There was another medal from the successful #Kite4Gold project over the weekend as Ellie Aldridge claimed bronze at the 2021 KiteFoil World Series Act 1 event in Gizzeria, Italy.
The 24-year-old from Dorset tells us how the event was for her, in her own words.
With 100 entries, the first stop of the Kitefoil World Series was lining up to be one of the biggest events of the year in Gizzeria, Italy.
We had one week of training before racing started to get used to the conditions and acclimatise to the heat of south Italy. After spending all winter in the UK, it was a bit of a shock to arrive in to 40degree heat (don’t worry mum – I wore sun cream all day everyday!)
Generally we had pretty light winds in the morning which built up to the late teens by mid-afternoon. We had some great training days with riders from all over the world for the first big event in the calendar.
The decision was made to split the fleet into two flights of 50 people, with two days of qualifying races, followed by a two-day final series for gold and silver fleet.
Day one of the regatta was one of the worst first days I think I’ve had in a kite foiling competition. It was a combination of bad decision making, tangle avoiding (or not in one case) and very unstable wind that left me very deep down the results table after four races.
Fortunately for me the race committee controversially decided to abandon the last race of the day for blue fleet because only 7 out of 50 riders completed the course. The wind was dying and there were a lot of people swimming.
Basically, they deemed it unfair competition when the majority of blue fleet had a DNC because of dodgy wind which then limited their chances of getting into gold fleet, compared to the yellow fleet, who raced in good wind with everyone completing their races.
Whatever the reason, it was an absolute godsend for me for race four to be rescheduled for the first race of day two, before the flights were reassigned for the following five races. It was an opportunity for me to replace one of my DNC’s with an actual counter that I really needed if I wanted to make the cut into gold fleet.
Day two gave us much more stable breeze, building throughout the day and topping out around 20knots for the last race…just where I like it! I managed to climb back from my hole I’d dug the previous day to pull out six fairly consistent results securing my place in gold fleet. Everyone knows that’s when the real competition starts, and with such a stacked gold fleet; full of the best male and female riders in the world, it was going to be tough!
Battling around towards the back of gold fleet is fairly demoralising, but it offered so many great learning opportunities and a chance to start and race against the fastest boys in the world…something we don’t get at worlds/Europeans which are single sex regattas.
We had extremely consistent wind all day on day three and it was generally an ok day for me, a day for closing in on my rivals.
Unfortunately though, I didn’t do enough on the final day of racing to climb up any more places, but after averaging nearly 100km on the water every day, I was really happy to get on the female podium in third place and I’m super excited about the rest of the racing season ahead.
Connor Bainbridge was top Brit at the event finishing in seventh overall. Guy Bridge finished 13th and was joined in gold fleet by Ellie who finished 37th overall (third female) and Katie Dabson in 49th.
#Kite4Gold athletes Maddy Anderson and Jemima Crathorne finished in silver fleet.
Full results can be found at https://www.kitefoilworldseries.com/