Nocher notches up another World Title at the 2018 Sardinia Grand Slam
Maxime Nocher takes the title for 2018 but Parlier denies him a clean sweep while Dani Moroz takes the event win and Kirstyn O’Brien wins the tour
Words: Ian Mackinnon / Photos: Alex Schwarz / Edit: Kiteworld
The action raged on late last week and over the weekend at the Sardinia Grand Slam, the final event of the season for the 2018 KiteFoil Gold Cup season. Day two saw no racing due to lighter winds upping the pressure early in the event as the riders now knew they’d have fewer races in which to rack up those all important bullets.
On day three, Nocher and Parlier finished the day neck and neck on points as Guy Bridge managed to retake some ground after an unfortunate crash early in the event had seen him forfeit a race after breaking his bridle in a line tangle.
Dani Moroz was leading the women’s division and pushing towards the top ten overall with Steph Bridge just one place behind her.
Day Three highlights
On day four, it was down to the wire on the final day where Monaco’s Maxime Nocher would trumpet his comeback when he lifted the KiteFoil World Champion’s crown after a stuttering World Series final fought out over the weekend at Poetto Beach.
Day Four highlights
Nocher added to his haul of world titles at the climax of the three-stop International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) KiteFoil World Series, with a second podium spot at the Sardinia Kiteboard Grand Slam that earned him the tour’s best overall racer. “It’s very nice,” said Nocher. “I’m really happy to come back after the last year. I still have a lot of work to do, but I’m going to come back stronger next year. Now I know my weaknesses and I’ll have to be even faster.”
The three-times Formula Kite world champion was denied a clean sweep at the series-closing Sardinia event by bitter rival, France’s Nico Parlier. Nico took the event win and a share of the €20,000 prize money at the five-day competition dogged by fickle breezes.
“I’m pleased with the result here and I’m pleased with my racing,” said Parlier. “I managed to stay in the lead and beat Maxime Nocher. We were tied on points, but I was able to stay ahead of him and take the win.” Britain’s Guy Bridge took a bullet with superlative racing in the only race of the final day on the track off Cagliari’s Poetto Beach, leaving both Nocher and Parlier in his wake in the smooth waters under the Sella del Diavolo (Devil’s Saddle) promontory.
The British teenager notched up two bullets, but a critical lack of wind throughout the four days of competition that allowed just four races in all meant that he was unable to discard a poor early score for a disqualification for his tangle. Fellow countryman Connor Bainbridge finished the Sardinia finale in the fourth spot just behind Germany’s Florian Gruber. But it was enough for him to take the KiteFoil World Series’ second podium spot after strong performances in the back-to-back stops in China last month, marking his leap up the rankings.
“I came here to finish on a high,” he said. “This season’s been great for me. What changed for me was that I got my head down and worked hard-an extra hour on the water or in the gym. So it’s worked out. I’m really looking forward to what’s to come.”
The women’s KiteFoil World Series title was taken by Kirstyn O’Brien (USA), after she alone competed at all three stops, ahead of Daniela Moroz (USA) and Elena Kalinina (RUS). The late cancellation of the planned final in Oman meant racers could not discard a score from any event. O’Brien made a last minute decision to switch plans and compete in Cagliari after the Oman event fell through, one that paid off for her when she lifted the title. “It’s very surreal for me,” said O’Brien. “I know if we’d had another stage in the World Series the competition would have been really tough.”
Moroz, the triple Formula Kite world champion, topped the women’s podium at the Sardinia Grand Slam ahead of Britain’s Steph Bridge. The American teenager was pleased with her performance that saw her finish a remarkable thirteenth overall, racing among the strong mixed fleet. “The first day went quite well, but after that wasn’t quite a good as I wanted,” said Moroz. “But now this gives me motivation to keep training this winter and come back really strong next year. I was just happy to be here. We’ve had a fun week even though we got a little unlucky with the wind.”
2018 KiteFoil World Series – Men
1: Maxime Nocher (MON)
2: Connor Bainbridge (GBR)
3: Théo de Ramecourt (FRA)
2018 KiteFoil World Series – Women
1: Kirstyn O’Brien (USA)
2: Daniela Moroz (USA)
3: Elena Kalinina (RUS)
Sardinia Kiteboard Grand Slam – Men
1: Nico Parlier (FRA), 10.0pts
2: Maxime Nocher (MON), 11.0pts
3: Florian Gruber (GER), 20.0pts
Sardinia Kiteboard Grand Slam – Women
1: Daniela Moroz (USA), 56.0pts
2: Steph Bridge (GBR), 133.0pts
3: Nina Arcisz (POL), 157.0pt