Promise of engrossing world tour stop on Italian resort island wins top-level backing

The world’s fastest kiteboard racers are set for a dramatic showdown, as they go head-to-head in the third act of the KiteFoil World Series, which is to be fought-out off the magnificent Italian resort island of Sardinia.

With the prospect of mouthwatering duels over four days’ high-octane racing at the 2021 KiteFoil World Series Cagliari, the event has again won the highest-level support from Sardinian authorities eager to project the island on the world stage.

It is the globe-trotting tour’s fourth edition to be staged off Cagliari’s Poetto beach on the peerless Gulf of Angels. Key sponsors, Sardinia Region and City of Cagliari, seized on international kitefoil racing on the iconic waters, as a perfect vehicle to showcase the Mediterranean island.

But for the Sardinia Region, backing the World Series Cagliari stop to the tune of €400,000, the motivation goes beyond sport. It regards the support to the event as an investment which will reap a healthy dividend for the region’s economy.

Florian Gruber (GER)

Giovanni Chessa, Sardinia Region’s head of tourism, said that the Sardinia Region recognises that cutting-edge kitefoil racing, which is due to make its Olympic debut at the Paris 2024 Games, has the capability of capturing the spotlight and turning it back on the island.

“Sporting events like the KiteFoil World Series, have a significant media value,” said Chessa. “That’s always a bit more difficult to calculate. But it helps tourism and it’s an important way to keep the region highlighted as much as possible.

“I’m happy to support all the sports. With so many different events you get different people. So, it’s a wide audience. All the sports start to be linked with Sardinia Region. Eventually people think of Sardinia and of sport, and the two things go hand-in-hand.”

Bruno Perra, president of Sardinia’s Olympic Committee, sees the backing of sport at the highest level by the island’s tourism authority as a crucial driver of growth.

“Sports and tourism are working together and represent the mainstay of the island,” said Perra. “We have already shown that we have everything that is needed for hosting a great event.  Thanks to the tourism board, which is really helping, we are all hoping that we can continue to grow.”

Forty-two athletes—29 men and 13 women from 19 countries and five continents—will vie for a share of the €25,000 prize pot in the World Series Cagliari. The purse will be split equally between the men and women who will race in one fleet.

France’s Axel Mazella is eager to extend his overall tour lead in his quest for a third International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) KiteFoil world title. In Cagliari he hopes to repeat his victory at last month’s second tour stop in Traunsee, Austria, that took him top of the standings.

Connor Bainbridge (GBR)

“I’m so happy to be here,” said Mazella. “For me it’s my fourth time at Poetto beach. It’s a really good place for me. I’ve got good memories of it. Here, at this time of year it’s sunny and warm. You get strong Mistral offshore winds, and lighter onshore breezes. So, all different conditions.”

Countrywoman Lauriane Nolot is also hoping she can find another win in Cagliari, matching the victory in Austria that took her to second overall in the women’s rankings. With four-times Formula Kite world champion Daniela Moroz electing to sit out the event to train, Nolot’s prospects have improved.

“I was here before for the Italian championships in January,” said Nolot. “The conditions can be really difficult. We get gusty, offshore winds. But these are the conditions we improve in. So, I’m happy to be here.”

You can be there too. All four days of the 2021 IKA KiteFoil World Series Cagliari will be featured on Facebook Livestream.