Day 3 Race Report—Hydrofoil Pro Tour, Final, Rockingham, WA
Parlier and Moroz on Cruise Control Despite Tricky Conditions
IT IS A measure of the sheer pace and control of France’s Nico Parlier that one of the world’s fastest kitefoilers, Britain’s Olly Bridge, finds himself overhauled on a reach to the line when he finally thought he had an elusive race win in his grasp.
For Bridge, 19, it was a bitter pill. It happened twice on the penultimate day of the Hydrofoil Pro Tour when he believed he had the measure of the Frenchman with a healthy lead, only to see it evaporate by the finish.
Parlier, top of the he globe-trotting Hydrofoil Pro Tour’s rankings, has won every one of the 15 races at the final stop off Rockingham, Western Australia, hosted by the The Cruising Yacht Club on the glorious bay’s natural arena graced by punchy Fremantle Doctor breezes and flat waters.
The wind that built steadily to almost 20kts during the third day of the competition that can boast the biggest fleet of the Pro Tour’s inaugural year — 56 riders from 18 countries — generated spectacularly quick and close racing and produced its fair share of photo-finishes even after two-and-a-half lengthy laps of the windward-leeward course.
Few were closer than that of Bridge’s battle with Parlier. But just as Parlier, incredibly, maintained his perfect record, Bridge now has an equally consistent tally of second places that leave him a strong second on the leaderboard going into the final day.
“Two times I should have won the race,” said Bridge. “One I was leading round the top mark and Parlier overtook me on the final reach to the line. He has really good pace — upwind and downwind. Once he gets clear it’s very hard to catch him.”
For all Bridge’s frustration, he was able to accept that the conditions were ideal for his 15m and 13m Ozone R1V2 kites and Levitaz Bionic foil with new front wing enabling him and the other riders to hit speed of more 30kts on downwind legs.
The young Spaniard, Florian Trittel, deployed exactly the same kites at Bridge, though teamed them with a foil from Australian brand KFA. It worked for him as he racked up consistent third and fourth place finishes to help him close the gap on the leaderboard to third-placed Italian-Colombian Riccardo Leccese.
“I was perfect on my 15m and 13m kites,” he said. “The wind, just like yesterday ,was gusty and shifty. But I managed to catch up a little with Leccese. It all rides on the last day.”
Not far behind, lying in eight overall, sits Matt Taggart. The co-founder of Ozone Kites, riding a Mike’s Lab foil, had a strong showing on his birthday, after a slightly faltering start because of a damaged foil that threw him off. It was still enough to leave him easily top of the Grand Master’s division.
“I had such an amazing day”, said a grinning Taggart. “Everyone’s now getting used to having a fleet of 56 riders, and gaining confidence knowing what they’ll have to deal with. With the [nearly] three laps, it’s very tactical. It’s real racing, which is great.”
At the opposite end of the spectrum, it was not such a good day for the quick Frenchman, Theo Lhostis. The contender in the Youth division was ferried to hospital by ambulance after suffering severe cuts to his fingers as he tried to ward off his flying foil following a high-speed crash. We all wish Theo a speedy recovery!
No such dramas befell the 15-year-old women’s leader, the US’s Daniela Moroz. Like her training partner, Parlier, and racing on identical Mike’s Lab foil and Ozone R1V2 kites, she was again faultless, scoring six wins from six in the women’s division.
But it was France’s Alexia Fancelli who had another great day on the water, scoring four seconds and two thirds in the women’s fleet, to leave her perfectly poised going to the final day with everything to play for and stellar conditions forecast.
Source: Hydrofoil Pro Tour Media
Overall standings after 15 races (two discards):
1 Nico Parlier (FRA) — 11pts
2 Oliver Bridge (GBR) — 22pts
3 Ricci Leccese (ITA) — 39pts
4 Florian Trittel (ESP) — 44pts
5 Guy Bridge (GBR) — 66pts
6 Florian Gruber (GBR) – 66pts
7 Nico Landauer (Uruguay) – 82pts
8 Matthew Taggart (NZL) – 84pts
9 Martin Dolenc (Croatia) – 90pts
10 Adrian Geislinger – 103pts
1 Daniela Moroz (USA) — 11pts
2 Alexia Fancelli (FRA) — 27pts
3 Steph Bridge (GBR)— 31pts
4 Elena Kalinina (RUS) — 33pts
5 Gina Hewson (AUS) — 54pts
6 Natalie Flintrop-Clarke (AUS) – 68pts