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King and Queen of Kiting

Published on October 10th, 2012

Americans John and Erika Heineken, siblings from San Francisco, are the 2012 Men’s and Women’s Kiteboard Course Racing World Champions, held in Sardinia, Italy on October 2-7.

Additionally significant is this World Championship follows the International Sailing Federation’s selection of kiteboarding as an Olympic event for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

John Heineken has for years been one of the stars of the international kitesurfing, and at 24 years of age has successfully defended the title he won last year in Sylt Germany. Erika, the older sister at 26 years, has achieved her first world title, with reigning European champion Steph Bridge (GBR) finishing second.

The final races on Sunday would prove to be decisive to determine the titles, with the race course laid in close proximity to the beach for the large audience that had come early to see the finale. With only the top ten qualifiers competing, each racer would carry their qualifying position as a race score. They would then compete in two races on Sunday, with the combined three scores determining the champions.

In the men’s first race, the leader of qualifications (Johnny Heineken) had scored a second place, behind compatriot Adam Koch who was in third position in the preliminaries. Only the final victory of Johnny in the last race gave him the title in front of Koch. “I’m so glad I won again the world title,” said Johnny. “This win had 10 times the stress of last year because of the formula that doesn’t consider the results of the qualification rounds. But it was particularly fun to win with my sister on the side.”

The women’s event would be a head-to-head between Heineken and Bridge. After the Brit won the first race, Erika fulfilled her mission by winning the second race to take the title. “Even after dominating the first part of the championship (qualifiers), I found myself in the last race to decide the fate of the championship,” said Erika. “It was a difficult time but I’m happy that I went through, it was a tough week but fantastic.”

Final Results – Men

  1. John Heineken (USA), 1-2-1, 4 pts
  2. Adam Koch (USA), 3-1-2, 6
  3. Julien Kerneur (FRA), 6-3-4, 13
  4. Riccardo Andrea Leccese (ITA), 2-6-5, 13
  5. Maxime Nocher (FRA), 7-4-3, 14
  6. Bryan Lake (USA), 5-5-6, 16
  7. Florian Gruber (GER), 4-8-7, 19
  8. Olivier Dansin (FRA), 8-7-9, 24
  9. Dave Robertson (NZL), 9-9-8, 26
  10. Wilson Veloso (BRA), 10-10-10, 30

Final Results – Women

  1. Erika Heineken (USA), 1-2-1, 4 pts
  2. Steph Bridge (GBR), 2-1-2, 5
  3. Caroline Adrien (FRA), 3-4-3, 10
  4. Nayara Licariao (BRA), 5-3-5, 13
  5. Christine Boenniger (GER), 6-5-4, 15
  6. Elena Kalinina (RUS), 7-6-6, 19
  7. Katja Roose (NED), 4-7-dnf, 22
  8. Alice Brunacci (ITA), 8-dnf-dnf, 30
  9. Lilian De Geus (NED), 9-dnf-dnf, 31
  10. Justina Sellers (NZL), 10-dnf-dnf, 32

See the complete results.

EDITOR’S NOTE: With nominees being submitted for the 2012 U.S. Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards through November 30, 2012, it would appear that John and Erika Heineken have now become leading candidates for the honor. Who else should be considered? Post your nominee here.

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