© IKA media/ Robert Hajduk: Polish Power in Gizzeria
© IKA media/ Robert Hajduk: Polish Power in Gizzeria

New Heroes Are Hanging Loose in Gizzeria

For more than a decade, Hang Loose Beach has been an integral part of kiteboarding’s olympic journey.
Year after year, high profile kiteboarding events have been hosted in the warm clear waters off Gizzeria, from the 3-Fin raceboards and the TT:R slalom all the way to the Olympic format and equipment, and the area has witnessed generations of riders grow and mature.

the fleet
© IKA media/ Robert Hajduk: Kites are a common sight on the waters off Hang Loose Beach

In the recent years, the age of the kiteboarding scene’s protagonists has been decreasing, giving us almost identical podiums in the youth and senior’s events.
With the Olympics less than a month away, all of last year’s podium are training in Marseilles. Max Mader of Singapore, Riccardo Pianosi from Italy and Qibin Huang from China, although they are still eligible, will not be here to defend their medals. And while they are preparing to make history at the first ever appearence of kiteboarding in the Olympic Games, there’s space for new heroes to emerge.

© IKA media/ Robert Hajduk: Will Lucas Fonseca win his first big title?

Lucas Fonseca from Brazil was 4th last year, but in the meantime, Swiss Gian Stragioti was by far the best at the recent senior’s worlds, while team mate Karl Maeder on a good day can win races. Will we see Max Maeder’s younger brother rise to the top?
The British have come to Gizzeria with one of the biggest teams, with Sam Dickinson and Matia Maini among many new faces and then there’s Germany’s Jan Voester and Vojtec Koska from the Czech Republic, while Thailand’s Joseph Jonathan Weston, who is going to the Olympics, appeared to be in good form duting the practice race.

© IKA media/ Robert Hajduk: Some of the competitors are super young

If for some it's about winning, some others want to see how they'll manage. 12-year-old Jean Paul Liechti Villegas from Colombia fresh from winning the A's YouthFoil U15 last week is looking forward to go really fast. Many of the A's YouthFoil competitors are taking part in a Formula Kite competition for the first time, but there are some completely new faces, like Anastasios Garipis from Greece. The ILCA 4 European champion has been a keen recreational kiteboarder and has now made the switch to the fastest of all Olympic sports.

© IKA media/ Robert Hajduk: Switzerland looks strong with Gian Stragiotti & Karl Maeder leading the team

It’s a different story with the girls. Defending world champion Lysa Caval form France is here and is determined to keep her title. Silver medalist Magda Woyciechowska from Poland will do her best to improve the color of her medal this year, while her compatriot, and youth world champion 2022 Nina Arciz hopes to claim back the title she lost last year.

© IKA media/ Robert Hajduk: It's a big year for Argentina's Catalina Turienzo

They will have to fend off serious challengers: A pool of British and French sailors are poised to give them a run for their money, while Olympic sailors and World Sailing Youth Worlds medalists Derin Atakan from Turkey and Catalina Turienzo from Argentina are determined to show what they can achieve, ahead of the big show later this month.

Which of the 78 participants from 20 nations across 5 continents will make it to the podium? Follow @kiteclasses to find out who will be the winners!.

© IKA media/ Robert Hajduk: SPLASH