Erika Heineken (USA) and Florian Gruber (GER) take the 2013 Kiteracing World Titles after five days of intense racing on the competitive and challenging Chinese waters.
Reigning women's kiteboard racing world champion Erika Heineken ended an almost flawless series to take successive titles on the final day of the event in China. Boao's King Bay is a well-known tourism destination in the south eastern area of the country.
But brother Johnny Heineken (USA) was deprived of a similar feat by the stellar racing of 19-year-old Florian Gruber who snatched to the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) course racing world title from the American's grasp.
"I think I'm going to need a couple of days before it really sink in," said a beaming Gruber. "My motto for the week was to go fast and stay safe from tangles. It really paid off for me. Initially when I saw the opening days' conditions I though it wasn't for me, but it worked out."
The Qualifying series on days one and two saw a fierce battle between the young German and last year's world champion Heineken. Other than in previous years, Heineken did not have it all his own way as he had to share the top spot on the leader board with Gruber, who was competing in a separate fleet as the 120 men were split into three groups, also scored perfect points in his four races.
Markus Schwendtner, CEO of the International Kiteboarding Association, host of the championship, was "excited to have this important event in Asia. The potential of venues and sailors is huge - kiteboarding is on virtually every beach and we are enjoying the strongest growth of the class in this region. Having the opportunity to showcase the sport here in China will definitely further add to this"
"What I am probably even more excited about, reviewing the outcome of the event, is the strength of our youth participation. We have rarely seen so tight competition, and with two sailors on the podium being under 21 years of age and five of the top ten in this age category it clearly shows where the future is. I am amazed by the technical and tactical skills of these young sailors", Schwendtner added.