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South Korea: Kite Foil Gold Cup Event Summary

The Kitefoil Gold Cup in South Korea has come to a close. A week of firsts for us all, and it certainly was not an event without it’s challenges. The first day on the beach brought enough wind to just about pull off two races. However due to the super light conditions, the funny wind direction and wind shadows, the course was full of holes which meant a fair few kites going for a swim. It wasn’t long before the conditions were deemed too unstable, and racing was called off for the rest of the day. The wind played mind games with us all week, creeping up to the minimum 6 knot threshold just long enough to put the AP flag up and down in the air a few times, but never enough to actually start the race. Those who had come to ride were growing increasingly impatient, while those on the event side searched about for something to keep us all occupied and…well…. Distracted! We got in a few pretty cool activities despite the absence of racing. Daecheon has quite a lot to offer for such a small town- think ziplining, paragliding, trail hiking, and wakeboarding to name a …


Nocher and Mai Desjardins Take The First Kitefoil Gold Cup Podiums of the Season

It was victory for reigning KiteFoil GoldCup men’s champion Maxime Nocher along with Anais Mai Desjardins in the women’s fleet, who sealed victory in the year’s first event 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 …


Riders Maintain Race Focus Despite Testing Conditions

Daecheon Beach, Boryeong — 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 …


Legendary Race Coach Savours Prospect of Kiting Gracing Olympics’ Stage

Daecheon Beach, Boryeong — When five-time Olympian Mike Gebhardt asserts that kiting securing a berth at the 2020 Tokyo Games would change everything in the sport, with an explosion of interest and money, it is not to be taken lightly. The renowned racing coach, who helped foiling prodigy Daniela Moroz to her first Formula Kite World Championship title last year at just 15 and Rob Douglas to the 2017 International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) Speed World Championship crown, knows what he is talking about. On the sidelines of the IKA KiteFoil GoldCup series’ opening round in Boryeong’s Daecheon Beach in Korea—where a stubborn absence of wind on day three again allowed no racing—Gebhardt was confident of new and even brighter horizons. Kiteboarding is to be considered as a “showcase” event—short of full medal status—by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in the coming months after World Sailing’s (WS) Council put the sport forward for inclusion. If the IOC agrees the WS proposal—kiting operates under the auspices of WS through the IKA—it is likely that some form of “short-track” kitefoil racing for men and women would grace the XXXII summer Olympiad. Gebhardt, who was instrumental in ensuring kiteboarding momentarily won an Olympic medal …


GoldCup Title Holder Nocher Opens Account with Flawless Races

Daecheon Beach, Boryeong — Reigning International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) kitefoil 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 …

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