Typhoon threatens KiteFoil World Series
Published on September 10th, 2018
The second stage of the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) 4-event KiteFoil World Series is planned for September 10 to 15 in Pingtan, China. But with high winds and big seas already pummeling Pingtan’s beach-front, and more forecast throughout the week due to Category 4 typhoon Mangkhut approaching mainland China, the conditions could prove almost as challenging as the competition on the windward-leeward course.
Pingtan comes hot of the heels of the season-opener of the 2018 tour in Shandong province’s Weifang Binhai where Monaco’s Maxime Nocher staked his claim to the scheduled four-stop series’ world title crown when he captured the victory with increasingly-fast and confident performances that signalled his return to form.
The multiple world champion will look to build on his advantage in Pingtan, particularly with reigning IKA Formula Kite and “open” KiteFoil World Champion, Nico Parlier, missing. The Frenchman took the second podium spot in Weifang, but college commitments prevented him making the trip to Pingtan.
But despite Nocher’s steady and tactically astute racing in Weifang, he is unlikely to have it all his own way. He will be up against Britain’s Connor Bainbridge who proved almost unbeatable in the opening battles at the first tour stop.
A clutch of the fastest French racers are also among the 27 athletes from 16 nations who have made the journey to fight for a share of the $40,000 purse on offer at second stop that is the centre-piece of the 2018 Pingtan International Kitesurfing Festival.
The reigning IKA KiteFoil GoldCup title holder, Axel Mazella, Théo de Ramecourt, Theo Lhostis and Titouan Galea will undoubtedly give Nocher and Bainbridge a run for their money, each eager to claim a share of the glory and the prize money.
A small group of women, led by former Formula Kite World Champion, Russia’s Elena Kalinina, will pit themselves against the men and the elements. They will race in the mixed fleet in Pingtan, a venue that has become a firm fixture on kiteboarding’s calendar because it always delivers stellar conditions that make for enthralling kite racing action.
But a look at the forecast (above), it will be a test to see if the competition can out-race Mangkhut as it is expected to arrive by the last days of the event.
The KiteFoil class is a full development class with minimal equipment limitation, allowing brands to test the latest equipment on the market. The World Series tour is the sports premium event series with events all around the world and a strong focus on media production and prize money level.
Source: Ian MacKinnon