Playa Central Beach Club in La Ventana, Baja California Sur, México hosted the first tour stop of the new hydrofoil kiteboarding circuit called KiteFoil GoldCup, bringing in top competitors from 11 different nationalities, mainly France. Top contenders from the San Francisco Bay area in the U.S. were also on-site to compete.
The Race Committee was lead by infamous race director Robbie Dean with the company of Jessica Barhydt and Neil Foley who set a traditional windward, leeward course. The first day of races was Thursday the 13th, where Adam Koch and Maxime Nocher dominated the day. On the women’s side Sophie Caillet put on a great performance and was ready to take on the regatta.
Friday the 14th was a qualifying series to split up the 30-person fleet into gold and silver. The breeze was very light and sailors were on their 13m, 15m and 18m kites. A total of 4 races were completed not reaching the 5-race minimum to have a discard, leaving sailors with no room for mistakes getting into the gold fleet. After a few protests, some scores were moved around, and the top 15 in the world were placed in a separate fleet for the remainder of the regatta. Nocher took all 4 races of the day, riding the smallest size kite (a 13m) when other riders were on 18m.
Saturday the 15th consisted of the traditional “El Norte” winds, having sailors rig their 7m and 9m kites. Course was set and a total of 3 races peer fleet were on the day’s agenda. Johnny Heineken, Joey Pasquali and Bryan Lake showed the whole fleet how many hours they logged this past summer and winter, by consistently finishing in the top 7 of all races. Still, nothing came close to Frenchmen Maxime Nocher, who once again won every race of the day.
On Sunday the 16th, the El Norte came in strong with 40-knot gusts and offshore winds. The strong wind made the race director hesitant about running races due to big swell, an he followed local boat captains, Juan and Henry Leon’s, advice to stay out of the water. Finally, a 2 pm Robbie Dean decided to run the first ever big air hydrofoil kiteboard competition, and including it in the KiteFoil GoldCup. Local rider Adam Withington won big air with the highest jumps, combination of tricks and smooth landings. Second was Herve Rousseau and third was Maxime Nocher. World Champion Sean Farley served as head judge for the big air hydrofoil competition.
Monday the 17th was the last day of the regatta with perfect and traditional La Ventana winds coming in heavy and consistent from the North. All races had to be completed before 3 pm per NOR and Sailing guidelines, putting pressure on the race committee to perfectly run a total of 5 races for the gold fleet and 3 for the silver. With one minute before the time limit, the last sequence was started for the gold fleet. At the end of the regatta, Maxime Nocher took all bullets earning his 1st place finish in the Gold Fleet, followed by Johnny Heineken in 2nd, Nicolas Parlier in 3rd, Julien Keurner in 4th and Joey Pasquali in 5th. In the Silver Fleet,Benjamin Petit took 1st, Alex Aguera took 2nd and Chip Wasson placed 3rd. The French female champion Sophie Caillet won her division followed by La Ventana local, Cynthia Brown in 2nd, Catherine Dufour in 3rd, and Eugenia Gueorguieva in 4th.
An awards ceremony took place soon after all sailors packed up, starting with a recognition of each division, marked by a tequila bottle trophy.
The next KiteFoil GoldCup tour stop will be in St. Moritz, Switzerland this coming August giving riders 5 more months of hard training and preparation. For more information and full final results visit www.playacentralkiteboarding.com or www.kitefoilgoldcup.com.