Development flurry at KiteFoil Gold Cup

Development flurry at KiteFoil Gold Cup

Published on April 1st, 2015


The town of La Ventana, Mexico hosted the first of three events on the 2015 KiteFoil Gold Cup tour for professional racers from around the world. Racers will be competing to win a cash purse totaling $10,000 USD at each event, and will be in the ranking to win the Gold Cup at the end of the three regattas, stopping next in San Francisco and finishing in Townville, Australia.

The five-day event (March 24-29) was comprised of a two-day qualifying series and a three-day championship series. Twenty-two sailors qualified to be in the championship group “Gold Fleet” and to compete for the overall event title.

In the qualifying series individuals sail conservatively to ensure their spot in the championship series. Make no mistakes and try not to get caught in a foul, that’s the mantra in the qualifications. But once championship series sailing begins it is game on.

Conditions in the qualifying were light to moderate with a light onshore easterly. Mexican competitor Santiago Ramirez gasped as he returned to the beach, “the level is so much higher” pointing out that riders are faster and more stable around the course. Sailors mostly used their “big kites” sized 15m2 to 18m2 but with a stronger wind forecast and the newly cleaned scoreboard the stage was set for the nail-biter of a championship.

This fully developmental fleet is witnessing an intense flurry of equipment advancements. New hydrofoils moreover new kites (sails) were debuted down here in Mexico at this tour kickoff regatta. To that end, Playa Central Beach Club produced a “Foil Expo” in the two days prior to the event.

Hydrofoil manufacturers, kite builders, and board shapers were all invited to show off their new products for 2015. As pro riders prepared for the regatta the new gear and sailors were buzzing up and down the beach at speeds which seemed even faster than just a few months earlier.

Sailing a simple two-lap windward/leeward course at 1.1-1.4 nautical miles from top to bottom these sailors are burning out races in fifteen minutes time. Split tacks and split jibes, occasionally port tacking the fleet, shift leverage, mark roundings, and maneuvers are all part of this game. And speed, don’t forget speed.

For the first time ever the hydrofoiling kiteboard broke the fifteen knot upwind VMG mark, and it was done racing in eight-knots of wind. Downwind sailing in 7-8 knots is producing straight-line speed of twenty-nine knots, almost quadruple.

Nico Parlier hailing from France won the qualifying series with Monoco sailor Maxime Nocher, fellow Frenchman Julien Kerneur, and 2014 tour champion John Heineken all close behind.

The Championship series began with a scoreboard wiped nearly clean as qualifying scores were reduced to only one non-discardable score. Eleven races would be sailed for the upcoming championship series and Parlier started with one point, Nocher with two, Kerneur with three, and Heineken with four. Axel Mazella (FRA) and Joey Pasquali (USA) started the series with a five and a six respectively.

The championship (Gold Fleet) series did not disappoint. Four light air races were sailed on the first day of championship racing ending with Parlier, Nocher, and Heineken in a three-way tie for first with points and Nocher one point behind them. Day two of championship, sailed on medium kites in 14-18 knots ended with Nocher with a slight lead over Heineken and Parlier. The final day started with a light easterly and the Race Committee squeezed in two races for the Gold Fleet.

After two races a short “AP” was signaled to wait for wind and the scores were all tied up once again. Nico Parlier sitting in first in a tie-breaker with Nocher and Heineken in third place just one point behind. The riders and Race Committee waited out the wind until 1800h when the “AP over A” was displayed. Nico Parlier wins the first stop of the tour in a tie-breaker. Margarita time!

Playa Central Beach Club and the City of La Ventana hosted this event in prime fashion. Stable breeze, bare feet, and bathing suits are just part of the status quo at this booming beach town. Playa Central Beach Club’s world famous margaritas, gourmet local-vore menu, and wood fired oven put the cherry on top of the sundae makes it one of the best beach clubs in the world.

The next stop of the KiteFoil Gold Cup tour in will be hosted by the famed St. Francis Yacht Club followed up by a tour stop at the beautiful Townsville Sailing Club in Queensland, Australia.

Division Champions:
First Overall – Nico Parlier (FRA)
Top Woman – Erika Heineken (USA)
Top Master (+35) – Stefaans Viljoen (RSA)
Top Grandmaster (+45) – Herve Rousseau (FRA)
Top Great Grandmaster (+55) – Gabor Vagi (BUL)
Top Youth (<20) – Nico Parlier (FRA)
Top Junior (<18) – Axel Mazella (FRA)

Daily Write-ups –
Qualifying Results –
Championship Series Results –
Tour Website –

Source: Robbie Dean, International Kiteboarding Association, KiteFoil Gold Cup Tour Director

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