” Experience can`t be learned and every experience is worth having!”
Last week, the 15th -20th of September 2020 The Formula Kite Mixed Team Relay Europeans took place. It was the first dedicated event in the 2024 Olympic racing format. One format – 20 team – existing out of one man and one woman – 9 nations all together at one lake: The Traunsee in Austria. Might be even one of the last events for the European winter time. Well, I have to admit I have never been in Austria in summer time. Austria proofed itself to be a nice kitefoiling scene and a perfect summer destination – although it wasn’t that warm on the water all days.
The format is mixed team relay so that means one man and one woman from the same nationality form a team. Together with Sven as team buddy and Casper as the coach we travelled to Austria to discover this new Olympic racing format and squeeze some points in for the Netherlands in this European Championship.
It is our very first team relay (besides a little try-out the day before we left from the 2nd stop of the Kitefoilcupholland). Personally, I have seen different try outs last year on the individual formula kite worlds and the Europeans. Unfortunately I could never participate, by than I was alone and without a team or coach. Super stoked that since last year Kitefoilteamnl started. It’s a trainings group formed by fanatic kitefoilers of the Netherlands with Casper Bouman as our coach. Everything is super new for all of us and the level of the competition was super high. Each event the level is rising and big steps are taken – That I know already! Especially when knowing the sport will be in the Olympics of 2024, all countries are forming teams and finding ways to train and develop themselves to be the best. That’s exactly the reason we give the European team relay a GO. Didn`t expect anything, we had no idea what to expect anyway! We have to start somewhere so this journey will be one big experience for all of us. Bringing home more knowledge that we can use to grow our skills and rise the level within our team so we grow together and pass the knowledge on to next generations. All with the goal to reach the top level and compete international. Besides that, this event we set the focus on our own small goals, be better than the day before. Have fun, make mistakes and learn.
The first days Lake Traunsee delivered some perfect, sunny 18m weather! We had a little tour around the lake, enjoying the nice surrounding and views from the water. In Holland we only see the water, dunes or the beach – no mountains indeed our country is flat as a pancake. Also the past weeks we had strong wind and waves back home. And now? Amazed by how flat the water can be!
The first two days are super difficult for us – but we did learn every race. We will compete in fleets of 6 teams, back to back -3 fleets. The first day the men start the second day the woman starts. Changeover is a swimming relay – from the water. The last finishing team member that is what counts for the score. The day the competition started the weather decided to be a bit difficult. The locals promised us if there are no clouds there will be wind later on – the thermal breeze will kick in – sure thing. But if there are clouds… We played a little waiting game before the AP suddenly went down. We managed to do 2 races before the wind died off again. Some parts of the course had a lot of wind while suddenly in the other end the wind disappeared. Luckily everyone struggled a bit into this conditions – blame the clouds.
Second day, again the wind has been on and off, super light and strange. Some moments nothing at all, while some moments it was perfect. In between the AP sends us back to the beach or again out on the water. A big challenge already started early on the beach not to fly away starting my kite at the little grass launch area (thanks to the English coach holding my feet on the ground)- not to get tangled – end up swimming before even starting the race. The light wind conditions were difficult -but for everyone. As well as the course is super short and with a lot of movements – so no mistakes allowed.
Story of these days: I made a super light wind tack and crashed the easy gybe after… missed out on the finish mark but luckily or not my teambuddy was already swimming in the light wind of the changeover area. That all happens, without mistakes we never learn. This day our focus was related to the starts and change overs. To make them perfectly on time – which is totally not that easy as it looks like. As well as doing these simple things good – no matter the conditions. And that’s where we did a good job in the last 4 races of the day. Showing we grow in the event.
The third & fourth day
Qualification series are done and the fleet will split up into gold, silver and bronze. Ups and downs for everyone the past days. From this day we had to race in the bronze fleet and try to make our way up as far as we can. Focusing on that changeover and the first starts. As well as staying out of trouble. Some fun and close racing we had in this fleet. Happy with the progress we made and making up for the first days. Getting to know the format and getting used to the track with the gybes and laylines. Starting to understand what is important and seeing what we can improve to get the best out of ourselves. Work on our technical skill, time/ distance management . And also starting to get used to the foil and the kites everyday a bit more. We took every race as a new begin and went for it. The only down point might be the waiting time on the water – which is a bit long and the spot not that big.
Called: Super Sunday. It’s the day of the finals. We unfortunately didn’t made it to the top 2 in our fleet to get a change to race the finals. But we did our best and learned a lot! We had one last race today, with the 15ms –finally. This day we finally could decide who started first and who second. We mixed it up a bit to have some fun – Ending up 17th overall.
That’s it for us now it`s time to watch the exciting finals & have some fun ourselves after – this lake is to enjoy after all! J Thanks for racing and showing us ow its done sometimes. Congratz to Connor and Ellie of the British team winning the final and becoming European champions 2020!
A lot learned and a lot to learn
The format is exciting – fast and fun. I like the part of the changeover and that it is a team relay. The short course is fun and technical and makes it exciting especially when its super close racing at the bottom marks. It took me some time to find my way through this format and to focus on the things needed. I had to make some mistakes to learn that. What I enjoyed too is that it`s bringing up another level of game play and strategy. From not knowing what to do and what to expect to developing more knowledge and skills. The last days I started to get it, had more fun racing and now I am even more motivated for what’s coming the next events!
Glad we managed to go to this event at least with one team and bringing home a loooooooot of good experience to share with the rest of kitefoilteamnl. ” Experience can`t be learned and every experience is worth having!”. We are not there yet but closer every day! And I believe as a team together we can do this and rise the level of the kitefoiling in The Netherlands. So we can participate and represent the Dutch with more teams next time!