• By
    Country:
    Martin Lark, in Cinematography,
    If you ever wondered how things were 20 years ago, the below video should unveil the secret of the past for you. Reo Stevens and Felix Pivec riding a 1996 Wipika classic on Oahu's North Shore - you have to see it!
     
    Watch TOP HAT , REO STEVENS AND FELIX PIVEC ride the very first original WIPKA classic from 1996 on Oahu's North Shore.
    Two lines a hand pump no depower and some waves and wind .
    How easy was it ?
    By
    Country:
    Martin Lark, in Cinematography,
    A new video 'Cape Town Confidential', by Cabrinha, was announced to come out on 1 June. As you can easily guess, it takes place in South Africa and the stars are Nick Jacobsen, James Boulding, Keahi de Aboitiz, Liam Whaley and Graham Howes.
    All indicates that it's going to be exceptional, taking that on Cabrinha's Facebook profile we can read this daring announcement - 'Get ready for the best Kitedurfing video yet'.
    Today have a look at the trailer and come back to kitezone.com for the full video on 1 June!
     
    Online June 1st 2017
    Starring: Nick Jacobsen, James Boulding, Keahi de Aboitiz, Liam Whaley and Graham Howes
    A film by Anders Krüger
    Produced by Cabrinha Kites
    By
    Country:
    Martin Lark, in Events,
    KITE-SURF WORLD CHAMPIONS TO BE FOUND!
    Thursday 18th May, 2017
    Hamburg, Germany
     
    Hello everyone and welcome to our first events newsletter of the season dedicated to the GKA Kite-Surf World Tour, that mixes wave and strapless freestyle disciplines. In this newsletter, you'll find information on the three events already locked-in for this season, with the realistic chance of one or two more to close the championships out towards the end of 2017. 
     
    WORLD CUP TARIFA 2017
    27th June – 2nd July
    WORLD CUP DAKHLA / MOROCCO 2017
    18th July – 23rd July
    WORLD CUP SOTAVENTO, FUERTEVENTURA 2017
    1st August – 05th August
     
    You'll also find access to lots of incredible images and video that we hope you'll be inspired to use across your sites and social media, to help us spread the good news of the upcoming tour!
    ...
    WORLD CUP ROUND ONE: TARIFA STRAPLESS KITESURFING PRO
    27th June - 2nd July 2017
    We kick things off as we did last year with a pure strapless freestyle event in one of kitesurfing's greatest meccas, Tarifa! The strapless freestyle discipline went off with a bang last year in front of thousands of sun kissed spectators. Thanks to having a World Championship tour to compete on and a full 12 months pure progression under their belts since we launched the tour last year - we can expect explosive performances!
     

    Airton got off to a flying start in Tarifa last year with his incredibly assured handle-pass manoeuvres. What will come this year? Can Matchu retain his overall title? Will Paulino's power be too much?!
    Photo: Toby Bromwich
     
     
    WORLD CUP ROUND TWO: DAKHLA, MOROCCO
    18th June - 23rd July
    In collaboration with our hosts Dakhla Attitude and the new Hotel Westpoint, we head back to the edge of the Western Sahara for more solid waves and a return to the scene of last year's dramatic championship climax, where Keahi de Aboitiz made it four wins from four events for him in Dakhla, and in beating Airton in the final, allowed Matchu Lopes to claim the overall tour title.
    The women competed in both Mauritius and Dakhla last year and at this event, Milla Ferreira took the win over Kirsty Jones and Carla Herrera Oria.
     

     
     
    ROUND THREE: WORLD CUP SOTAVENTO, FUERTEVENTURA, CANARY ISLANDS
    1st - 5th August 2017
    One of the most evocative events of last year took place at the Rene Egli site at Sotavento, the destination of World Cup windsurfing and kitesurfing competitions for 30 years. And boy do they know how to host it! Combine their expertise in that respect with the very strong winds and this emerging strapless freestyle discipline, and the crowds had never seen anything like it!
     

     
     
    YOUTUBE CHANNEL
    Subscribe to the Global Kitesports Association YouTube channel to see all our upcoming tour promo videos, event reports and catch up on all last year's videos, including the epic at Mauritius, here.
     

     

    Matchu, the main man in 2016, flanked by Airton Cozzolino in second and Paulino Perreira in third.
     
    FOR MORE NEWS, PLEASE FOLLOW THE GKA:
    www.facebook.com
    www.instagram.com
    For media enquiries, contact Jim Gaunt at: media@global-kitesports.org
    For general enquiries, contact Joergen Vogt at: info@global-kitesports.org
     
    By
    Country:
    Martin Lark, in Cinematography,
    In the second episode of 'On the Fly' series, titled 'Where the Wind Blows', Ruben Lenten along with his friends, Lasse Walker and Gijs Wassenaar, first break the law and are held back by the police... then they're stuck in traffic. Definitely worth watching!
    Here's the first episode.
     
    Where the wind blows. That's where we want to be! After a while of not much wind we decided to go for a sunrise session with Lasse Walker and Gijs Wassenaar. We chose to ride an illegal spot, which is strictly forbidden, so please don't try this at home and stick to the rules to protect our spots.
    Ride hard and fly high.
    len10.com
    By
    Country:
    Martin Lark, in Gear,
    It is with great pleasure an honor that we introduce you to our latest innovation,
     
    the Majestic X
     
    Since 2002 we have dedicated ourselves to create exceptional product for kiteboarding. We feel it is our task to embrace the limits set by our riders and break boundaries to create something unique and revolutionary. By using cutting edge technologies to our advantage we have been able to create the most advanced harness in kiteboarding history.
    This harness, the Majestic X, is our first hard-shell harness with an unequalled carbon construction. We have been working on this project for the past 2 years, so you can imagine our thrill to finally show it to the world. Take a look:
     
     
    The Majestic X is built around the unique Bionic Core Frame, which is a rigid support plate for your lower back. Its exclusive composite material combines a very stiff support with flexibility. This allows for more freedom in movement.
    The full carbon Bionic Core Frame is stiff in the horizontal direction but the
    BCF is still able to twist and follow your body

     

     
    Intelligent Viscoelastic Foam (IV-Foam) really sets to your body shape,
    maximizes the comfort and helps the harness stay put.

     

     
    Attach your leash on the front, makes it easier to pull the quick release
    when needed and allows you to use a short leash.

     

     
    The thermoformed EVA Foam wraps around your waist
    and increases the grip on your waist.

     

     
    The Majestic X is unique in its support and made for every type of rider who desires a top-notch harness with maximal support. To make the harness accessible for truly all riders, the harness comes in two editions. One equipped with our regular spreader bar and one with our new specialized surf spreader bar.
     



     
    The rope is meant for pure waveriding and foiling. The spreader bar with the rope allows you to ride with more freedom in order to hit the lip without the kite pulling you to one side. The unique feature about our surf spreader bar is the fact that you have more length to one side. For the true freestylers amongst us there is the regular spreader bar.
     


     
    All the above and more about the Majestic X is explained here:
    Discover the Majestic X
    Enjoy the ride!

     
    By
    Country:
    Martin Lark, in Events,
    Daecheon Beach, Boryeong, Korea
    21 May 2017
     
    Reigning KiteFoil GoldCup champion Maxime Nocher sealed victory in the year’s first event with a perfect final day, racking up four bullets from four races in light breezes that threatened to die at any moment.
    But even the fickle airs that shifted and barely topped 8kts were a welcome relief after three windless days that made for a stop-start competition, the first international kite competition in Korea, staged off Boryeong’s stunning Daecheon Beach.
    While the breezes toyed with riders and race officials alike, Nocher (MON) was flawless on the final fifth day on the Yellow Sea’s flat waters, controlling each of the races even as Italian Riccardo Leccese snapped at his heels hoping for an error or mishap that never came.
     

     
    Nocher, on his unmarked 19m Enata foil kite and Enata hydrofoil, proved unbeatable in the whole regatta marked by a lack of wind, adding the closing day’s four bullets to two he secured on the competition’s opening exchanges.
    Riding a Mike’s Lab foil and Ozone R1 prototype kite, Leccese managed a good run of second spots that earned him the podium runners-up slot. Yet in the penultimate race he came momentarily unstuck when he struggled to leave the beach in the failing breeze close to shore and failed to make the start, a result he was fortunately able to discard.
    Poland’s Maks Zakowski took the chance to grab a second spot in that race to the peerless Nocher, an opportunism that built on consistent placings throughout the event and won him the third podium spot, his best placing in an International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) KiteFoil GoldCup.
     

     
    The IKA KiteFoil GoldCup, hosted and sponsored by the Korea Windsurfing Kitesurfing Federation, is the first of four slated globe-trotting stops for 2017, with back-to-back events in China in mid-September next on the cards.
    But the wind that refused to play ball during the Korean event played havoc with the Kiteboard Tour Asia Twin-Tip slalom race open due to be staged simultaneously. It proved impossible to get away any races despite interest provoked by the format to be used in next year’s Youth Olympic Games in Argentina.
     

     
    And while the final day proved tricky at times even for the foilers, they were still able to display scintillatingly-quick pace with their largest 18m and 19m kites in patchy breezes that occasionally dipped  below 4kts.
    In those zephyrs there is little margin for rider error with every tack and gybe requiring balletic precision. Yet the foilers still clocked almost more than 20kts on the two-lap windward-leeward track off Daecheon Beach.
    None did it better than Nocher. But even he—like every other rider—caught debris and seaweed on his foil that threatened to derail his bid.
     

     
    “In the day’s second race I was leading by far, but I caught a plastic bag and just couldn’t remove it and keep moving,” he said. “Leccese passed me and I still had the bag on my fin. I did that whole leg with the plastic bag, but past the gate it came off. Then I got the lead again.
    “So, overall I’m very happy to have won this event. It’s been hard to deal with these conditions, but I’m near perfect in these light winds and Leccese could do nothing.”
    Leccese remained happy with his second podium spot, nonetheless, sure it showed he still had pace even in the lighter breezes that favoured neither his physique nor his equipment.
    “Overall I’m pleased with second spot,” he said. “It’s solid. I’m attacking the front of the field again. That puts me in a good frame of mind. I felt I was controlling the races at or near the front. Most of the others were on 19m kites, except for me on an 18m, yet I was still competitive.”
     

     
    For Zakowski, on a Moses Comet foil and Ozone R1V2 kite, the decision to swim and body-drag off the beach just as Leccese came unstuck in the penultimate race’s dropping breeze proved fortuitous.
    “I swam 200m to catch the wind to get out and it allowed me to finish that race second,” he said. “But my results have been very consistent, so I’m glad about that. Not up and down. This has been my best result, so I’m pretty happy.”
    In the women’s group racing among the men, the novice 16-year-old Anais Mai Desjardins (FRA) caused an upset when she overhauled Alexia Fancelli (FRA) with a good run of results on the final day, with Korea’s Bitna Kim taking the third podium spot.
    The next stop of the 2017 KiteFoil GoldCup will be in China with two events back to back between 8 and 23 of September, for a total prize purse of more than 100.000 USD
    Overall standings after six races (1 discard):
    MEN
    1 Maxime Nocher (MON, Enata/Enata)____________5 pts 2 Riccardo Leccese (ITA, Ozone/Mike’s Lab)_______13 pts 3 Maks Zakowski (POL, Ozone/Moses)____________20 pts 4 Florian Gruber (GER, Flysurfer/Levitaz)_________20 pts 5 Theo Lhostis (FRA, Enata/Enata)_________________22 pts WOMEN
    1 Anais Desjardins (FRA, Flysurfer/Spotz)________53 pts 2 Alexia Fancelli (FRA, Ozone/Taaroa)____________62 pts 3 Bitna Kim (KOR, Ozone/Levitaz)________________76 pts Full rankings >>
    Photo credits: IKA/Alexandru Baranescu
    2017 IKA KiteFoil GoldCup & TT:R Open - Day 6
     
    By
    Country:
    Martin Lark, in Events,
    Daecheon Beach, Boryeong, Korea
    20 May 2017
     
    That top-level kitefoil racing is first and foremost a psychological game almost goes without saying. But in the hothouse atmosphere of the KiteFoil GoldCup series’ opening exchanges the teasing wind—or absence of it—only underscored how those at the pinnacle are masters at maintaining their poise.
    For many lesser athletes the tension of two windless days that prevented racing, followed by day four’s failed efforts to get races away after the breeze twice dropped below the requisite 6kts average might have been unbearable.
    Yet in their own unique ways each of the 20 foilers from 13 nations competing in the International Kiteboarding Association’s season-opening KiteFoil GoldCup taking place off Boryeong’s Daecheon Beach, hosted and sponsored by Korea Windsurfing Kitesurfing Association, retained their focus.
     

     
    Monaco’s Maxime Nocher still holds a firm grip on the lead going into the final fifth day courtesy of two bullets from the regatta’s only two races on the opening day, with Riccardo Leccese (ITA) just behind and a three-way points tie for third between Theo Lhostis (FRA), Florian Gruber (GER) and Maks Zakowski (POL).
    Most craved the opportunity to cement their positions or claw their way up the leaderboard. Lhostis was on the water immediately the breeze was vaguely acceptable, riding his Enata 19m kite  and Enata foil.
    When the breeze hit 7kts on the line, the start sequence was initiated. But within minutes of the “off” it dropped to 4kts forcing postponement. A second effort soon after fared little better when the wind again failed, leaving many riders swimming.
     

     
    Yet in the face of such mounting frustrations each were able to keep their eye on the prize, with Turkish veteran racer Ejder Ginyol maintaining his sense of humour and singing the virtues of a lengthy swim in the Yellow Sea.
    “I wouldn’t call it frustrating, but psychologically it’s very tiring,” he says. “But for me racing is always psychological. Physically, you know you’re in a good place, but you don’t know what your rivals are up to. When I’m on the beach beforehand I’m stressed, but at the ‘ten-minute flag’ I have my game plan and I’m focused no matter what else is going on.”
    If anything, Leccese is even more in the zone, easily able to block out all distractions that might detract from his race performance.
     

     
    “I’m ‘full on’ as soon as I launch my kite,” says the infectiously-sunny Italian. “I’m like a lion chasing its prey. Nothing else matters. In the start sequence I try to observe what others are doing, but find myself a clear spot. After that, every race is different and that’s what I love.”
    Germany’s Gruber knows from bitter experience that if he allows his focus to wander—out of necessity—to his university studies, say, his racing suffers. So in fallow times he keeps his race ‘game face’ on by drinking lots of water, running, and eating healthily and sparingly. He also takes the opportunity to check his equipment meticulously.
    “To get more comfortable I check everything,” he says. “That gives me confidence and keeps my mind firmly on what we are doing, ready for when I get out on the course.”
     

     
    Poland’s Zakowski never gets frustrated by the conditions, but rather takes the opportunity of lay days to relax, learn from more experienced riders and focus on the task ahead.
    “I spend the downtime thinking about racing, but also relaxing as well,” he says. “I just enjoy the weather and the hotel, and chat to the other riders. I’ve learned so much from them. As for racing, I get nervous, but it’s positive nerves—motivating stress that’s useful to make a good race.”
    Overall standings after two races:
    MEN
    1 Maxime Nocher (MON, Enata/Enata)__________2pts 2 Riccardo Leccese (ITA, Ozone/Mike’s Lab)_____4pts 3 Theo Lhostis (FRA, Enata/Enata)_______________9pts 4 Florian Gruber (GER, Flysurfer/Levitaz)_______9pts 5 Maks Zakowski (POL, Ozone/Moses)__________9pts WOMEN
    1 Alexia Fancelli (FRA, Ozone/Taaroa)__________31pts 2 Anais Desjardins (FRA, Flysurfer/Spotz)______42pts 3 Bitna Kim (KOR, Ozone/Levitaz)______________62pts Full rankings >>
    Photo credits: IKA/Alexandru Baranescu
    2017 IKA KiteFoil GoldCup & TT:R Open Korea - Day 5
     
    By
    Country:
    Martin Lark, in Events,
    Daecheon Beach, Boryeong, Korea
    18 May 2017
     
    Kiteboarding is hopeful to earn a place on the Olympic stage at the Tokyo 2020 Games after World Sailing (WS) proposed it as one of two “showcase” disciplines to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
    In a late February WS Council meeting delegates decided men’s and women’s kiteboarding events should grace the XXXII summer Olympiad, along with keelboat racing, in addition to sailing’s existing 10 medal disciplines.
     

     
    The IOC will consider the proposal in the coming months, but any final move on the “showcase” events would come after the decision about the Olympic medal events in July.
    As the wind refused to play ball on the second day of the IKA KiteFoil GoldCup in Korea, preventing any racing, talk among the riders inevitably turned to the hope of Olympics inclusion, a dream for most.
     

     
    However, many uncertainties still remain. While the format and equipment is yet to be selected, the kiteboarding events will almost certainly be some form of “short-track” hydrofoil racing, with proposed 20 men and 20 women competing in separate events.
    Although it is not entirely clear what “showcase” events would actually entail, or how much prominence and attention they will be afforded compared to full medal events, they are hopeful to become full medal events at future Games.
     

     
    Gaining “Showcase” status for both men’s and women’s events offers certain upsides compared to “full medal status”, particularly in terms of greater flexibility over competition format and equipment.
    Coming on the back of kiteboarding’s debut at the Youth Olympic Games with Twin-Tip slalom racing in Argentina next year, kite hydrofoil racing holds out the promise of electrifying the sailing world with the closest, fastest competition even in the lightest conditions.
     

     
    With time running short for WS’s Member National Authorities (MNAs) to make preparations for kiteboarders to compete for the available slots, riders hope that equipment rules will likely follow the foiling Formula Kite model, that is, registered production high-performance foils and kites.
    “If you do ‘showcase’ events with everything more relaxed, it is likely that there will be fewer restrictions on equipment, format and qualification process” said Markus Schwendtner, IKA CEO.”
     

     
    For kiteboarding, it is envisaged that the 10 top ranked men and 10 women could qualify directly, with a further 10 men and 10 women — two from each continent — joining them. Such qualification model would ensure both high level competition amongst the world’s best riders and demonstrate the universal spread of the discipline.
    Overall standings after two races:
    MEN
    1 Maxime Nocher (MON, Enata/Enata)________2pts 2 Riccardo Leccese (ITA, Ozone/Mike’s Lab)___4pts 3 Theo Lhostis (FRA, Enata/Enata)_____________9pts 4 Florian Gruber (GER, Flysurfer/Levitaz)_____9pts 5 Maks Zakowski (POL, Ozone/Moses)_______9pts WOMEN
    1 Alexia Fancelli (FRA, Ozone/Taaroa)________31pts 2 Anais Desjardins (FRA, Flysurfer/Spotz)___42pts 3 Bitna Kim (KOR, Ozone/Levitaz)___________62pts Full rankings >>
    Racing continues through to Sunday with daily racing in the KiteFoil class and/or the TwinTip:Racing class depending on conditions.
    Photo credits: IKA/Alexandru Baranescu
    2017 IKA KiteFoil GoldCup & TT:R Open Korea - Day 3
     
    By
    Country:
    Martin Lark, in Cinematography,
    New kite by Flysurfer, 'Stoke', will surely play the main role in many videos in the upcoming weeks. If all of them are as good as the two we've seen so far, we shouldn't complain.
    This time I'm not going to put my effort into describing the video itself as the guys from Flysurfer have done a really nice job and created their own, pretty good description - you'll find it below the video.
     
    It’s a film about exploration, it’s a story about friendship, it’s an escape out of this hectic world. A place where we met one another, working on a kiteboarding project called “keep the stoke alive”, which is filled with nature, humor and kitesurfing as a cheering rebellion against the gloom of present times. A once in a lifetime experience, so timeless, limitless… soulful
    FLYSURFER Kiteboarding presents you the vision behind our new product line, the STOKE, which builds upon the true essence of kiting; travel the world, meet new people, experience new cultures and spend amazing time with your friends.
     
    By
    Country:
    Martin Lark, in Events,
    Daecheon Beach, Boryeong, Korea
    17 May 2017
     
    Reigning International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) KiteFoil class champion Maxime Nocher began the defence of his title in Korea in perfect style—notching up two bullets from two races.
    In light breezes that struggled to reach 8kts, the Monegasque rider put in a solid shift on the first day of the KiteFoil GoldCup’s opening stop of 2017 taking place on the Yellow Sea’s flat waters just off Boryeong’s pristine Daecheon Beach.
     

     
    At one point when a sea mist rolled in shrouding the otherwise clear blue skies, it appeared the 20 foilers who had journeyed from 13 countries around the globe might be denied any action with the breeze initially refusing to play ball.
    But when skies cleared the wind filled in sufficiently for the foilers to take to the water. Race officials were able to get several races away in the four-stop GoldCup’s first east Asian foray, which is hosted and sponsored by the Korea Windsurfing Kitesurfing Federation, and supported by Boryeong City.
     

     
    Nocher demonstrated his dominance and coolness under fire, leading both races of the two-lap windward-leeward course from start to finish signal barely 13 minutes later, putting his newly-launched Enata 19m kite and Enata foil to good use.
    “It was a good start. I’m happy,” said a relaxed Nocher. “In the first race we had solid winds, but in the second it got a bit light and there were holes towards the bottom of the course. There was quite a lot of seaweed, but I only caught one piece and cleared it from my foil easily.”
     

     
    Rikki Leccese (ITA), riding a Mike’s Lab foil and prototype Ozone R1 kite, pushed Nocher all the way in both duels. He crossed the line just a few seconds behind the Monegasque on each occasions but was happy with his efforts, fully aware that Nocher's forte is in light airs.
    “It was an amazing day, considering these conditions are not my element,” he said. “I’m pleased. He was a little ahead of me each time and able to manage the races. The best I could do was hope to make him feel the pressure, put the ‘hammer on his neck’ in a sporting way, so that maybe he would makes a mistake.”
    France’s dreadlocked Theo Lhostis, on identical Enata equipment to Nocher, notched up valuable points scooping sixth and third places, while former Formula world champion Florian Gruber took fourth and fifth spots.
     

     
    Maks Zakowski (POL), on his first competitive outing on the all new Moses Comet foil and 19m Ozone R1V2 kite, picked up fourth and fifth places, pipping Julien Kerneur in choosing the marginally windier right side of the track on the final downwind leg to overhaul the Frenchman in the last race.
    “This this the first time in competition with the Comet foil, so I’ve had no opportunity to test it against the other riders,” he said. “I feel I’m wanting a little for speed, but I’m trying to tune the foil to find some more pace. Still, I’m happy with the day.”
     

     
    Among the five women racing in the open fleet, France’s Alexia Fancelli had a good start to the day when she took tenth spot overall in race one. But like many riders, she was unable to finish the second race as the breeze became so fickle and light at the bottom of the course that officials were forced to call racing for the day.
    The light airs also meant that the Kiteboard Tour Asia’s Twin-Tip Racing Open slalom event being staged simultaneously was unable to get any races away. But with four days of competition remaining hopes are high that the high-octane racing format to be used at next year’s Youth Olympics in Argentina will get a chance to delight the Korean spectators.
    Overall standings after two races:
    MEN
    1 Maxime Nocher (MON, Enata/Enata)_________2pts 2 Riccardo Leccese (ITA, Ozone/Mike’s Lab)____4pts 3 Theo Lhostis (FRA, Enata/Enata)______________9pts 4 Florian Gruber (GER, Flysurfer/Levitaz)______9pts 5 Maks Zakowski (POL, Ozone/Moses)_________9pts WOMEN
    1 Alexia Fancelli (FRA, Ozone/Taaroa)__________31pts 2 Anais Desjardins (FRA, Flysurfer/Spotz)______42pts 3 Bitna Kim (KOR, Ozone/Levitaz)______________62pts Full rankings >>
    Photo credits: IKA/Alexandru Baranescu
     
    2017 IKA KiteFoil GoldCup & TT:R Open Korea - Day 2
     
    By
    Country:
    Martin Lark, in Cinematography,
    With commercials it's always the same - they're boring, repetitive and lack any imaginativeness whatsoever. Things get a little better when it comes to the commercials of watersports gear producers, 'cause even if the commercial lacks uniqueness, we can at least admire beautiful people in beautiful corners of the world. ZEEKO, in their new commercial presenting Kite, KiteFoil and WindFoil equipment decided not to take the easy way out and prepared something, let's say... unusual
     
    Zeeko trip 2017 to Fuerteventura. Kitesurf / KiteFoil / WindFoil
    By
    Country:
    Martin Lark, in Events,
    Daecheon Beach, Boryeong, Korea
    16 May 2017
     
    Reigning KiteFoil GoldCup title holder Maxime Nocher has been putting the final touches to his campaign to defend his crown in the season’s eagerly-awaited opening clashes in Korea.
    Nocher (MON) — who is also the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) Formula Kite (Foil) world champion — and some of his keenest rivals have been testing conditions off Daecheon Beach, Boryeong.
     

     
    The five days of racing due to commence tomorrow (WED, 17 May) will mark the first time the IKA GoldCup has graced east Asian waters in what is sure to be a thrilling contest as the foilers do close-quarters battle in breathtakingly fast action on the Yellow Sea’s smooth waters.
    In another Korean first, the Kiteboard Tour Asia (KTA) will simultaneously stage a Twin-Tip Racing competition in the format that will be followed in the Youth Olympic Games to be held in Argentina next year.
     

     
    The dual events being hosted and sponsored by the Korea Windsurfing Kiteboarding Federation, with the support of Boryeong City, will perfectly showcase Daecheon’s endless talcum powder beach framed by scenic islands and blue waters.
    To mark the events’ kickoff, the Korea Windsurfing Kiteboarding Federation staged a dramatic opening ceremony, complete with exuberant traditional drumming signalling the fierce battles ahead.
    Yet, as spectacular as the setting and the opening proved, it will inevitably be matched by the thrills and spills of the 20 foilers from 13 countries, and 22 Twin-Tip racers from 15 nations, fighting for glory and giving no quarter.
     

     
    With Nocher on relatively-new and little-tested Enata foil kites, it will be intriguing to see if he can maintain his edge over Riccardo Leccese (ITA) on his super-quick set-up of Mike’s Lab foil and Ozone R1V2 kites.
    Former Formula Kite world champion Florian Gruber (GER) has also set out his stall aiming to get his GoldCup season off to a storming start on new Flysurfer Sonic Race kites teamed with newly-designed wings on his Levitaz Bionic foil.
     

     
    “I’m really looking forward to racing here in Korea,” said Gruber. “It’s a little different from China and it’s always nice to race somewhere new. It’s also important for me to come to the first event of the season and get points on the board, as you never know what will happen later in the year.”
    The top riders in this year’s IKA KiteFoil GoldCup’s slated four events will earn themselves a spot in the IKA KiteFoil class world championship due to be held at the close of the year.
     

     
    In Daecheon the likes of Maks Zakowski (POL) and the speedy French duo of Julien Kerneur and Theo Lhostis will be pushing hard to ensure their leading rivals do not have things all their own way on the windward-leeward track.
    The five women will race in one fleet with the men but be classified separately, with France’s Alexia Fancelli a strong contender looking to build on her momentum of 2016 by concentrating her efforts on the KiteFoil GoldCup season.
    But Bitna Kim (KOR), with the advantage of home turf despite spending the winter months training in La Ventana, Mexico, hopes she will be able to keep the French woman in her sights while savouring the moment.
     

     
    “For me it’s interesting and exciting to race here,” said the 24-year-old from Incheon. “It’s not exactly my home spot, but at least it’s not far from home. I’ll just try to enjoy myself.”
    In the Twin-Tip Race (TT:R) class Thailand’s Narapichit “Yo” Pudla, who recently clinched the Asian title at the inaugural event in his Pranburi home spot, hopes to follow the Korean’s lead.
    “This TT:R is really a new discipline for me, but I really like it,” he said. “It’s very fast. The border cross element is exciting: ride fast and jump over obstacles. That’s the best bit. For the spectators it’s spectacular and easy to see.”
     

     
    Event Facts:
    Location: Daecheon Beach, Boryeong, South Korea Registration Day: 16 May 2017 Prizegiving Day: 21 May2017 Total Prize Money: 20000 USD Event Website: kitefoilgoldcup.com Photo credits: IKA/Alexandru Baranescu
    2017 IKA KiteFoil GoldCup TT:R Open - Registration Day