Maeder & Newland win high-wind Fuerteventura
Media release, 27 November, 2021
Words: IKA Media / Photos: Sailing Energy
Big offshore gusts and sunny skies delivered a barnstorming conclusion to the 2021 KiteFoil World Series Fuerteventura. Max Maeder of Singapore came out on top of a thrilling duel with Axel Mazella from France. Poema Newland of France dominated the women’s division, winning the trophy ahead of Great Britain’s Ellie Aldridge.
IKA: Max Maeder (SGP) and Poema Newland (FRA) / Photo: Sailing Energy
After a rain stormy day of confused winds on Friday, the classic Fuerteventura northerly breeze kicked in for the climax of the event, the offshore gusts whipping up the sand on Risco del Paso beach in the south of the island. The wind was expected to blow between 18 and 22 knots but the reality was stronger than that. Riders mostly opted for the 11 square metre kite, the second smallest choice.
IKA: Racing at full bore on the breezy final day / Photo: Sailing Energy
Once they’d completed the first race, many were wishing they’d gone for the rarely-used 9 metre alternative. Dor Zarka, a 100kg-plus Israeli rider, said: “Trying to fly the 11 metre was the hardest thing I’ve done in my life. It was hard changing down to the 9 metre but it was better.”
Alina Kornelli from Austria / Photo: Sailing Energy
As the fleet launched off the line for the first of six races, it was clear that Maeder and Mazella would be closely matched. As Mazella explained at the half-time lunch break: “Max is really fast upwind, it’s hard for me to hold him. But downwind I have the edge. We’re very close on speed around the course.”
IKA: James Johnsen of Denmark was top Master / Photo: Sailing Energy
At the top of the course on the second lap, Maeder held a marginal lead of just a few metres ahead of Mazella. The Singaporean fired around the mark and off downwind. Mazella sailed on to a 35-knot power reach towards the finish near the beach. Maeder had been on autopilot mode, failing to notice that it was an unusual 1.5 lap format with the finish at the windward end of the course. “Not again! Not again!” the 15-year-old berated himself. It was a repeat of a mistake he’d made in race one a couple of days earlier although on that occasion Maeder had still managed to scrap across the line ahead. This time he could only recover to 14th, while Mazella cruised home for the win.
IKA: Poema Newland on her way to winning the women’s division / Photo: Sailing Energy
Maeder got his head together after that, winning four of the next five races and finishing second in the other. Despite his young years, nine less than his hero Mazella, Maeder was unstoppable in the big conditions.
Mazella remained consistent for the rest of the day, and with all scores counting would have been the outright winner. In the overall season Mazella is pretty much uncatchable. Although Maeder’s results in Fuerteventura were more variable, the three discards enabled him to drop a 20, 14, and 5 from his scores, giving him the overall win by four points from the Frenchman.
IKA: Max Maeder, U19 and outright winner at 15 years old / Photo: Sailing Energy
In third place was Great Britain’s Connor Bainbridge who bounced back from a bad tangle in race 8 with another strong-wind performer, Denis Taradin from the Russian Yachting Federation. So close are these two on overall points after four events in the 2021 KiteFoil World Series Fuerteventura, whoever beats who at next week’s finale in Gran Canaria is set to finish runner-up for the season behind Mazella.
IKA: The women’s podium / Photo: Sailing Energy
Poema Newland was the stand-out female performer at this event, finishing 32 points ahead of Ellie Aldridge. Valeria Garashchenko turned on the speed today to race past Spain’s Gisela Puledo and take the final podium spot for the Russian Federation.
In the Masters division, Denmark’s James Johnsen came home first ahead of Kari Eisenhut of Switzerland and Frederik Jorgensen of Denmark.
IKA: Top 3 overall in Fuerteventura / Photo: Sailing Energy
As well as winning overall, Maeder was top youth ahead of Italy’s Riccardo Pianosi and Ulysse Dereeper of France. All three podium finishers will face off against each other at the 2021 Youth Sailing World Championships in Oman just a couple of weeks from now.
Now it’s only a couple of days rest before the circuit moves across to another island in the sunny Canaries for the series finale, 2021 KiteFoil World Series Gran Canaria. This time next week the outright champions of the World Series are set to be crowned.
- SGP Max Maeder – 13pts
- FRA Axel Mazella – 17pts
- GBR Connor Bainbridge – 25pts
- FRA Poema Newland – 142pts
- GBR Ellie Aldridge – 174pts
- RYF Valeria Garashchenko – 197pts
- 1 SGP Max Maeder – 13pts
- ITA Riccardo Pianosi – 46pts
- FRA Ulysee Dereeper – 125pts
- DEN James Johnsen – 174pts
- SUI Kari Eisenhut – 226pts
- DEN Frederik Jorgensen – 287pts
For the complete rankings and further event information, visit:
Watch the KiteFoil World Series, Fuerteventura 2021, Day 3, video here: