After an intense 6 days of racing and 27 races later, the 2014 Kitefoil Gold Cup came to a close!
19 year old Champion Nico Parlier has a future like no other athlete in the sport of kiteboarding. With his humble outlook and incredible talent and ability to smile and enjoy and embrace every moment in life, he's a winner. I remember when I first met Nico, he was just getting going in the sport. We were working on his autograph in the basement of Rob Douglas house " the fastest sailor in the world” at the North American Speed Championships. Now it is Nico's turn, he really is a performer.
Nico was the man to beat from the start line to the finish of the regatta. One race about 3 days in to the event, we both had a moment we will never forget as Nico and myself had our kites tangled about 20 seconds before the start. We were completely wrapped and through each other’s lines. Laughing we both managed to jump though each other’s lines and untangle ourselves. After getting untangled we hit the start line about 15 to 20 seconds late both of us starting last and second to last. Nico rode his heart out all the way to the front of the pack to win the race as I managed to take a 4th. A magical moment we will never forget, so remember the name Nico Parlier, you will hear of him again I am sure.
The conditions down under in Townsville were perfect for foil racing on beautiful Australian waters with everyday winds of 15 to 25 knots. The locals were nothing but helpful, friendly and always there to lend a hand, got to mention "Juliet’s" the best coffee cafe around. The Townsville Sailing club was spectacular with perfect racing and organization and nothing but a first class effort for all the racers. All the riders got to experience the country's food and some of us eating a little Kangaroo and Crocodile. "Intheloop kiteboarding" and Marvin Baumeister was always on hand to lend his foil or kite to anyone in need. The Queensland events and tourism made the experience nothing but unforgettable. Riders of all ages and competing like legend Rich Gardner at 53 years of age were on hand racing their heart out with the worlds best. Some amazing women like Sophie Calliet and Gina Hewson were competing and racing and sharing the experience as well. Robbie Dean race director was nothing but first class. 27 races with no issues and top notch sailing. Thank you Robbie for your hard work making it unforgettable for all us riders!
The racing was fast and exciting with spectators lined on the beach watching. The riders could not make any mistakes on the water as you would loose multiple spots fast. The level of racing was extremely high. The magical Johnny Heineken, a multiple world champion, was always battling it out in the top 3 spots with his untouchable speed and consistency. French rider Maxime Nocher was always right in the mix and started to make a big drive at the end of the regatta however it was just not quite enough. Julien Kerneur had moments of glory and kept battling but ended the competition just off the podium but really put in an incredible effort. I can say it was exciting to just share the water with these incredible athletes as I hung in for a top 5 finish. Thanks to LIFT Foils, GoPro and Cabirnha Kites for making this possible. Absolutely an awesome event thanks to everyone. Very honered to have a top 5 finish!
Thank you Townsville, Australia for hosting the best in the world. To all the organizers and sponsors. We will all be back next year. A huge thanks To Nicholas Leason with MHL Custom innovator and creator of Lift foils making this dream come true for people like me. You made this possible for the sport of kitesurfing and without you this would have never became a reality. Thanks to all my sponsors: Cabrinha Kites, GoPro, Lift Foils, Lululemon, Lynch Associates, The Black Dog, Oakley, NP, Runa and to all who have been behind me for years. Kindly, Damo