© IKA media/ Robert Hajduk: Glittering conditions for the practice race

© IKA media/ Robert Hajduk: Glittering conditions for the practice race

Formula Kite Worlds, last chance to push to the Max


13/05/2024 - 19:12

The 2024 Formula Kite World Championships are about to get underway in Hyères in the South of France. Taking place from 13 to 19 May, this is the last big regatta before kiteboarding makes its Olympic debut at Paris 2024 less than three months from now.

With foiling kiteboarding set to be the fastest of any Olympic sport this summer, these 35-plus knot athletes are working hard to be at their best for the biggest regatta of their lives. But in some ways it’s harder to win a World Championship than an Olympic medal because the fleet is much bigger and some of the best in the world will be absent from the Games.


Jessie Kampman is a case in point. The French rider missed out on selection to the Olympics, beaten to the spot by the 2023 World Champion Lauriane Nolot in a fiercely fought French selection that also included Poema Newland. However on these same waters at the end of April in Hyères, Kampman came away from the Semaine Olympique Francaise with the gold medal, ahead of Britain’s Ellie Aldridge in silver and Nolot with the bronze.

After making a heroic comeback from what was nearly a career-ending injury last season, Kampman has been more competitive than ever this year. With that said, the French rider admits her preparation for the Worlds has been limited. “I was always going to do this event,” she smiled. “After all, this is where I live and I just really love kiting and this is a good opportunity to get back on the water. But  I don't feel very prepared to be honest, and I think physically it's going to be hard again because I really haven't been training and I've lost a bit of weight. But then I don’t have the pressure on me for this event and I just want to enjoy the moment and enjoy the kiting. 

“It’s going to be interesting watching the girls this week, the ones going to the Games. Everyone will want to be pushing hard, I don't think anyone's going to be lifting their foot off the gas.”

Nolot says her focus is on enjoyment, despite the building pressure of representing France on home waters this summer at the Games. “I want to have great races with the girls, and of course I want to get a second world title, but maybe not as much as I wanted it last year for that first-time win,” she said. 

This is also an opportunity to experiment with different tactics and techniques. “I want to be a multi-tasker, try different things, work on different areas of the game. But I also just want to enjoy racing here where I live, to appreciate the support of our local fans out on boats and here on the beach, and all the kids that are coming to visit it us from local schools.”

From further afield beyond Europe are serious contenders for the world title including Australia’s Breiana Whitehead and the six-time World Champion Daniela Moroz from the USA. 

But probably the most intriguing athlete to watch at this event will be Elena Lengwiler from Switzerland. At the Last Chance Regatta recently in Hyères, the rapidly improving Swiss rider swept the board and claimed one of the final remaining national spots for the Olympics. 

Such has been her progress over the past few months, it’s quite probable Lengwiler will be challenging for a medal at the Worlds. Nolot acknowledged the growing abilities of Lengwiler. “Elena is very fast in a straight line, but if she wins this year I think that’s a bit too easy. We have to make it more complicated for her,” she laughed.

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