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KiteFoil GoldCup 2015 at Hang Loose Beach, Italy – Day 4

Nocher Clinches Kite Foil Championship in Italy with Imperious Display

Monegasque Maxime Nocher sealed his victory in the KiteFoil GoldCup in Italy with a virtually unrivalled demonstration of speed, power and flawless technique that left the chasing pack peering at his back in the distance for much of the competition.

The reigning Formula kite world champion’s sheer pace and extreme angles sailed upwind and downwind ensured he snatched four bullets from the top “gold” fleet’s five races on the final day of four at the engrossing contest in southern Italy.

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Nocher was so dominant, especially in “gold” fleet’s racing in the perfect 9kts to 12kts of thermal Mediterranean breeze, that he had an unassailable lead with two races still to play out on the windward-leeward track just off a packed Hang Loose Beach.

Almost immediately Nocher turned his attentions to the next round of the four-stop KiteFoil GoldCup world tour in San Francisco at the end of the month, where he knows the competition will be even tougher with Nico Parlier (FRA) and Johnny Heineken (USA) both slated to race.

“Right now I’m really pleased with the win here,” said Nocher, as he came ashore after the last race. “I’m looking forward to San Francisco. If I can win again there I’ll win the whole GoldCup. I think Nico Parlier will be there and the Americans, so it’ll be tough. But that’s good.”

The KiteFoil GoldCup’s latest stop — following the first in La Ventana, Mexico — also offered up some new equipment twists in the lightly-regulated “open” class. In Nocher’s hands the Taaroa Sword2 with new wings proved as quick as ever, while his F-one Diablo foil kite showed itself as formidable as the relatively recent Flysurfer Sonic FR. But Levitaz’s new Aspect Bionic hydrofoil also emerged as a force to be reckoned with.

Despite Nocher’s emphatic win through his display of unmatched consistency, the young French rider Axel Mazella — who took the second podium spot — and compatriot Julien Kerneur gave him a run for his money, both snapping at his heels and on occasion overhauling him in the nip-and-tuck battles on the smooth waters.

Mazella, 17, riding a Taaroa Sword2 with developmental wings and an Elf Joker foil kite, realised he had his work cut out for him because of Nocher’s speed around the course. In the last race he got a slice of luck when Nocher caught a plastic bag in the water and had to jump to clear it, but then the same misfortune befell him later in the race.

“Maxime [Nocher] is just very, very fast,” said Mazella, who also took the Under 21 title. “I might be a bit quicker, but he is fast with better angles.

Kerneur, riding a 15m Paraavis GVX foil kite and a Taaroa Sword2 hydrofoil, went one better than his fellow countryman grabbing a bullet in a split-second photo-finish at the expense of Nocher in the day’s third race.

Mazella also lost out to Kerneur in the fourth race of the day when he crashed during a thrilling drag race to the finish line, slipping two places in the process.

The “gold” fleet’s two-lap course, typically completed by the winners in 12 minutes and 30 seconds, saw a number of riders start on a port tack to take advantage of the lift near the beach on the right side of the track.

But the tactic ensured most had to give way to the starboard riders and duck beneath the pack, many of whom tacked at the first possible opportunity to gain the same right-hand side advantage.

Benni Boelli (GER), riding a Flysurfer Sonic FR kite and Levitaz Aspect Bionic hydrofoil, used the right side of the course well often showing the same blistering pace as the top riders. His performances on the third day, the first of “gold” fleet racing, helped earn him a fourth place in the overall standings.

In the alternate “silver” fleet, also made up of 24 riders, North Kiteboarding rider Steph Bridge (GBR) came top for the women with a series of solid third places on the final day, just outpointing Airush’s Alexia Fancelli (FRA), who was the second woman and fifth overall in the fleet and Russia’s Elena Kalinina third and seventh respectively.


1. Maxime Nocher (MON) – 9 points
2. Axel Mazella (FRA) – 23 points
3. Julien Kerneur (FRA) – 29 points
4. Benni Boelli (GER) – 47 points
5. Riccardo Leccese (ITA)) – 50 points

Full Results: http://internationalkiteboarding.org/images/documents/events/2015KFGCItalyResults.pdf

Flickr: GoldCup Italy Album

KiteFoil GoldCup 2015 at Hang Loose Beach, Italy – Day 3

Tight High-Octane Racing in Ideal Conditions Throws Up Enthralling Battles

Hang Loose Beach, Gizzeria—The contest for the top spots on day three of the KiteFoil GoldCup saw intriguing tactical battles on the water, with the leading riders trading places in the top fleet’s five races.

But Monaco’s Maxime Nocher emerged on top despite a crash near the windward mark on his last race of the day in the “gold” fleet that put him down the order and an earlier disqualification — reversed on appeal — for being over the line early.

IMG 6272The dramas for the young rider masked a near perfect day with four bullets in the stiffening thermal breeze that steadily increased from 9kts to 15kts, forcing race officials to lengthen the windward-leeward track and riders to put up their smaller 11m and 12m foil kites.

Axel Mazella (FRA), riding the same Taaroa Sword2 hydrofoil as Nocher, scored a bullet and a couple of seconds to keep him in close touch on the leaderboard going into the final day of the championship being wwwd off southern Italy’s Hang Loose Beach, the second of the four-stop kitefoil gold cup tour.

Fellow countryman Julien Kerneur started the day strongly with a trio of consecutive third places, but faltered slightly as the exhilarating competition intensified, the breeze picked up and riders figured how best to use the shifts on the right side of the course near the beach.

In the “gold” fleet’s fourth race of the day, completed in just under 11 minutes even after the course was extended, Nocher both demonstrated his fluency and vulnerability. The young monegasque on his 12m F-one Diablo foil kite was overhauled by Peter Mueller (GER) riding a Flysurfer Sonic FR foil and Levitaz Aspect Bionic hydrofoil on both upwind legs of the two-lap course, only to see handsome leads reversed in the drag race downwind.

“I was fast upwind, first to the mark both times,” said Mueller. “But Nocher is quick downwind. I also decided to sit back a little and not go too deep. There was a large gap to third place, so I wanted to protect the second spot and not risk losing many places with a crash.”

Flysurfer-Levitaz team-mate Benni Boelli (GER), who finished the day fourth in the standings, threw down the gauntlet to the other riders in the day’s first two races, snatching two seconds, but slipped from reckoning a little in the closing duels.

The young Briton Olly Bridge, clawing his way into contention on a borrowed Levitaz hydrofoil after starting the day seeded 11 following the qualifying series, finished the day in seventh spot overall after securing a couple of hard-fought fourths.

Bridge opted to start on a port tack in several races in order to gain the advantage of the lift near the beach on the track’s right side. The tactic meant he was only able to cross the line after most of the “gold” fleet had passed on starboard tack.

But it was effective enough that he was able to lead by the upwind mark, though both Mazella and Nocher were able to reassert their advantage with shrewd tactics of their own in the steady breeze under clear skies.

“I tacked too late because Maxime Nocher was covering me,” said a slightly disconsolate Bridge. “Then Axel Mazella was below me. But the port start was good and I should have won from that position.”

Mazella, 17, riding his Elf Joker kites, concedes he is a little slower on upwind legs than the likes of Kerneur and Boelli on their Flysurfer kites, but knows he will be in his element on the downwind stretches.

“I know I have just that bit better speed downwind,” said Mazella. “I may not have the [radical] angles of Nocher and Kerneur, but I have the speed.”


1. Maxime Nocher (MON) – 5 points
2. Axel Mazella (FRA) – 12 points
3. Julien Kerneur (FRA) – 19 points
4. Benni Boelli (GER) – 20 points
5. Riccardo Leccese (ITA)) – 24 points

Full Results: http://internationalkiteboarding.org/images/documents/events/2015KFGCItalyResults.pdf

Flickr: GoldCup Italy Album

KiteFoil GoldCup 2015 at Hang Loose Beach, Italy – Day 2

Tricky Conditions With Gusty Cross-Offshore Winds Cut Short Racing

Riders faced a frustrating day on the beach when competition was halted after just three races at the KiteFoil GoldCup in increasingly flukey and unstable winds, only contest to resume in the early evening with another three races.

But on day two of the championship — when the wind switched 180 degrees from the opening day and varied between 2kts and 15kts on the start line — Monaco’s Maxime Nocher again proved devastatingly quick, scoring a two bullets and a second in the “yellow” fleet’s three races.

In the day’s first race Nocher appeared to be in a good position on the second upwind leg of the one-and-a-half laps of the windward-leeward track, but was forced to tack again to round the final windward mark after apparently misjudging the lay line in the fickle breeze, allowing Simone Vannucci (ITA) to snatch victory after a strong race.
Yet Nocher’s dominance afforded him time to pull an aerial 360 at the top mark, “just for fun”, in his day’s final race keeping him top of the leaderboard. He will be seeded head of the 24 riders in the “gold” fleet for the final two days of the competition taking place off Hang Loose Beach, the second stop of four on the KiteFoil GoldCup world tour. The bottom-ranked 24 racers will compete in the “silver” fleet.
Nocher — riding his F-one foil kite and board, teamed with a Taaroa Sword2 hydrofoil sporting new high-aspect wings — has thrown down a marker for the other riders and shown his set-up to be fast in varying conditions.
In the alternate “blue” fleet made up of the field’s other half, Airush’s Julien Kerneur (FRA) riding a 15m Flysurfer Sonic foil kite and Sword2 hydrofoil, racked up two bullets and a second place to keep him hard on Nocher’s heels in the standings.
Kerneur traded first and second spots with Benni Boelli (GER), who reiterated the potency of the Flysurfer Sonic foil kite and Levitaz Aspect Bionic hydrofoil that earned him the third seeding for the final days’ “gold” fleet racing.

Britain’s Olly Bridge, who had struggled for pace on day one with his Elf foil kite and Sword2 hydrofoil, also scored two third places after switching to a Levitaz hydrofoil being used to dramatic effect by others.
“The conditions are pretty tough, much harder than yesterday,” said Bridge. “The gusts are everywhere on the course and shifting. But this foil is much better. It goes upwind much better and is more stable.”
Adrian Geislinger (AUT) also employed his 15m Flysurfer kite and Levitaz foil sporting the unexpectedly successful rear winglet to score a third, second and fourth in the “yellow” fleet.
Geislinger was clearly thrilled with his improved showing in the testing conditions that left him in fifth place overall and left him poised to contest a podium spot.
“Tactics were really important today,” he said. “You always have to look very carefully for the gusts and lulls. The conditions were really difficult. Every 10 minutes, or so, you’d get stronger winds. Normally it was 10kts, but then it would hit 20kts. The left side of the course was better, with big lulls on the outside.”
Still, the Flysurfer kite and Levitaz foil with its “awesome” rear wing have given him a big fillip, dramatically improving his performances from the first stop of the kitefoil tour at La Ventana in Mexico, where he could place no better than the middle of the fleet.


1. Maxime Nocher (MON) – 8 points
2. Julien Kerneur (FRA) – 11 points
3. Benni Boelli (GER) – 17 points
4. Axel Mazella (FRA) – 19 points
5. Adrian Geislinger (AUT) – 24 points

Full results:http://internationalkiteboarding.org/images/documents/events/2015KFGCItalyResults.pdf

Video Day 1: https://youtu.be/3CHsRMBY4CAVideo Day 2: https://youtu.be/gDgWOoJGH_k

Flickr Channel: https://www.flickr.com/photos/95313618@N08/sets/72157655259143600

KiteFoil GoldCup 2015 at Hang Loose Beach, Italy – Day 1

Near Flawless Performance Gives Nocher Edge in Thrilling Kite Foil Championship Opener

IMG 5583Reigning Formula kite world champion Maxime Nocher demonstrated his devastating turn of speed in the kite hydrofoil class, scoring four bullets in five races that cemented his place at the top of the leaderboard on the first day of competition.

The Monaco rider competing in the “yellow” fleet made up of half the 48 racers — the other designated the “blue” fleet — might even have made a clean sweep of five had he not crashed on a downwind leg to the finish line and concede the win to Axel Mazella (FRA), who also had a good opening day at the KiteFoil GoldCup Italy.

Fellow countryman Julien Kerneur (FRA) made hay in the “blue” fleet scoring several bullets that kept him in strong contention in second spot overall when the fleets are re-arranged for day two of the event’s qualifying series being being hosted off Hang Loose Beach, Gizerria, south-west Italy.

But one of the bigger surprises on a day of intense, fast-pace racing that saw the riders scythe through the blue Mediterranean at jaw-dropping speeds, was the success of Benni Boelli (GER), who ended in third position overall.

His 15m Flysurfer foil kite, in combination with a Levitaz hydrofoil with radical rear winglet and narrower ASV board, offered him blistering speed that saw him steal third place in the day’s final race despite an ill-judged pin-end start gamble that failed and put him almost at the back of the 24-strong pack.

But in the two laps of the windward-leeward track, which the winners typically completed in about 10 minutes in the breeze that built from a 9kts average to 12kts under clear skies, Boelli was able to blaze a path back into contention.

“This 15m Flysurfer kite is the one I’m used to riding at home, so I feel very comfortable with it,” said Boelli. “Not long ago we found a good set up with the Levitaz foil. The front wing is normal, but the rear wing is experimental and the fuselage is longer. It’s working very well.”

The sheer speed of the Flysurfer kites and Levitaz foils combination prompted Simone Vannucci (ITA), no slouch himself ending eighth overall, to joke that the Levitaz foils should be banned, an impossibility as the class remains “open”.

“I tried these Levitaz foils and they’re very fast,” said Vannucci, owner of ASV Performance and also a Flysurfer team-rider. “These foils should be protested on the grounds of technical advantage.”

Yet even the Flysurfer-Levitaz riders will have to contend with Nocher’s pace on his F-one foil kite, board and Taaroa Sword2 hydrofoil with new G10 wings that ensured he stayed well ahead of a classy field that included the likes of Olly Bridge (GBR) and Peter Mueller (GER), who ended fifth overall riding Flysurfer and Levitaz.

On the third day of the four-day championship the fleets will be seeded into the top “gold”and bottom “silver” fleets to compete for the podium positions. With the seven women mixed in among the men, qualification for the “gold” fleet will be a tough ask for them.

But Alexi Fancelli (FRA), riding a Taaroa Sword2 hydrofoil, managed a good showing just stealing a march on reigning Formula kite world champion Steph Bridge (GBR). Both were able outstrip many of the men finishing about half-way down their respective fleets.

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1. Maxime Nocher (MON) – 4 points
2. Julien Kerneur (FRA9) – 7 points
3. Benni Boelli (GER) – 8 points
4. Axel Mazella (FRA) – 8 points
5. Peter Mueller (GER) – 11 points

Full results: http://internationalkiteboarding.org/images/documents/events/2015KFGCItalyResults.pdf

Daily Video: https://youtu.be/3CHsRMBY4CA

Flickr Channel: https://www.flickr.com/photos/95313618@N08/sets/72157655259143600