirmed that everyone had played their part in consolidating the Youth Olympic race format choice was a good one.

The week had played out perfectly on that score, some lessons learned and adjustments made for sure, but in the end we have our first Kite Olympic race been an overwhelming success, so it’s ‘onwards and upwards from here on in until 2018 with the next two major competitions in Italy (European Championships) and Korea (World Championships) giving the riders another important testing ground on their way to the Qualifier Events beginning of 2018.

The complete format, scoring, qualification criteria for the 2017 World Championships and the 2018 Youth Olympic Qualifier events will be published in the next days on the Class website.

Overall Standings:

Men (after Qualifying round and 6 eliminations):
1. Narapichit Pudla (THA, Ozone) - 7 pts
2. Atte Kappel (SWE, Flysurfer) - 9 pts
3. Christian Tio / U18 (PHI, North) - 9 pts

Women (after Qualfying round and 10 eliminations):
1. Jingle Chen / U18 (CHN, Ozone) - 8 pts
2. Aya Oshima (JPN, North) - 16 pts
3. Kathrin Borgwardt (GER, Cabrinha) - 23 pts

Boys (after Qualifying round and 10 eliminations)
1. Christian Tio (PHI, North) - 11 pts
2. Sarun Rupchom (THA, Ozone) - 12 pts
3. Sirawit Prangsri (THA, Flysurfer) - 27 pts

Girls (after Qualifying round and 10 eliminations)
1. Jingle Chen (CHN) - 8 pts
2. Ninachan Rodthong (THA) - 16 pts

For full results in all divisions please visitwww.twintipracing.com/results

Pictures can be downloaded from:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/fc3m74548x6hbwy/AADHtEWxTeF36tuCLxHoGg3oa?dl=0

For daily highlight videos, please seehttps://www.youtube.com/user/IKAClass/videos 

Friday, 17 March 2017 02:31

Winds began early this morning in Pranburi, and the crew made short time of pumping kites and getting the first rounds of racing underway, fearing that a strange forecasted weather front would move in early in the afternoon and kill the wind.

Riders took to the water to continue what was started in yesterday’s downwind slalom course, but today’s racing brought a new challenge: the introduction of Boardercross. 2 sets of Boardercross jumps were laid out within the slalom course, where riders were required to make successful jumps over the obstacles or face disqualification from the race. It certainly made for quite the show beachside, with plenty of thrills and spills, and a couple more tangles.

The battle for first place was hotly contested, with Yo Narapichit Pudla (Thailand) predictably at the front of the pack in a number of heats. Christian Tio (Philippines), sponsored rider of North and Red Bull proved himself as quite the racer, a nice addition to his already hefty collection of freestyle accolades.

For the women the battles continued afresh as we left them yesterday, with Jingle Chen (China) and long-time women’s Asian race champion Kathrin Borgwardt (Germany) taking the jumping addition in their stride. It was clear though that with the addition of jumps, there was much higher potential of position changes as the race unfolds. This is not just with the potential of not clearing the obstacle clearly as you might imagine, but also with the tactics needed to make the right approach and exit from the jump in the first place.

‘With just the plain slalom course yesterday the winner of each race was the person who made the first mark first’ Borgwardt mention, ‘but with the jumps you could easily lose speed if you got in wrong and be overtaken’

In our youth fleet the upfront action was all taking place between the Philippines, Thailand and Japan, as Christian Tio, Sarun Rupchom and Hiro Karamon also took eagerly to the Boardercross component. All though are equally at home in freestyle, so its perhaps not surprising that they felt at home and with this group in particular it was certainly showing the validity of the format for YOG.

Early in the afternoon racing turned over to Freestyle X, although for a short time the judges were questioning whether it should go ahead due to the questionable wind conditions. Thankfully the winds blew right back onto the beach just in time for us to begin what was to become a full afternoon of freestyle heaven.
Freestyle X is a competition format originally coined by the KTA. The rules are you will be marked 50% on new school tricks and 50% old school- the idea is that the best overall rider will win, not just the wake style expert or big air junky. From what we saw today, the format definitely pushed a lot of riders out of their comfort zones.

Three different divisions competed today- men’s, women’s and youth. The men’s were conducted in a very traditional timed heat format, 10 minutes per heat for 8 trick attempts, with 2 riders on the water at a time. Riders are marked on their best 4 tricks- 2 old school, 2 new school.

The women’s division was predictably small compared with the men’s, so instead of a timed heat with 2 riders each, the 4 competing girls were out on the water together with an unlimited time to complete their allocated 8 attempts each. As the wind continued to blow throughout the afternoon we were graced with conditions to compete through to the finals. In the end it was Aya Oshima of Japan who walked away with this year’s freestyle title, with Kathrin Borgwardt of Germany in second place, Young Eun Lee of Korea in third, and Fon Benyapa Jantawan in fourth.

The men’s division split at the semi-finals, with an A and B level of final heats. In the B level it was Eric Rienstra (USA), who nabbed the first spot over local Thai rider Praphan Thongnak, securing himself a spot on the podium. Eric is a regular on the Kite Park League tour, so has an impressive repertoire of tricks up his sleeve. In the A final, to nobody’s surprise, was Yo Narapichit Pudla and Christian Tio. Taking on 5 times Asian Champion is certainly not an easy task, but one that 15 year old Christian took into his stride nevertheless. Both riders fought hard, clearly pushing their abilities to the absolute limit. Yo, riding on a race kite, seemed to have the upper hand slightly in keeping upwind in relation to the competition box, whereas Christian on his North Vegas quickly lost distance, costing him valuable trick pulling time. The word from the judge’s tower is that in terms of their new school performances it was a tie, but when it came to their old school, well there’s just no beating the master Yo it seems, as he stole the show and nabbed his number one spot on the podium.

Overall Standings:

Men (after Qualifying round and 2 eliminations):
1. Narapichit Pudla (THA) - 5 pts
2. Atte Kappel (SWE) - 10 pts
3. Praphan Thongnak - 13 pts

Women (after Qualfying round and 4 eliminations):
1. Jingle Chen (CHN) - 4 pts
2. Kathrin Borgwardt (GER) - 9 pts
3. Aya Oshima (JPN) - 9 pts

Boys (after Qualifying round and 4 eliminations)
1. Chriistian Tio (PHI) - 5 pts
2. Sarun Rupchom (THA) - 8 pts
3. Hiro Karamon (JPN) - 14 pts

Girls (after Qualifying round and 4 eliminations)
1. Jingle Chen (CHN) - 4 pts
2. Ninachan Rodthong (THA) - 8 pts

For full details please visitwww.twintipracing.com/results

Thursday, 16 March 2017 04:16

Today marked the first day we have seen the future Youth Olympic course in action, and it was indeed a sight to see. The downwind slalom course was raced in 8 man fleets, with rider’s zig zagging back and forth from the beach right in front of a crowd of impressed onlookers.

Sailing races of any kind, and that includes kiteboarding in this case, can at times be rather detached from the spectators on the beach- by nature many courses will be set far out to sea, or designed in such a way that the fleet often splits direction right at the start of the race making it near impossible to tell who is where if you should take your eyes off the race for more than a second.

However, a downwind slalom course like that of today brings the action right to the shore break, meaning spectators get treated to an up close look at riders taking hard corners, fighting for position, and sometimes getting into some gnarly tangles!

Indeed such a course is a smart choice for the IKA TTR format at the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina in 2018, where kiteboarding will makes its Olympic debut.

Back to today however, in the men’s fleet, Sweden’s Atte Kappel was unable to hang onto his race dominance from the qualifying series, as Asian Champion Yo Narapichit Pudla (Thailand) took control. Closely on his heels however was the young Filipino Christian Tio, who looks set to chase Yo down for the rest of the week. There will be some interesting battles ahead for certain.

On the women’s side of things China’s Jingle Chen pushed ahead of Germany’s Kathrin Borgwardt, in some very closely fought races. While Japan’s Aya Oshima and Thailand’s Fon Benyapa Jantawan battled it out for third and fourth positions respectively.

Bearing this in mind this event was a test for the Youth Olympics, it is important to draw attention to the rather impressive fleet of 13 youths competing today - with rider ages ranging from 12-16. All eyes are on these guys as everyone’s attention turns towards the Olympic arena for YOG in 2018.

But for now our eyes were firmly focused on the beach in Pranburi, as mid-afternoon racing came to a close and a full afternoon of KTA Freestyle X opened up, ensuring the excitement of the morning didn’t drop for a second. With a total of 15 heats completed today, the freestyle riders draw that little closer to their final podium goals.

For the women it’s a four way battle between Aya Oshima form Japan, Thailands Fon Benyapa Jantawan, Kathrin Borgwardt of Germany and Lee Young Eun from South Korea. Following a super session for the girls, it would be Oshima coming out on top, riding powerfully throughout the day, with Borgwardt this time settling for second place. 

The men were also throwing it down and the assembled spectators cheered on their favourites as a powerful display of old and new school moves were blended together by these highly skilled athletes. And while everything is still there to be played for as the men’s heats still need to be fully completed, certain riders are moving ahead of the pack. Philippines Christian Tio is again a rider to be watched as is Kite Park Leagues Eric Rienstra from the USA. Both will be progressing onto the final stages of the competition later this week, along with Sylvanine Seynaeve and Alex Cargarin.

Overall Standings:

Men (after Qualifying round and 1 elimination):
1. Narapichit Pudla (THA) - 4 pts
2. Chriistian Tio (PHI) - 4 pts
3. Atte Kappel (SWE) - 8 pts

Women (after Qualfying round and 2 eliminations):
1. Jingle Chen (CHN) - 4 pts
2. Kathrin Borgwardt (GER) - 7 pts
3. Aya Oshima (JPN) - 10 pts

Boys (after Qualifying round and 2 eliminations)
1. Chriistian Tio (PHI) - 3 pts
2. Sirawit Prangsri (THA) - 8 pts
3. Hiro Karamon (JPN) - 13 pts

Girls (after Qualifying round and 2 eliminations)
1. Jingle Chen (CHN) - 3 pts
2. Ninachan Rodthong (THA) - 6 pts

For full details please visitwww.twintipracing.com/results

Wednesday, 15 March 2017 16:29

The long awaited opener to the 2017 TwinTip:Racing season in the lead up to next years Youth Olympic Games has arrived and with it brings a combination of many firsts.

The week-long event organized by KTA (Kiteboard Tour Asia) brings together both the Asian Continental Championships and Thai National Series. The event also for the first time sees the new Youth Olympic TT:R race format which all eyes are on and promises to provide some highly entertaining racing as the week progresses.

Proceedings kicked off over the weekend with the Moose Thailand Kiteboarding Championships running ahead of the Continentals. It would turn out to be a weekend of near perfect conditions, with clear blue skies and winds of between 16-18kts and the 70 strong local fleet had plenty to smile about by the end of play on Sunday evening.

Saturday would play host to the national TT:R fleet, which would be run over the more standard windward/leeward courses. Racing began early and race after race took us through to the end of the day.
Sunday brought another day of perfect stable winds and fierce competition as the Thai Nationals freestyle heats hit the water. The early morning blessings of the full-moon Tharn Boon Tak Bart ceremony seem to have secured the conditions and a high level of riding played out on the water for the rest of the day.

Following the beach award ceremony for the Moose Thailand Kiteboarding Championships, the whole event moved off to the local Thailand Kite Cable Park for an opening evening and party hosted by Moose and Red Bull, to welcome in the international riders and mark the start of the Moose Asian TT:R Championships and KTA Freestyle X.

With the beginning of the international competition, IKA Competition Director Markus Schwendtner took everyone through the new Youth Olympic race format. It’s certainly a very different package to what the riders are used to, but all the talk amongst them is positive and excited to try out the slalom and boardercross formats. This is especially true for the13 younger riders who are registered in for the Asian Championship, as they have the potential to be at the Youth Olympics in 2018.

The first full day of competition began somewhat slowly as the crew and competitors arrived to a beautiful, but as yet wind free morning.

However, nervous reviews of the day’s weather data revealed that the situation should improve and by the early afternoon we could once again be enjoying the conditions that prevail the previous weekend for the Thai Nationals. Thankfully, the weather gods and ‘Wind Guru’ were on the ball and as A.M. shifted to P.M. the air began to move and kites were soon began to be pumped and prepared.

TwinTip:Racin would lead proceedings for the day and following the skippers meeting, the riders headed for the water in anticipation of their first experience of the new slalom format.

Time trials would be the order of the day, with the full TTR fleet (combining men, women and youth) racing to provide the initial rider seeding’s needed to create the later slalom race groups. Slalom and Boardercross are the chosen formats for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games and everyone is eagerly waiting to see this in action. For the seeding races a figure of 8 course was in place, which being laid only metres off the beach, was certainly going to be bringing front row action for everyone.

And what a spectacular sight as the 45 strong fleet blasted towards the beach from the upwind start line, rounding the first mark beachside and then settling into the figure of 8 course. Sweden’s Atte Kapple lead the way, as he would indeed do so for the second time trial also and it all seemed plain sailing as he raced towards mark 2 and the start of the figure 8.

It is quite something to be watching kite racing right at the beach line, especially as they hit the centre point of the figure 8 course and need to cross through each other almost. It was testament to the skill levels of the riders on display, as many spectators voiced their expectations of certain crashes and tangles that that did not really occur at any great level.

Certainly from the beach the enjoyment level was fantastic, as were the happy expressions of the returning riders. Without a doubt it was challenging racing and something quite different, but a few misunderstandings aside it seems the format was well received and time trialing has a place in the championship race week process.

Tomorrow then will see the start of the Youth Olympic Slalom proper, which could also include Boardercross jumps, depending of course on the conditions of the day. For the racers though, the new opening format has wet their appetite and tomorrow’s changes are being well anticipated.

From this point on the event moved across the KTA Freestyle-X, the format that combines both new school and old school tricks. Riders are required to perform both hooked and unhooked moves in their heats, with the top two moves of each style being scored by the judges to give the final outcome and winner.

In the end the freestyle rider were though, not be as lucky as the racers as the third and what turned out to be the final heat of the day was cancelled due to the dropping evening wind. Not however before KPL’s Eric Rienstra and Alex Cagarin took wins in their heats to progress through to the next round. These first two heats did however show the range and versatility that riders would be needing to demonstrate over the week to make their way to the final podium. Which means we are all in for a freestyle visual treat as the KTA Freestyle-X unfolds.

Rankings TT:R after Time Trials

Men:
1. Atte Kappel (SWE) - 2 pts
2. Chriistian Tio (PHI) - 5 pts
3. Narapichit Pudla (THA) - 5 pts

Women:
1. Kathrin Borgwardt (GER - 3 pts
2. Jingle Chen (CHN) - 3 pts
3. Nichanan Rodthong (THA) - 10 pts

Boys:
1. Chriistian Tio (PHI) - 2 pts
2. Sarun Rupchom (THA) - 4 pts
3. Sirawit Prangsri (THA) - 6 pts

Girls:
1. Jingle Chen (CHN) - 4 pts
2. Nichanan Rodthong (THA) - 4 pts

For more information, visitwww.twintipracing.comand the event facebook page at https://web.facebook.com/events/381413425556785/402785420086252

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Last Event

European Championships

Gizzeria 2017

Italy

 Event Winners Open

male Martin Dolenc Croatia
female Kirstyn O'Brien United States

 Event Winners Youth

male Victor Bachichet France
female Nina Font Castells Spain

Current World Ranking Standings

Men
 1 Atte Kappel Sweden 150.7 pts
 2 Martin Dolenc Croatia 100.0 pts
 3 Oliver Bridge United Kindom 93.3 pts
Women
 1 Kirstyn O'Brien United States 100.0 pts
 2 Jingle Chen China 80.0 pts
 3 Aya Oshima Japan 71.1 pts
Boys
 1 Victor Bachichet France 100.0 pts
 2 Cameron Maramenides United States 98.5 pts
 3 Toni Vodisek Slovenia 97.1 pts
Girls
 1 Jingle Chen China 165.7 pts
 2 Nina Font Castells Spain 100.0 pts
 3 Daniela Moroz United States 96.4 pts

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Pingtan 2017

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