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Its a 20km sprint from Rottnest Island to Leighton through a busy shipping channel with a confused water state & plenty of clumps of seaweed to throw you off! This year for the first time, Guy joined the race, using his levitaz hydrofoil & 9mtr kite Guy was fast all the way – close 2nd to Nico Parlier.
The final for the World Sailing Cup in Melbourne took place off St. Kilda in a wide range of conditions from 12 – 35knots over the 6 days. A great test for all the athletes that had made the journey to compete in this inaugural event that was in no doubt set to remind worldsailing & the IOC why kiteboarding should become part of the Olympic Games in 2020.
The fleet of 20 were split into 2 and 6 races took place each day to determine Gold & silver fleet. The short Track Format was tested which meant for much tighter courses, a close field of racing & a more clear vision for spectators to see who was winning. Boat Handling skills & a decent start paramount in these 8 minute races where if you crashed you lost everything. No room for gear failure or being sloppy, this format became ‘next level’ on day 3 when the wind blew in onshore 30-35knots and all other sailing was cancelled for the day – all except the foiling kites! The shallow waters off Port Elizabeth meant that the sea state remained rough for the next day while people continued to ride on their small kites. Day 5, the day of medal races where all can be lost or gained in a show down of 3 medal races back to back that are non discardable. A format which gives huge added pressure to the athletes, this time saw Olly Going in with a 15 point lead to his brother – Guy who was separated by just 2 points between Florian Grubber & Florian Trittle for 3rd & 4th Places.
The kites took to the stadium which was a small area close to the beach with live data displayed on a big screen and all angles / speeds bought to the beach with some decent live commentary. This was it – the real thing! Foiling kites racing a round a track that is visual where there are plenty of opportunities to gain/ loose/ crash. Olly’s first rounding of the top mark saw him take a huge stack in some seaweed and this got the crowd going: suddenly the favourite to win that has won every race up until now has just crashed hard & struggling to re-start. Olly put the roomers to bed in race 2 & 3 with blinding starts & sailing his best to take Gold in the World Sailing Final. The job was not so easy for 2nd, 3rd & 4th where all but a point separated the 3 athletes, leaving nothing to chance it was the final reach to the finish that saw Guy hold onto podium position but not the colour he wanted! Guy’s crash in race 2 had cost him the silver which went to Spannish rider – Florian Trittle with just 1 point away Guy Took 3rd while Florian Grubber stayed in 4th place.
Exciting times for the sport right now – Like it or not the short track format is here to stay if this sport gets to the Olympic Games. Kiteboarding is leading the way in what the IOC want to see and although the long upwind/ downwind legs were not used – its funny how the same people still win. In fact, the sailor just had to step up their game.
Speed with Guy Martin – Channel 4We were contacted by Channel 4 to see if we would be able to introduce ‘Guy Martin’ to ‘Hydrofoiling’. This would be part of his series on “Speed’ & since we have a wealth of knowledge on foiling & coaching, Edgewatersports was the chosen venue to work with Team Bridge. Similar to what is seen on the America’s Cup boats now, this is a skill that involves balancing above the water on a set of wings that work in a way similar to aeroplane wings.Guy is trying to beat the speed record for a human powered boat so it was felt that this skill would be invaluable to give him the muscle memory needed to use his custom built weapon that would see him challenge this record.Guy arrived at our watersports centre & shop- ‘Edgewatersports’ and it was obvious immediately that we were going to get along. We started with the balance board which Guy cracked straight away. It is difficult to replicate the feeling of foiling, but this comes quite close in that it involves your weight over the board & switching on the small muscles in your body.Time was tight so we soon equipped Guy with a wetsuit, impact vest & Helmet ready for his day learning to hydrofoil. Guy was no ‘waterman’, this was his first experience in a wetsuit!!!We took a selection of boards and used Exe Wake to assist us with boats. The fastest way to learn to hydrofoil is behind a boat. Since Guy had never had the feeling of being pulled up on a wakeboard before, we needed to get this feel natural. This was shortly followed by the feeling of a directional board which gave the feeling of being rode flat on the water.Following a demonstration by our middle son- Guy (now re-named big Guy) who is one of the top Hydrofoil racers in the world and myself, it was time for Guy to give it his best shot. The boat needed to be driven slower to enable guy to gain control of the foil when he was riding along the water. Any small movement the wrong way and you are off. So- as you can imagine there was plenty of crashes!! But as we know, Guy is not scared of crashing!!! Certainty not one to give up, Guy picked himself up & was determined to crack the beast!This is a skill that most take 20hours to learn & Guy had set himself the challenge to learn it in 1 day so this was always going to be ambitious. Exhaustion in his arms & mental concentration soon took the better of him and although Guy had not cracked it, he had had moments of riding along & the feel of foiling. A break for lunch aboard the River Exe Cafe and it was time for more practice. An amazing listener & learner, it was a real honour to work with Guy Martin. He even came back to our house & had a cup of tea before he left to travel back to Grimsby for work the following day – ‘Top Bloke’!!!!The opportunity was made possible with the support of Volvo and Into The Blue. Watch the TV programme here:6mins 30secs into the show is the Exmouth Clip
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Exmouth Kitesurfer wins Mens Grand Slam in Sardinia
2016 Has been a bit of a transitional year for me. It started in January still non weight bearing on my right leg following surgery on a fracture in my knee joint at the end of October 2015. By April the injury had heeled up to the extent that I was able to start training again and get back on the water. The first event of the season took place in Holland for the European Juniors title in midMay.
We went there with only about 3 or 4 training sessions under my belt. I managed to win the event but hadn’t really ridden as well as I know that I can. After that I decided to ease off the events and just concentrate on getting stronger and riding better for the future.
In September it became clear that there was an opportunity to go to Sardinia for the last Grand Slam event of the year. The school agreed to the time off and Dad and I headed off to Porto Pollo in the North of Sardinia to have a go in the main draw of my first Men’s international event.
As I had no seeding it was all down to the draw to see who I would be riding against in the first round. It turned out that I was competing against the number 2 seed for the event Ariel Corniel from the Dominican Republic, a pretty tough opener! After 2 days of no wind the event kicked off and soon enough I was on the water against Ariel. After a good heat, I was delighted to have won and advanced straight to the third round.
After Progressing again into the fourth round we had probably the most important heat with 3 riders and only the winner progressing to the semi-final. I was up against 2 Italian Riders and managed to squeeze past them and into the semi-final. Here I rode again against Ariel who had worked his way back through the ladder after our first-round heat. This time the heat was far closer with both of us riding at a much higher level than the first round. I was stoked to win and get into the final!!
Here I rode against Italian Champion Gianmaria Coccoluto. I had a bad start to the heat crashing my first 3 tricks! After that I rode better landing solid tricks including a back mobe 5, Slim 5 and front blind mobe. However he was also riding really well and I knew I needed a big trick at the end of the heat to give me a chance of the win. Fortunately, in the last minute I managed to land a double handle pass whilst he crashed the same trick. Coming off the water I was really happy that I had ridden a good heat and done all I could for the win it was now just down to the judges to add up the scoring and come up with the result.
As you can imagine hearing that I had won was pretty special and I still can’t really believe it! Its left me really inspired to continue training over the winter to make a concerted effort on the world tour next year. It was all possible thanks to my sponsors North Kiteboarding, Volvo Cars, Edge Watersports, Ion, Cat Rugged Phones and CTI Braces. And also to the organisation Of the International Kiteboarding association and the event organisers and sponsors in Sardinia.
Olly Takes Silver, Steph Bronze & Guy 2nd Under 18′s in ChinaThe 2016 Formula Kite Hydrofoil World Championships held in Weifang, China bought a mix of especially light winds and a 1 day storm that bought big seas & extra challenges unexpected for this area. For Guy, this was his first World Championships and entering the Qualifying series on day 1 was confident in his speed & preparation. Fresh from the Mauritius stop, Olly also had now come up against all the riders and knew where he was placed in this field. For Steph, knowing that her overall role was as mum/ coach/ mentor to the 2 boys but yet also to ensure a good stab at the young fleet of female competitors. The days training up to the event had been very fickle with just 30minutes of wind as the sun was setting. So, when the arrival of a strong onshore storm wind arrived on day 2, we were all relieved but also not entirely prepared for this unexpected sea & wind state. Following 4 twin tip races & 4 foil races, the day came with many up’s & down’s. A disappointed Guy who broke a footstrap & missed 1 of the races while Olly took some heavy crashes downwind in the rolling sea & strengthening gusty winds. Steph also found the conditions a challenge but revelled in the glory on the 1st overall twin tip riding the North Spike Textreme.The next couple of days that followed bought measurement,kite tunning, sanding of foils, Olympic Discussions and many hours waiting for any hope to ensure more racing.Day 5 & 6 bought the 6knots that would allow us all to get racing underway & draw the event to a close. Olly raced fast but took 1 mistake that would subsequently cost him his world Tittle, racing for the finish when he still had a final round to go, this cost Olly 8 places. A hard lesson in such a competitive fleet, there is no hiding.Guy also had more bad luck, breaking his hydrofoil in the morning meant that this pushed Guy down to 15th place so there would be no medal Races for the 17year Old that was all he wished for.For steph it was a hard fight to stay close to the young Russian – Eleanor Kalinina and American Daniel Moroz. Despite some great starts, steph seems to be making 3rd place finishes all too often.Medal race Day brings all the pressure to the athletes with so much weight on all the races. The format is short races – men – woman – men etc and all of the races are countable. Judging is on the water & just 10 riders from each fleet. A very fortunate experience for Steph who gets to witness Olly’s every move and have a brief chat in between. For Olly he had all to gain but also all to loose in the challenging waters. Where luck counted for alot with so much debris & bamboo floating there were times when this just knocked you for the foil and others when you had to sail with the bamboo straggling underneath like an anchor!!Olly demonstrated that under pressure his performance was outstanding, making great starts & Laylines around the course. As the breeze became 8knots steph gained more speed on her Rivals, showing she is a force to be reckoned with for future events. Steph takes the bronze position in the womans Fleet.As the points were added up back on the beach there was celebration as Maxime Nocher from Monaco & Daniella Morez from USA became the new 2016 KiteFormula World Champions. Olly took vice Champion for the second year running while Guy took 2nd in the under 18’s division and 14th Overall in the mens ranking.Team Bridge thank the support of Volvo, Levitaz Foils, NorthKiteboarding, ION wetsuits, Cat Rugged Phones, The BeachHouse Exmouth and Edgewatersports.The Team prepare for the challenges down under in December where the final pro tour stop takes place & the ISAF World sailing Cup Final in Melborne.www.team-bridge.com
A few days coaching for formula & foil board around the warm & windy shores of Perth, Olly & Steph took a slight detour on their way back from the Arab states! Along with a handful of training runs from 10KM out, we also are able to get the back leg familiar with the hard chop, sea weed & stamina needed for the inaugural RedBull L2L race on sat 6th Dec.
Below is Olly remembering the freestyle feel at Woodmans Point , picture taken with Billy Hamptons Drone
The second stop of the Foil Gold Cup was held 2000mtrs above sea level on Lake Silvaplanna in Switzerland. People travelled from around the globe to compete in this new discipline to determine who is the best foil racer. Olly, Guy & steph all competed in the 4 day event which bought challenging conditions to the lake with an unseasonal colder mountain wind. Every day a school day with new learning areas including the use of the foil kites with the foil board on a big fleet start line. Tactics played a huge part as well as the skill to keep the kites in the air especially near the edges of the lake where the course was set. After 4 days of racing Olly took 2nd to Johnny Heineken from san Francsisco while Guy took a solid 8th Place & 1st Youth. Steph won the womans division and beat the current Foil World champion from France. The team packed and went straight to the Formula World Championships in Istanbul.
The 2nd PKRA world youth freestyle championships were held at St Pere Pescador in the Bay of Roses- Northern Spain from 30 June till 4th July. Over 50 competitors turned up from all over the world including Hawaii , Japan, Phillipines and Mauritius. The competitors were split into 5 age categories 2 for the girls and 3 for the boys.On the first day the event started and was served up some gusty windy conditions from the south. In the youngest age Category riding North kites Karim Mahmoud from Egypt set the tone for the rest of the week with some powerful riding winning this age group.Soon the older categories got started with Tom Bridge showing why he was the favorite for the title in the 12-14 years category with some impressive moves. Also progressing well to the semi final was Christian Tio from Boracay who was showing why he is a rider to watch out for in the future with some stylish powered riding.In the eldest Boys Category best placed North Rider was Guy Bridge who made his way against solid competitors till the semi finals ending up in 4th Place. Also riding well in this category was Yaya Ochiai from Japan who rode well but had a tough heat in the second round and looks to the doubles to progress through the field.Over the next 2 days the singles were completed with Tom beating Christian in the semis before dominating the final and winning the single eliminations with Cristian taking 3rd place . The doubles then started but were dogged by light and gusty winds taking until the last day of the event to reach the final heats. Guy managed to maintain his position finishing 4th. In the 12 -14 category Christian Tio improved his position one place ending 2nd behind Tom Bridge a great first and 2nd for North Kiteboarding.