The 2013 IKA European Kiteracing Championships kicked off today at Hang Loose Beach in Gizzeria, Italy. More than 90 riders from all over the world are in attendance of this event, in total there are 26 nations and 4 continents represented, apart from the European countries as far as from New Zealand and Santa Lucia.
The 74 competitors in the men’s fleet were split into two flights and kicked off the opening day with 4 races. The weather was around 12 knots in the morning and as the day went on, increased to 18 knots offering some great conditions for racing.
With the fleets clearly going for the starboard side of the starting line it was two fast windward-leeward legs before the short reach to the finish line. A great performance from many riders saw fast paced and close racing at the top places, with a surprise outcome for Russia’s new entry, Doronin who scored two bullets, a third and a second, to lead the day with the Italian Leccese following with just one point behind. France’s Dansin also delivered a steady performance with three second places and holds an overall leaderboard position of third. It was all about the start today, and taking the advantage off the line. The stable breeze eliminated the luck factor, ensuring the best riders were shining at the front.
In the women’s fleet it was the young Russian Kalinina who dominated the 18 riders, leaving the much more experienced Bridge from Great Britain in second place and battling it out with Holland’s Roose. Kalinina made her appearance at the Kite Africans in March and her skills defy her young age of only 15 years old. She made a big impression in Egypt and clearly demonstrated her potential to have a great future in the sport. Bridge on the other hand has many years of kite racing experience and shares her passion with her son, who is also racing here and scored a bullet in the first race of the men’s fleet today.
Tomorrow the men’s fleet continues with the qualification races before they split up into Gold and Silver on Friday. The women race as one fleet until the medal series on Sunday.
Top 5 after Day 1:
1. Riccardo Leccesse (ITA, Ozone/Mikes Lab) – 4 pts
2. Ivan Doronin (RUS, Ozone) – 6 pts
3. Blazej Ozog (POL, North) – 6.3 pts
4. Wilson Veloso (BRA) – 7 pts
5. Oliver Bridge (GBR, North) – 8 pts
1. Elena Kalinina (RUS, Elf/Temavento) – 3 pts
2. Katja Roose (NED, Airush) – 6 pts
3. Steph Bridge (GBR, North) – 7 pts
4. Christine Boenniger (GER, Flysurfer) – 13 pts
5. Agnieszka Grzymska (POL, Ozone) – 13 pts
The daily video can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fq8_osmiG0