2018 IKA KiteFoil GoldCup World Series, Italy
Monaco's Maxime Nocher trumpeted his comeback when he lifted the KiteFoil world champion's crown after a stuttering World Series final fought out on the Italian resort island of Sardinia. Nocher added to his haul of world titles at the climax of the three-stop International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) KiteFoil World Series, with a second podium spot at the Sardinia Kiteboard Grand Slam earned him the tour's best overall racer.
Kite foiling in Sardinia
The three-times Formula Kite World Champion was bested at the series-closing Sardinia event by bitter rival, France's Nico Parlier. He took the win and a share of the ?20,000 prize money at the five-day competition dogged by fickle breezes. Britain's Guy Bridge took a bullet with superlative racing in the only race of the final day on the track off Cagliari's Poetto Beach, leaving both Nocher and Parlier in his wake in the smooth waters under the Sella del Diavolo (Devil's Saddle) promontory.
Fellow countryman Connor Bainbridge finished the Sardinia finale in the fourth spot just behind Germany's Florian Gruber. But it was enough for him to take the KiteFoil World Series' second podium spot after strong performances in the back-to-back stops in China last month, marking his leap up the rankings.
The women's KiteFoil World Series title was taken by Kirstyn O'Brien (USA), after she alone competed at all three stops, ahead of Daniela Moroz (USA) and Elena Kalinina (RUS). The late cancellation of the planned final in Oman meant racers could not discard a score from any event. O'Brien made a last minute decision to switch plans and compete in Cagliari after the Oman event fell through, one that paid off for her when she lifted the title.
Moroz, the triple Formula Kite World Champion, topped the women's podium at the Sardinia Grand Slam ahead of Britain's Steph Bridge. The American teenager was pleased with her performance that saw her finish a remarkable thirteenth overall, racing among the strong mixed fleet.