© IKA media / Robert Hajduk: The kitefoiling circuit shifts from Sardinia to Shenzhen

© IKA media / Robert Hajduk: The kitefoiling circuit shifts from Sardinia to Shenzhen

Kitefoil competitors ready to race in Shenzhen, China


21/11/2023 - 09:50

The kitefoiling circuit has set a path for China where two events are set to take place back to back. The Formula Kite Asia & Oceania Championships will be contested from 21 to 26 November in the high-tech city of Shenzhen just across the border from Hong Kong, with 20,000 Euros of prize money available. This event is closely followed by the KiteFoil World Series Final in Zhuhai. With 50,000 Euros prize money on the table, the competition takes place from 29 November to 3 December.

Kiting in one form or another has been a strong part of Chinese culture for more than 2,000 years. One popular Chinese legend tells the story of a Chinese farmer who tied his hat to his head with a piece of string to keep it from blowing away. In a stubborn wind, the hat nevertheless managed to float off for a ways with the farmer trailing behind it holding the string. Thus, the legend says, the kite was born.

Jingyue Chen qualified China for a place at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games when she finished 7th at the World Championships in The Netherlands back in August. She is looking forward to competing against an international fleet on home waters. "We have been training hard in the Chinese squad and it will be good to race against some of the international competitors," said Chen. "I think mostly it is light winds at this venue and that is my most difficult conditions, but it will be good to be racing in the softer breeze."

Qibin Huang also qualified China for the Olympics in the men's kiting category and he too has been training hard. "We have done about 300 practice starts in the past month, so I hope my starting might have got a bit better," laughed Huang.

Reigning World Champion from Singapore, Max Maeder, is happy to be racing back in his home continent of China. "It's interesting to see that it's the European competitors who are struggling with the jet lag this time," said Maeder, who was recently shortlisted for Rolex World Sailor of the Year after winning the senior Worlds at the age of 16. His chief competition is likely to come from Huang as well as some strong international riders including Denis Taradin of Cyprus and Martin Dolenc of Croatia.

In the women's division Chen will be among the strongest of the Chinese squad while strongest of the European competitors is Julia Damasiewicz of Poland.  

Markus Schwendtner, Secretary General of the International Kiteboarding Federation (IKA), is looking forward to showcasing the kitefoiling athletes in China. "In the last few years Asian sailors have made waves in the world scene, and China has been developing fast and leading innovations. It is with great admiration that we have seen China securing Olympic spots in both men's and women's kiteboarding at the first qualification opportunity.

"We know that the beach of the Yuhai Bay Resort, at the Shenzhen-Shanwei Special Cooperation Zone in Guangdong, will do a great job of hosting the Formula Kite and TT:R Asia and Oceania Championships. With a clean and soft sandy beach stretching over 5 kilometres, it is nothing less than an ideal venue. A week later, the fleet will move to the beach of the vibrant Zhuhai City at the Xiangzhou District, another excellent venue. We're really looking forward to two great events in China."

Competition begins on Wednesday 22 November, following the Opening Ceremony on Monday morning. The riders will race in the Opening Series which leads eventually to the Medal Series on Sunday 26 November.

World Sailing Council supports next steps in Governance Reform
The new teams arrive for the SSL Gold Cup 1/8 Finals