2017 HFPT Mexico Final Day- It’s a wrap
The 1st stop of the 2017 Hydrofoil racing season had a grand opening with various wind conditions that made for an even playing field for all racers. La Ventana lived up to its windy reputation, rated #1 kite destination in the world in 2011 by the Discovery Channel and the rest is history. La Ventana is the opening event each year on the Hydrofoil Pro Tour – its official, the 2017 race tour circuit has begun!
This was another event that will go down in history as one of the most intense competitions to date. 57 Riders from 23 Countries gathered to battle it out on the course, set by Rob Dean – official race director of Hydrofoil racing since 2014. By the end of Day 4, on March 29th, Maxime Nocher, once again, was awarded as Champion of the 1st stop of the Hydrofoil Pro Tour, representing Monaco. Not far behind was Oliver Bridge GBR in second place, followed by Axel Mazella FRA, then Riccardo Leccese ITA, and closing the top 5 is Florian Trittel ESP. The top 10 included Nicolas Parlier FRA in 6th, Florian Gruber GER in 7th, Julien Kerneur FRA in 8th, Martin Dolenc CRO in 9th and Theo Lhostis FRA closing the top 10 with Europeans. Competition amongst the riders has gotten close. As stated on Day 1, the Europeans saw the bar set high and have met that bar and surpassed the American athletes during the opening of the 2017 race season.
There were 6 women registered in the race – in 1st place Daniela Moroz USA, 2nd place Gina Hewson AUS and 3rd Cath Dufour CAN, 4th Bitna Kim KOR. We are looking forward to a growing female fleet in the races to come.
There are major benefits of getting the top hydrofoil racers and manufacturers together, being leaders in the industry. There are conversations that are facilitated when chilling on the beach, waiting for wind and the chit chat that apres kite happy hour entices. Playa Central served as the heart of the action for the duration of the event. The topics that rang loudly were new developments in safety (harnesses, helmets and vests) after 2 of the 57 athletes injured their ribs during training sessions – Sam Bullock and Joey Pasquali, who toughed it out and continued to support the races as spectators. The riders and judges also discussed the changes in some of the kite sailing rules, how it will affect the outcomes of protests and how race directors have new responsibilities to the riders to set the course with these new rules in mind – this is why Dean is admired and loved by the riders and organizers. He runs a perfect regatta, pulls it off every time and makes it look so easy.
This year the drone footage that was captured will make you feel you were here, pilot Petr Kokes and credit must be given to Sebastian Tron Media for getting in the water with those blades and swimming in between those buoys to get the perfect shots.
“Can’t wait to come back to La Ventana in 2018.” “We just want to race.”
“See you in Montpellier.
See you in San Francisco.”
Those were the sentences spoken over and over amongst those who attended. One topic avoided by the riders was, sailing politics – it is clear that the riders have faith that the organizers of this tour have their best interests in mind and are pushing for their recognition – the popularity of the tour speaks for itself. There are rider sponsorships in sight for individuals and the athletes
are being approached for R&D by manufacturers, designers are sharing information and the hydrofoil industry is quickly accelerating the advances and expectations of the gear. Thanks to these new ideas, there are is a bigger effort on behalf of the manufacturers to produce better products in the kiteboarding industry.
The riders want to train, race, train some more and race again. There is a champion in each and every one of the riders who attended the tour. While IFKO and IKA, are battling it out for the ownership of the sport and World Sailing has appeared to have made its decision not to give Kiteracing a medal for Tokyo 2020. One thing is for sure, the riders of the HFPT have one thing on their mind – speed, fun, community and progression of our sport.
While boards turn in to magic carpets, flying 1 meter above the water and fins turn into underwater airplanes with wings that boil, the kite racing board set up is redefined by riders and manufacturers as sailing vessels, no longer called a simple board. “We are sailors,” said Moroz, named female Champion of the competition and ROLEX Yachtswoman of the Year.
Many of the competitors stayed extra time and/or arrived early to enjoy the rest of the sights around Baja. Surfing on the Pacific, and Sea Lions at Isla Cerralvo, spier fishing in the Bay and visiting some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, some say – Espiritu Santo and Balandra, for example; competitors even saw a humpback whale during their excursion while swimming with Whale Sharks in La Paz, a rare event they were lucky enough to witness. If you are looking for a foil paradise, join us in La Ventana, self-proclaimed foil capital of the world and Playa Central, a sweet spot with world famous margaritas, kite lessons, accommodations and so much more.
La Ventana season is officially from October – April and May – July there is an easterly wind that comes in every afternoon at 12-15+ knots. The weather in LV is foilable almost all year, just ask Gabor Vagi, grand master in the event for the 4th year, who gets out there every single day – literally. April 1st becomes Day 1 of the planning of the 2018 HFPT – we are getting ready for you again next year.
“This was like a World Championship! One of the toughest events I’ve been to, for sure,” said Oliver Bridge. Professional foilers, sailors, amateur foilers, manufacturers, fans, come to La Ventana where you are guaranteed at lest 60 riders from 20+ countries – this event keeps growing, and if you are in the market for a foil, this is where you want to be at the end of Day 4 of racing.
Many who have attended, like Florian Gruber, actually missed the Red Bull Snowkite Open this year due to overlapping dates with this event, being that he is the 2016 Winner means this HFPT championship destination is proving itself year after year with growing popularity. This can only mean one thing – more prize money and more opportunities for the athletes who make this spectacle possible through dedicated training and birth-granted talent.
For more information please contact