Sam's 2018 Formula kite worlds
18th place in the world for the second year in a row however this year's was a far bigger challenge to get!
The 2018 Formula kite worlds were held in Aarhus, Denmark as part of the World Sailing World Championship that comprised of 12 separate competitions including the 10 Olympic sailing classes plus the soon-to-be Olympic, Mens and Womens Formula Kite. Being included in the Event was a big step forward for the world recognition of kitefoiling and it's athletes.
The mens fleet was 65 strong and not for the faint-hearted, one mistake could send you tumbling down the ranks in any of the three flights that the fleet was split for the qualifying series. What made things worse was that because the fleet was split into 3 that meant each point you received was effectively worth 3 so a bad race could end up being VERY bad.
Smart consistent racing was the key, at least for the earlier stages of the regatta. I did well to stay out of trouble for the first few days and finished the qualifying series in 13th place. I was pretty chuffed considering how stacked the fleet was of insanely fast riders.
This years worlds had a pretty strange format. After the qualifying series the fleet was split into 3 fleets of 10, Gold, Silver, Bronze then the remainder split into emeralds 1 & 2. It meant making Gold was near impossible and making silver nothing to be upset about like it normally might be. Qualifying 3rd in Silver was quite the contrast to narrowly scraping into the gold fleet (of 18) like I had the year previously. I knew I had my work cut out for me, I was the slowest in the silver fleet by a measurable amount and it was only my strong maneuvers and tactics that had kept me so far up the fleet. In a smaller fleet, with only the strong riders speed was far more important. I struggled in the light winds of the final days racing and dropped back several places into 18th. At least it wasn't worse than 2017!
The top 10 were to have 3 medal races fully televised and commentated. I was asked to join the commentating team to help the sailors understand what was going on. Unfortunately we were drowned by rain, thunder and lightning during our time slot so the results stood and my commentating debut would have to wait.
Now its back to NZ for more training and weight gaining - I'm convinced my speed deficit comes down to being too light (and weak) so I'm putting a lot of focus here over the coming months. I'm very excited for another awesome summer of kitefoiling with the event calendar growing every week.
Nico Parlier 1st, Guy Bridge 2nd and Maxime Nocher 3rd (men)
Daniella Moroz 1st, Elana Kalinina and Alexia Fancelli 3rd (women)