California’s Erika Heineken wins the women’s division, and brother John Heineken podiums in the men’s. Great start on the Gold Cup world foilboard racing tour.
Nico Parlier wins overall title at the kickoff of the KiteFoil Gold Cup tour in Baja, Mexico
Sailed in La Ventana, Baja California the five-day event (March 24-29) was comprised of a twoday
qualifying series and a three-day championship series. Twenty-two sailors qualified to be in
the championship group “Gold Fleet” and to compete for the overall event title. Nico Parlier
hailing from France won the qualifying series with Monoco sailor Maxime Nocher, fellow
Frenchman Julien Kerneur, and 2014 tour champion John Heineken all close behind. In the
qualifying series individuals sail conservatively to ensure their spot in the championship series.
Make no mistakes and try not to get caught in a foul, that’s the mantra in the qualifications. But
once championship series sailing begins it is game on. And although Parlier won the qualifying
series by a few points over his rivals, it was still anyone’s guess as to who would win the event
The Championship series began with a scoreboard wiped nearly clean as qualifying scores were
reduced to only one non-discardable score. Eleven races would be sailed for the upcoming
championship series and Parlier started with one point, Nocher with two, Kerneur with three, and
Heineken with four. Axel Mazella (FRA) and Joey Pasquali (USA) started the series with a five
and a six respectively. Conditions in the qualifying were light to moderate with a light onshore
easterly. Mexican competitor Santiago Ramirez gasped as he returned to the beach, “the level is
so much higher” pointing out that riders are faster and more stable around the course. Sailors
mostly used their “big kites” sized 15m2 to 18m2 but with a stronger wind forecast and the newly
cleaned scoreboard the stage was set for the nail-biter of a championship.
This fully developmental fleet is witnessing an intense flurry of equipment advancements. New
hydrofoils moreover new kites (sails) were debuted down here in Mexico at this tour kickoff
regatta. To that end, Playa Central Beach Club produced a “Foil Expo” in the two days prior to
the event. Hydrofoil manufacturers, kite builders, and board shapers were all invited to show off
their new products for 2015. As pro riders prepared for the regatta the new gear and sailors were
buzzing up and down the beach at speeds which seemed even faster than just a few months
Sailing a simple two-lap windward/leeward course at 1.1-1.4 nautical miles from top to bottom
these sailors are burning out races in fifteen minutes time. Split tacks and split jibes, occasionally
port tacking the fleet, shift leverage, mark roundings, and maneuvers are all part of this game.
And speed, don’t forget speed. For the first time ever the hydrofoiling kiteboard broke the fifteen
knot upwind vmg mark, and it was done racing in eight-knots of wind. Downwind sailing in 7-8
knots is producing straight-line speed of twenty-nine knots, almost quadruple.
The championship (Gold Fleet) series did not disappoint. Four light air races were sailed on the
first day of championship racing ending with Parlier, Nocher, and Heineken in a three-way tie
for first with points and Nocher one point behind them. Day two of championship, sailed on
medium kites in 14-18 knots ended with Nocher with a slight lead over Heineken and Parlier.
The final day started with a light easterly and the Race Committee squeezed in two races for the
Gold Fleet. After two races a short “AP” was signaled to wait for wind and the scores were all
tied up once again. Nico Parlier sitting in first in a tie-breaker with Nocher and Heineken in third
place just one point behind. The riders and Race Committee waited out the wind until 1800h
when the “AP over A” was displayed. Nico Parlier wins the first stop of the tour in a tie-breaker.
Playa Central Beach Club and the City of La Ventana hosted this event in prime fashion. Stable
breeze, bare feet, and bathing suits are just part of the status quo at this booming beach town.
Playa Central Beach Club’s world famous margaritas, gourmet local-vore menu, and wood fired
oven put the cherry on top of the sundae makes it one of the best beach clubs in the world. The
next stop of the KiteFoil Gold Cup tour in will be hosted by the famed St. Francis Yacht Club
followed up by a tour stop at the beautiful Townsville Sailing Club in Queensland, Australia.
First Overall – Nico Parlier (FRA)
Top Woman – Erika Heineken (USA)
Top Master (+35) – Stefaans Viljoen (RSA)
Top Grandmaster (+45) – Herve Rousseau (FRA)
Top Great Grandmaster (+55) – Gabor Vagi (BUL)
Top Youth (<20) – Nico Parlier (FRA)
Top Junior (<18) – Axel Mazella (FRA)
Daily Write-ups – http://www.kitenews.fr/foil/gold-cup-foil-tour-competition/
Qualifying Results – http://sailwave.com/results/kitefoillaventanaqual.htm
Championship Series Results – http://www.sailwave.com/results/15kitefoilgoldcupmexfinals.htm
Tour Website – http://kitefoilgoldcup.com/