Pineapple on pizza? Kiters ponder life's big questions on a slow news day

With the wind gusting over 45 knots for the second consecutive day in Portsmouth, the riders were again on hold for the start of competition in the 2023 Formula Kite European Championships.

Sometimes your greatest moments of realisation, those life-changing epiphanies, can emerge from the most unexpected circumstances, however. Daniela Moroz, absent from the event, has something to say about this. [read here]

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© Valentin Bontus: Austrian rider Valentin Bontus doing a pagan rain dance at Stonehenge

Meanwhile Valentin Bontus, the Austrian wunderkind who recently shocked and delighted the kiting world with his fourth place at the World Championships in The Netherlands, spent a rainy and blustery day in a quest for knowledge and enlightenment. In the morning Bontus popped up at Stonehenge, that ancient pile of rocks which stands at the centre of so many pagan rituals. Right on the cusp of the autumn equinox, the wind has been blowing fiercely across the south coast of England and Bontus felt it was an appropriate opportunity to pay tribute to this pagan site.

In the afternoon the Austrian joined his friends for a visit around Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard, including a walk through the bowels of HMS Victory, that famous ship from which Lord Admiral Nelson commanded a British triumph over Napoleon’s fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

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© IKA media / Mark Lloyd: First time kiter learning to handle the power

On the other side of Portsmouth a trio of riders - the USA’s Kai Calder, Antigua’s Tiger Tyson and Greece’s Cameron Maramenides - visited the Andrew Simpson Sailing Centre to meet with some local kids who threw some of life’s big questions at the athletes:

- Do you win prize money in Olympic kiting? [The answer is ‘no’, by the way]
- Does it help to have webbed feet for kiting? [asked by one of the kids who took off their socks to reveal their own webbed feet. The riders didn’t feel qualified to answer this.]
- Is it OK to put pineapple on a pizza? [The riders said ‘yes’, but judging by the reaction from the kids, the correct answer would have been ‘no’].

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© IKA media / Mark Lloyd: Arm wrestle on HMS Victory

After fielding such hard questions from a particularly tough audience, the riders will feel more relieved than ever to get out on the water on Thursday. It looks like the worst of the gales will have cleared out by late tonight and the prospects for the coming four days of competition look infinitely better.

The last day is Sunday 24 September, when the top 10 will fight for a place on the podium in the Medal Series. The final two days will be livestreamed on YouTube and Facebook.

132977000000951495 zc v1 1695231939164 230920 kiteeuros lloyd wm 026© IKA media / Mark Lloyd: A day of enlightenment in Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard