British Sailing Team rider Ellie Aldridge says she’s ‘excited for the future’ after scooping a silver medal at the opening round of the 2019 Kitefoil Gold Cup.
Aldridge came home 37th overall in the bumper 80-strong mixed fleet at Hang Loose Beach in Gizzeria, Italy – but was the second female, only kept off the top spot by reigning world champion Daniela Moroz.
The 22-year-old from Poole, Dorset, only started competing on the kitefoiling circuit this year after switching from racing 49erFXs with the British Sailing Team.
Aldridge is among four female riders picked for the team through the #Kite4Gold talent search launched in conjunction with the English Institute of Sport and the British Kitesports Association after kitefoiling was tabled for inclusion at the Paris 2024 Olympics late last year.
She posted an impressive ninth at the 2019 world championships in May before her personal best result at Act 1 of the four-date Kitefoil Gold Cup.
“Hang Loose Beach is an epic place to kite, and the conditions were dreamy,” Aldridge said.
“It was generally pretty light but there was a guaranteed building breeze all afternoon and we even had a cheeky front come through on the last day, bringing big swell and 25 knots which was so gnarly. We basically had every condition during the regatta.
“It was pretty crazy on a start line with 80 other competitors but it was really exciting seeing my improvements from the worlds and to hold up second place after a few dodgy races.
“Racing with the boys is a really good target for us to strive for and I’m really excited for the future.”
Connor Bainbridge was the top British male rider, narrowly missing out on bronze by four points to finish fifth overall.
“It was an extremely tough week in an insane fleet of fast riders,” said Bainbridge, who scored a bronze at the world championships.
“I managed to finish fifth overall after a very close battle for third. I’ve got lots to think about and lots to work on.”
Britain’s Mattia Maini, 14, showed incredible promise picking up bronze in the under 16 category.
Full results from the regatta can be found here.