Frenchman clinches European title in tense kitefoil racing finale in Italy

France’s Axel Mazella was crowned 2019 Formula Kite European Champion after a consummate display of controlled racing on the final fifth day of tense action amid the splendour of the Italian resort island of Sardinia.

Mazella seized three bullets from four on the Gulf of Oristano track, seeing off intense challenges from Slovenian’s Toni Vodisek and fellow Frenchman Théo de Ramecourt, leapfrogging both to go top of the standings.
In shifty breezes of around 12kts on the gulf’s flat waters off Torregrande beach, Mazella lost the lead to Vodisek in his day’s crucial third race. But he matched the Slovenian’s tacks and gybes all the way around the track, chasing him down and finally seeing him crash towards the finish to take the win that all but sealed the title.

“I’m so happy to win this event,” said Mazella. “I’m super-happy with my performance. It was really stressful for me. Théo de Ramecourt and Toni Vodisek were just one point ahead of me at the start of the day. I managed to do my job controlling them. I’m super-stoked.”

Vodisek, 19, had made a concerted charge up the leaderboard to sit top of the order at the end of the first day of two in the finals’ series, the penultimate day of the regatta sponsored by the Region of Sardinia and the Sardinia Foundation.

“I’m happy with my second place,” said Vodisek. “That’s my best position in the Europeans, but not the top. Next year I’m going to come back stronger. The top guys are all so good now. We’re really close. It’s fun racing in such a strong fleet.”

The title battles in the 30-strong women’s fleet were equally intense but the US’s Daniela Moroz proved untouchable over the four days of racing, scooping 18 bullets from 19 to lift the Open Formula Kite European title.

“I got the bread,” said a beaming Moroz, coming ashore. “Another one down. It’s so great. Now we have a full fleet of women for the Europeans. I’m stoked that we’ve so many girls to race against.”

Britain’s Ellie Aldridge, a dinghy sailor who only began foiling a year ago, took second in the Open Europeans and lifted the European crown with stellar racing that beat off challenges from Australia’s Breiana Whitehead and Russia’s Valeria Garashchenko.

“It feels a bit mad,” said Aldridge. “The racing was so intense; so good. Everyone’s improved so much. It’s really tight racing. It’s ridiculous to think that we have all come so far in the space of just a year. All the girls are pushing each other so much.”

Aldridge was also part of the British team, paired with Connor Bainbridge, that was victorious in the inaugural Mixed Relay European Championship, when one day of the regatta was allocated to the Paris 2024 Olympics’ format event.

The duo just edged out the Russian pairing of Alexey Chibizov and Garashchenko, 18, another newcomer to hydrofoil racing who stormed up the rankings to take the second podium step in the individual Europeans with a final flourish that put her rivals on notice.

“Today was a really good day,” said an elated Garashchenko. “I got two second places and a third in the last race. It was great because the previous day was not so good. So, a good improvement.”

2019 Formula Kite European Championships

1 Axel Mazella (FRA)
2 Toni Vodisek (SLO)
3 Théo de Ramecourt (FRA)            

2019 Formula Kite Open European Championships

1 Daniela Moroz (USA)        
2 Ellie Aldridge (GBR)
3 Breiana Whitehead (AUS)    

2019 Formula Kite European Championships

1 Ellie Aldridge (GBR)
2 Valeria Garashchenko (RUS)
3 Julia Damasiewicz (POL)

2019 Open Mixed Relay European Championships     

1 GBR (Ellie Aldridge / Connor Bainbridge)
2 RUS (Valeria Garachchenko / Alexey Chibizov)
3 POL (Woyciechowska / Maks Zakowski)

2019 Mixed Relay European Championships     

1 GBR (Ellie Aldridge / Connor Bainbridge)
2 RUS (Valeria Garachchenko / Alexey Chibizov)
3 POL (Woyciechowska / Maks Zakowski)

U16 Girls (European)

1 Julia Damasiewicz (POL)
2 Magda Woyciechowska (POL)
3 Nina Arcissz (POL)

U16 Boys (European)

1 Jakub Jurkowski (POL)
2 Michal Wojciechowski (POL)
3 Jan Voester (GER)

U19 Boys (European)

1 Oliver Hansen (DEN)
2 Arthur Lhez (FRA)
3 Jakub Jurkowski (POL)

Master (European)

1 Ejder Ginyol (TUR)
2 James Johnson (DEN)
3 Benjamin Petit (FRA)

Grandmaster (European)

1 James Johnson (DEN)
2 Benjamin Petit (FRA)
3 Enrico Tonon (ITA)