The IKA KiteFoil Gold Cup returns to Sardinia this month for the final event of the season at the Sardinia Grand Slam
17 – 21st October: Poetto Beach, Cagliari, Sardinia
Words: Kiteworld / Photos: Alex Schwarz
The riders of the KiteFoil Gold Cup will be back in action on Poetto Beach later on this month at the final event of the season where the new overall tour champion will be crowned after what’s been a full-tilt year of racing so far.
The riders arrived in Sardinia yesterday for registration.
Last year, Nico Parlier took the win there after beating fellow Frenchmen Axel Mazzela (who took the 2017 World Title) and Maxime Nocher while the UK’s Steph Bridge beat 2017 overall champion Anaïs Mai Desjardins and Germany’s Sabrina Schlossnikel.
This year’s event will see over 100 athletes from more than 40 countries competing and the vast majority of top ranked athletes in the foil racing discipline are gearing up for it. The Sardinia Grand Slam is one of the highest-profile events in the racing calendar and it’s become increasingly important for riders to do well here as they seek to gain experience and position themselves ahead of foiling’s Olympic debut at the games in Paris 2024.
It’s been a fast-paced, tumultuous year so far across the various foil racing tours and series and while Steph Bridge and Dani Moroz (USA) have set themselves apart in the women’s division there is no clear favourite in the men’s.
Nico Parlier has had a very strong season overall after a slow start at his first racing event of 2018 (the HFPT La Ventana) but Maxime Nocher has been resurgent so far at this year’s KiteFoil Gold Cup events and leads the tour while his training partner Axel Mazella has never been far behind.
Both of the Bridge Brothers, Olly and Guy, are more than capable of mixing in at the front of the fleet and taking ‘bullets’ and potentially an event win and there’s also a pack of increasingly faster challengers that includes riders like Connor Bainbridge, Theo de Ramecourt and Florian Gruber who’ve all been seemingly unshakable from around fourth, fifth and sixth place this year.
The margins are tight in this supremely talented fleet and there’ll be no room for error from any of the riders vying for victory.
Poetto Beach has already proven itself to be a solid venue for World Class kite racing competitions and, speaking of the upcoming event, local organiser Gian Domenico Nieddu of GLE (Good Looking Entertainment) said;
“Poetto is now recognized worldwide as one of the best spots for competitions and training and I hope that this heritage and reputation will grow in the coming years with more and more events to follow”.
The Sardinia Grand Slam World Championship is organized by GLE and the Yacht Club Cagliari, which deals with technical sportive coordination, under the aegis of the IKA (International Kiteboarding Association), and with the contribution of the Autonomous Region of Sardinia, the Department of Tourism and the Municipality of Cagliari.
Check the 2017 finals action below