Slovenian Teenager Toni Vodisek seizes three consecutive tour stop victories at the KiteFoil World Series in China. Having just clinched the win at the third and penultimate act of the 2019 KiteFoil World Series in challenging conditions off Pingtan island, eastern China.
Vodisek, 19, dominated each of the tour’s three events with scintillating pace and raw power that gave him the edge over rivals among the world’s fastest kitefoil racers. He is now poised to lift the coveted International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) KiteFoil world titles, but will still have work to do to seal the deal at the series’ closing act on Poetto Beach, Cagliari, on the Italian resort island of Sardinia next month.
Vodisek, who scaled kitefoil racing’s heights this year after several years of promise, racked up bullets in more than half the races in Pingtan, a repeat of his remarkable feat a week earlier at the first China tour stop in Weifang Binhai.
“I’m so pleased,” said Vodisek. “At the start I wasn’t expecting this here in Pingtan with the strong winds. I’ve never raced in such strong winds. Everyone was really close. So I’m super-happy. I got bullets in more than 50 percent of the races, the same as last week.”
The Pingtan tour stop’s final fifth day saw no racing after the mounting wind and seas whipped up by a passing typhoon finally made competition unsafe for the athletes. But after 17 high-octane races over four days’ hectic action in breezes of up to 27kts, a rolling swell and growing shore-break, none quibbled that the victors had more than earned their share of the $40,000 prize purse.
Vodisek’s stellar record speaks for itself, but the young Slovenian did not have it all his own way on the Yellow Sea track, constantly harried by the French trio of Axel Mazella, Théo de Ramecourt and Formula Kite world champion, Nico Parlier.
“Finally, I’m happy,” said Mazella. “I’m really pleased with my second place. I’m feeling better for sure, but still very tired. It’s tough to face the best competition in the world over nearly 40 races in just two weeks. That’s a lot.”
Reigning KiteFoil world champion, Kirstyn O’Brien (USA), has the bruises to prove the tough conditions after several hard crashes in the increasingly-gnarly conditions of day four. But she still held her second podium step just ahead of Russia’s Elena Kalinina.
“I’m really pleased with second,” said O’Brien. “After my first crash I sailed a little more conservatively, but then in the last race I was pushing and crashed again. Still, it’s good to see I’m getting closer to where I want to be with my goals.”
2019 KiteFoil World Series Pingtan (overall)
1 Toni Vodisek (SLO) – Ozone R1 V3
2 Axel Mazella (FRA) – Ozone R1 V3
3 Théo de Ramecourt (FRA)
2019 KiteFoil World Series Pingtan (women)
1 Daniela Moroz (USA)
2 Kirstyn O’Brien (USA) – Ozone R1 V3
3 Elena Kalinina (RUS)
Words – edited from the official release statement by Ian MacKinnon – Chief Editor International Kiteboarding Association