For immediate distribution
26 November, 2016
Rockingham, Western Australia
Day 1 Race Report—Hydrofoil Pro Tour, Final, Rockingham, WA
Tour Leaders Open Accounts With Emphatic Wins
IF THE final stop of the globe-trotting Hydrofoil Pro Tour got off to a slow start courtesy of uncharacteristically fickle wind, the same could not be said of the top-ranked riders in the men’s and women’s fleets.
Both France’s Nico Parlier and American Daniela Moroz scored two wins in the first day’s two races, with the 56-strong fleet conjuring a glorious spectacle for Western Australia’s Rockingham Foreshore in all its pomp on a hot summer Saturday.
The relaxed multi-cultural scene on the beach perfectly mirrored that on the water when racing eventually got underway in mid-afternoon as the breeze came, quickly picking up to around 12kts off the land and leaving the turquoise water ideally flat.
But the fabled Fremantle Doctor, a clockwork-like breeze that swiftly hits more than 20kts around lunchtime, stubbornly refused to play ball because of the hot conditions. No matter. Over the forthcoming three day of competition the “doctor” is forecast to make its presence felt.
The faltering start beneath cloudless skies, however, did nothing to spoil the party for the keenly-anticipated Hydrofoil Pro Tour’s closing stop presented by Rockingham Apartments and hosted by The Cruising Yacht Club of WA (TCYC).
The City of Rockingham, another big tour stop supporter, has now added its name to an illustrious list of spectacular and windy settings for the Pro Tour’s inaugural season, with stops at Le Ventana, Mexico, San Francisco and Pointe d’Esny, Mauritius.
But where Rockingham puts the others in the shade is turnout. From 18 nations, the 55 riders — 25 of them Australian — make up the biggest fleet of the year. The strong local contingent eager to pit their skills against the world’s fastest kitefoil racers, also perfectly illustrates a guiding beacon of what tour seeks to achieve.
To the joy of the support boats manned by TCYC race officials, local lad Mani Bisschops, the highest placed Australian, finished the day fifteenth overall, just underscores the level of local engagement.
But in the end it was the big guns who shone under the relentless Australian sun, just as they have done all year. Parlier, on his Mike’s Lab foil and Ozone R1 V2 kite, showed that he was able to perform equally well in lighter breezes.
With his characteristic white vizor against the glare, Parlier blazed around the two-and-a-half laps of the course, apparently in total control and well aware that his closest rival, Britain’s Olly Bridge, was just off his rear shoulder.
“I had clear starts both times,” he said. “I was in the middle of the line. It was good. It all worked out well for me. I was looking at Olly Bridge all the time. But I had good speed. Tomorrow it’s going to windy — and really good.”
Eighteen-year-old Bridge, fourth in the Pro Tour rankings, struggled with kite sizes. His choice of 19m Ozone R1V2, with distinctive Volvo logo and a Union Jack motif, was a little over for the first race, while the 15m he changed to for the second proved to be under.
But with a long way to go in the competition to crown the Pro Tour champion, Bridge was content with his two solid second spots on the day. Yet he knows well what he is up against in the form of the French tour leader.
“Nico Parlier really has good speed,” said Bridge. “He got away at the start better. Sometimes I gained on him in the legs, but then he went away from me.”
In the women’s fleet, even with all the top contenders on the water, none could touch Moroz. At just 15, she demonstrates skill and kiting maturity way beyond her years. Her pace left her sixteenth overall, in class of her own among the women, and just happy to be on top.
“I personally like racing with the guys,” said the smiley Moroz. “It was fun to have everyone in one field. We’re used to having these big fleets. We had them in San Francisco and Mauritius. I was on my 15m and it was perfect. In both races I stayed in towards the shore, because that’s what I was comfortable doing. For me the key is staying comfortable.”
Drone Video – Day 1 Race 1 – Sponsored by Levitaz
Overall standings after two races:
1 Nico Parlier (FRA) — 2pts
2 Oliver Bridge (GBR) — 4pts
3 Ricci Leccese (ITA) — 6pts
4 Florian Gruber (GER) — 10pts
5 Martin Dolenc (CRO) — 10pts
1 Daniela Moroz (USA) — 33pts
2 Steph Bridge (GBR) — 60pts
3 Elena Kalinina (RUS) — 64pts
4 Alexia Fancelli (FRA) — 65pts
5 Gina Hewson (AUS) — 77pts
Event Results: http://hydrofoilprotour.info/results/rockingham/
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Web News: http://hydrofoilprotour.info/tour-news/