For the first time I travelled with just a foil and foilkites to my first Formula Kite World Championship. Secretly I was not convinced, not yet. Am I good enough? Should I go ? Do I have the right registered gear? I didn’t used them, yet… Is this a good idea? .. The answer to this question, I don’t know, nobody knows. I am the only one who can find that out. And the only way to find that out is to go, isn`t it?
30th of April – Registration Day
So here I am: Lake Garda in Italy. Never thought, there would be any possibility to kite here. Or to be part at something in directions of a world tour and new Olympic discipline…BUT: My name was on the list., all kites are registered, hydrofoil registered, event stickers are done, lycra in my hands, there is no way out anymore: This week I will be representing the Dutch / and myself during the Formula Kite world Championships at Lake Garda. In between 31 woman and 90 man from 29 different nations I will be competing. 4 days are reserved for individual racing and 1 day for the mixed team event (Olympic part) that is going to be tested (means one more training day for me ).
It’s time to switch over from freestyle, snowkiting to Formula Kite Racing. Learning the rules, flags and the track again before the first day of competing will start. I have been reading that notice board over and over with my question marked face … no square box for the tricks, no points for extreme, turns or high – HELP. What am I going to do? But secretly I know thats my strong point, just jump in it and learn. No time for overthinking – like always. And with the trust of my brothers, my mum & dad, nothing can go wrong is it? Just like the old days in skiing, running, swiming, dancing, soccer, kiting freestyle………………
“Sometimes you win sometimes you learn”
Day 1: Well, day one was stated as a light wind day. What that means, no idea? 15m? 18m? Because the beach exists out of rocks, is just big enough for three kites (with super short lines – clearly not mine), the wind is slightly coming from behind the trees, we have to launch with the help of the beach Marshalls and by turn. This doesn’t make it easy (or even possible) to try out a kite, to come back land a kite and switch over to another size. My feeling says it’s not a particular light wind day.. its windy isn’t it? Think I still have to learn something at this point. Where I usually would take the 11m , I saw as smallest kite a 15m flying in the sky. That’s one of the advantage of being last: looking what the others do!
Still so many questions , but eventually I have to do it, on the water and racing! Today there will be individual racing, races divided into 4 fleets. We will go on the water with two fleets and do two races after each other, than the other two fleets will race. For the start you have to look at the flags of the start boat really good – here I surprised myself by being on time for every start. For the woman, we did three races today, which I all rode with the 15m. It was definitely not my best race ever, with a kite I never flew before, a bar /depower I couldn’t reach and a foil I used (don`t laugh) literally for 20 minutes. The first girls were really fast, the rest I could hang on to. I lost it on the details, the longer lines, the quick maneuverers, reading the course……Another learning point of the day.
Day 2: Is all about testing the future Olympic team race format. A team of 1 woman and 1 man from the same country will race together as a team. One track with a change of racer in the middle, along the changing area. Who is joining me next time?
Day 3 : This day the weather is not on our side. Right on the moment the first fleet enters the water, there appears a big rain cloud over the top of the mountain, with some thunder which is making it impossible to race today.
Day 4: Didn`t looked like the perfect day but, surprisingly end of the day there appears a steady light wind out of the right direction. Not much, but enough for racing. Knowing that with my friend the old(est on the course) 18m it always end up in swimming.. (especially in competition lycra) I am not convinced yet. Just hoping it keeps on flying – this time.
On the water its oke , and I have the advantage that I am not crashing any gybe or tack, can make them with some speed. Today for the first time I enjoyed it out there! I manage to win some places and get the feeling I can control myself, the timing of the gybes/tacks, the foil and the foilkites more and more. Just after the finish of the fourth race, the wind decides to. Yes to stop…luckily I am professional in packing up an 18m foil kite on the water
In general – today and the whole event- I have been racing pretty constant, around the 18th – 21st place. Without risk, a clean finish. Taking risk can be done later , I know now how its done – another learning point where is a lot to win left .
Day 5: This day was one off all, all different weather conditions in one, storm, snow in the mountains, rain, sun , waves, 3 degrees and …….. no racing. It wasn’t safe to go on the water neither to launch a foilkite if there was already any beach left. Hoping that the wind would be less during the day, we all know that the change is really small – it didn’t happen and that was the end of The Formula Kite World Championships 2019.
I did enjoy the first time travelling with just a foil and foilkites and my first international Formula Kite Competition. It was definitely another new adventure and great experience, racing in between the fastest girls of the world. Launching of the small (!!) gravel, having all kind of weather conditions, seeing complete teams with support boats on the water and a super nice scenery for racing once out there
Coming here wouldn’t be easy , I know that beforehand, especially not after all the snowkiting and the few days back on the water and the foil. I also know that I still had (and have) to learn and adjust a lot equipment wise as in the competition itself. Not expecting anything, without any goal I stepped in this competition and ended up as 18th overall. Might be not the result I hoped for, but a very fair result compared with training hour, experience and the used equipment. I must say I was a little impressed about the coach boats, support boats, teams around me .Formula Kite is much more than just going upwind and downwind – riding a hydrofoil – a lot of details come with it. Which I still have to find out – sometime and in some way. HELP
That said, I just found my next goal! Looking forward to climb the ranking and some real training! …. Remind me, next time I should bring a team partner too! and maybe, just maybe a seat harnesssss…
THANKS to everyone helping me out – even if it was last – minute! Fixing lines, helmet, boards, borrowing kites, not to forget all the tips and messages Without YOU guys I wouldn’t have been here in the first place!! Next will be some more foiling, but … Maybe a little freestyle in the dessert first 🙂