Ashkenazi stretches her legs in the girls' Formula Kite

Day three of the Kitefoiling Youth World Championships brought strong but unpredictable breeze that made it hard to choose the right size kite. As ever, staying out of trouble was a vital part of success, and avoiding the ever-present risk of a high-speed wipeout.


  • Three wins from four for Max Maeder of Singapore in the boys’ Formula Kite
  • Three wins from four for Israel’s Maya Ashkenazi in the girls’ Formula Kite

© Robert Hajduk / IKA media: Riccardo Pianosi (ITA) puts the hammer down

Formula Kite U21 (Male)

Today was the moment the two frontrunners squared off against each other, the ‘old’ rivals, 16-year-old Riccardo Pianosi (ITA) v 15-year-old Max Maeder (SGP). Having raced on opposite sides of the qualifying split, now it was the Italian and Singaporean lining up on the Gold Fleet start line alongside 19 other top riders in the Formula Kite class.

Maeder came out on top, winning three of the four races, finishing 5th in the third heat after a couple of wipeouts. “Everyone was wiping out at some point,” said Maeder. “It’s part of the game when you’re pushing. Maybe one of my crashes was from weed, hard to say, but the other was me just trying to push my advantage on Riccardo and paying the price.”

© Robert Hajduk / IKA media: Qibin Huang of China, chased by Maeder of Singapore

Pianosi won the third heat with China’s Qibin Huang picking up the second of his two second places, although he also scored a 16th and DNC for failing to finish the last race of the afternoon following a collision with Pianosi. Huang protested the Italian but Huang was found to be at fault. So Huang's DNC remains, meaning the Chinese slips to 20 points behind Pianosi. The battle for gold looks increasingly like a two-horse race between Singapore and Italy.

Huang will have his work cut out trying to defend third place from a fast-improving pack behind him. Just 2.7 points separate Huang, Arthur Lhez (FRA), Tiger Tyson (ANT), Noah Runciman (USA) and Vojtech Koska (CZE). Where they finish by the end of Saturday is crucial, as the higher the finish, the better placed they’ll be going into the Semi-Final phase of the Medal Series.

© Robert Hajduk / IKA media: Maya Ashkenazi of Israel in dominant form

Formula Kite U21 (Female)

Israel’s Maya Ashkenazi stretched her legs in the girls’ fleet today, winning the first three races and rounding off the day with a 4th place. Super-consistent sailing which puts Ashkenazi ahead of her Israel teammate Gal Zukerman by 8 points. Zukerman notched up a string of three 2nds and ended the day with a 6th. The normally ever-smiling Zukerman was as angry as she could manage after racing, claiming she had twice been fouled by a competitor who she felt was pushing the rules. “I’m not going to protest, I didn’t have a witness, but it’s frustrating.” The answer for tomorrow? “Go faster, get ahead.” 

Defending world champion Julia Damasiewicz won the final race of the afternoon which keeps the Polish rider well in contention, just three points behind Zukerman. Other girls who raced a very solid set of four races include Heloise Pegourie (FRA) and Magda Woyciechowska (POL), and they’re fourth and fifth overall respectively.

© Robert Hajduk / IKA media: Sofia Tomasoni (ITA) had one of the best days in the girls' fleet

Getting to the Sharp End
Racing continues on Saturday at 1400 hours local time in Sardinia, with the live broadcast starting at 1340 hours. The critical goals is to make the cut for the top 10 and into the Semi-Finals on Sunday. Watch the world’s best young kitefoilers in action this weekend.


Formula Kite Male (12 races, 3 discards)
1 SGP Maximilian Maeder  9pts   
ITA Riccardo Pianosi   11pts
3    CHN      Qibin Huang  31pts
Full results:
Formula Kite Female (12 races, 3 discards)
1 ISR Maya Ashkenaz  17pts   
ISR Gal Zukerman   25pts
3    POL      Julia Damasiewicz  28pts
Full results: