Formula Kite U21 WM 2022

Formula Kite U21 WM 2022

Torregrande, Sardinia, Italy

The final day of the Kitefoiling Youth World Championships delivered drama and an unforeseen but well deserved result in the girls’ fleet. Light winds made consistent foiling very tough and required the highest level of focus and technical skill from the young riders.


  • Nina Arcisz of Poland defies the odds to win the girls’ Formula Kite world title
  • An Asian 1-2 for Max Maeder of Singapore and Qibin Huang of China
  • Gian Andrea Stragiotti of Switzerland wins the Youth Foil U17 class
  • Karolina Jankowska of Poland is female champion in the Youth Foil U17.

© Robert Hajduk / IKA media: Nina Arcisz is welcomed ashore after her victory

Formula Kite U21 (Female)

Nina Arcisz of Poland saved her best for last. She had never really looked like a serious contender for the world title but the Medal Series format gave her and the rest of the top 10 a shot at the podium.

The previous day Arcisz had looked among the fastest downwind with her purple Ozone kite. Today she made that downwind edge work to her advantage, along with her aggressive moves in tight spots on the race course. Every time she entered close-quarters combat with one of her rivals Arcisz always emerged on top.

Arcisz battled her way out of her side of the Semi-Finals draw to overtake Polish teammate and last year’s world champion Julia Damasiewicz to earn her place in the four-board Final.

© Robert Hajduk / IKA media: Nina Arcisz coming to terms with her inspiring performance

Meanwhile in the other Semi-Final, Italy’s Sofia Tomasoni fought her way into the Final to go up against Arcisz and the top two from the qualifying series. Maya Ashkenazi of Israel was wearing the yellow jersey and star of Saturday, Heloise Pegourie of France, was in the blue jersey. 

Out of the start in the first Finals race, Tomasoni and Arcisz foiled into the left-hand corner of the beat while Ashkenazi and Pegourie tacked over to the right-hand side near the shore, only to discover the wind had almost evaporated. The Israel and France kites fluttered helplessly to the water while Italy and Poland cruised past in better breeze on the far side. Tomasoni and Arcisz duelled all the way around the course with the Italian taking the win.

Ashkenazi and Pegourie could never find their top gear when it mattered the most, while the two Semi-Final qualifiers set the pace all afternoon in the light and fickle breezes in the Gulf of Oristano. Twice Tomasoni was ahead of Arcisz but the Italian couldn’t quite match the superior downwind speed and layline judgement of the Polish rider. 

Arcisz sailed out of her skin all day, overtaking Tomasoni in two consecutive races to win the world title. The Polish rider was lost for words when she stepped ashore. All she could find were tears of disbelief and overwhelming joy. “The wind was very difficult but somehow I won the World Championships. How did that happen!” she cried. She had risen to the pressure and the occasion and beaten her rivals fair and square. Ashkenazi was sad to have fallen to silver and the same for Pegourie in bronze. While the final day hadn’t worked out for Israel or France, they had won their medals for a phenomenal week of performance even if the final day didn’t work out for them. Tomasoni, after sailing so well and being such a close match for Arcisz all day, ended up in fourth.

© Robert Hajduk / IKA media: Max Maeder in the zone and ready for battle

Formula Kite U21 (Male)

Max Maeder won the world title, as many might have expected. But after a disastrous start to the Final, the Singaporean superstar admitted that his hopes for the world title were hanging by a thread. Just as the top two qualifiers in the girls’ fleet had seen their kites flutter to the water by hitting the right-hand side of the treacherous race course, so too did Maeder and fellow Final qualifier Riccardo Pianosi of Italy choose the wrong side of the first upwind leg. 

Having earned their place in the Final after winning their respective sides of the Semi-Finals battle, Qibin Huang of China and Arthur Lehz of France raced for the first win. Huang took the winner’s gun before a halt in proceedings as the breeze disappeared for an hour from the race course.

© Robert Hajduk / IKA media: Making waves in the Youth Foil U17 class

The break from competition gave Maeder time to get his head back in the game and when battle resumed, this time the Singaporean didn’t falter. He took the lead from Huang while Pianosi struggled through a tack and Lehz suffered a seaweed wipeout while trying to protect an early race lead on the first downwind leg.

Maeder won the race and took the world title. Huang’s second place across the line lifted the Chinese to silver medal position, relegating Pianosi to bronze. Maeder was relieved to have survived and won the world title that looked destined to be his all week. “It was a difficult last day, there was a lot of luck involved this week and sometimes it was about whether the luck went your way or for someone else,” said the Singaporean, who was delighted to see Huang finish in silver. “Asia has done well and I hope it inspires other Asians to get involved in this amazing sport.”

Youth Foil U17 (Boys & Girls)

There wasn’t enough wind to get the Youth Foil U17 on the water today, so Gian Andrea Stragiotti of Switzerland was crowned the world champion ahead of last year’s winner from Poland, Jan Koszowski, with bronze also going to Poland, Jakub Balewicz. It was also a Polish success story in the female division, the title going to Karolina Jankowska. The Youth Foil class is less than two years old but it is growing all the time, providing a great entry-level opportunity for young riders who want to work their way through to the high-performance Formula Kite.

Torregrande delivered

Despite the light winds on the final day, Torregrande on the west coast of Sardinia delivered excellent foiling conditions throughout the competition. The kitefoiling calendar is getting to its busiest period of the season with competitions coming in quick succession, from Amsterdam to Lake Garda in Italy and Lake Traunsee in Austria all taking place in the next month.

Words: Andy Rice

Formula Kite Male 
1 SGP Maximilian Maeder     
CHN Qibin Huang   
3    ITA     Riccardo Pianosi  
 Formula Kite Female
1 POL Nina Arcisz     
ISR Maaya Ashkenazi  
3    FRA    Heloise Pegourie  
Full results:
A’s YouthFoil U17
Gian Andrea Stragiotti   
Jan Koszowski  
3    FRA   
Enzo Louber  
A’s YouthFoil U15
Jakub Balewicz  
Jan Koszowski  
3    ITA  
Julio Houze  
A’s YouthFoil Female
Karolina Jankowska   
Maddalena Maria Spanu  
3    ESP   
Eider Berakoetxea Alba  
Full results:

Final Day Recording of Live Internet Broadcast
For Editors

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Images for web and social media use here.
Upcoming Events

2022 KiteFoil World Series
Act 1: Traunsee (AUT), 16 – 22 May 2022
Act 2: Gizzeria (ITA), 20 – 24 July 

A’s YouthFoil European Championships
20 – 24 July 2022
Gizzeria (ITA)

Formula Kite European Championships
25 Sep – 2 Oct 2022
Nafpaktos (GRE)

About IKA

The IKA was formed to give an international platform to the skills and talents of competition kiteboarders throughout the world.  Since 2008, the IKA has been developing competition formats and rules as a class association within World Sailing, with the ambition of securing kitesurfing an Olympics berth.  Besides the Olympic kite racing format, several professional tours are sanctioned by the IKA.

About Formula Kite

The Formula Kite Class emerged from kiting’s course-board racing discipline, latterly embracing kite hydrofoil’s rapid, cutting-edge developments.  By limiting equipment the class’ aim is to create a level playing field, ensuring the best athletes win.  Formula Kite is the chosen equipment for several Regional Games like the Central American & Caribbean Games, the PanAmerican Games as well as for the kiteboarding event in the Paris 2024 Olympics.

About the KiteFoil World Series

The IKA KiteFoil Class’s premier World Series was launched by the IKA in 2014 to provide an international stage for the fast-emerging discipline of kite hydrofoil racing.  It remains an “open” unregulated class, allowing elite racers to use prototype hydrofoil boards and kites to spur ongoing progression and ensure it retains its place as one of the fastest, most efficient and exciting of all sailing disciplines.  The KiteFoil Class World Champions will be declared on the basis of the tour results of the KiteFoil World Series.

About A’s Youth Foil Class

The IKA A’s Youth Foil class has been designed to give the best kiteboarding youngsters a platform to progress towards the Olympic Formula Kite Class on affordable one-design equipment. Two age categories – U17 and U15 – for boys and girls compete on the same hydrofoil, board, and kites (maximum 3). The long term committment of the builders (Moses and Ozone) allow MNAs, clubs and parents to safely invest into the Olympic kitefoil pathway.
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