Fuerteventura to test the kitefoil elite ahead of Paris 2024. SAILING ENERGY

More than 40 competitors from 15 countries are already training on the beaches of Corralejo to take part in the Fuerteventura KiteFoil International Open Cup from 15 to 18 February with Gisela Pulido, who will represent Spain at the Olympic Games. 

The beaches of Corralejo, on the island of Fuerteventura, will be the stage for more than 40 competitors from 15 countries, who are already training on the island before starting their international trip, many of them aiming to reach the Paris 2024 Olympic Games if selected by their countries. "Registration is still open for the Fuerteventura Kitefoil International Open Cup, an event requested by the riders themselves, who are training in Corralejo and who we will probably see competing in Paris," said Manuel Martínez, president of the Canakite Experiences Sports Club and organiser. At the moment, 10 of the countries taking part in the event have already qualified for the Olympic Games, as well as athletes who have already secured their places, such as Gisela Pulido, a 10-time kitesurfing world champion, who will represent Spain in the new Olympic discipline of Formula Kite.

Among her main rivals is Lauriane Nolot (France), the current World champion and second in the Formula Kite World Ranking, as well as the overall leader of the KiteFoil World Series 2023. "Many of the top 20 in the World Sailing rankings are expected to compete," added Martinez. On the men's side, Italy's Riccardo Pianosi and France's Maxime Nocher, currently second and third in the Formula Kite world rankings, have already signed up for the competition. 

The current leader of the KiteFoil World Series 2023, Singapore's Maximiliam Maeder, will also be present. Among the veterans, Germany's Florian Gruber, an eight-time kitesurfing world champion, stands out. Spain will be represented by Alejandro Climent from Valencia, who recently won the Formula Kite Spain Series 2023 in Tarifa. For the Spanish rider, it will be a chance to get in touch with practically the entire fleet, so he hopes to see how they have been working since November, despite his back injury. "I hope to be able to compete, we have spent two winters here, in addition to the Kitefoil Cup we held in Jandía in 2021, the conditions are spectacular," he said Climent. 

Kitesurfing will make its Olympic debut at Paris 2024. SAILING ENERGY
Kitesurfing will make its Olympic debut at Paris 2024. SAILING ENERGY

Since the celebration of the first KiteFoil World Cup in Fuerteventura in 2021, the competitors have discovered that the island offers ideal conditions for training during the winter season. From November to the end of February, "some of the world's best riders have their annual preparation on these beaches, which represents a significant investment in the destination for the municipality and also at the island level," said Manuel Martínez. 

The Canary Islands are the preferred destination for many athletes and organisations such as the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) due to the perfect wind conditions throughout the year. "Fuerteventura is the perfect place for kitefoil races, as representatives from more than 20 countries train in Corralejo throughout the winter," commented Mirco Babini, president of the IKA. In his words, he hopes to "make a lot of noise to bring back the World Series of this discipline in 2025."

Kitesurfing is a spectacular sport. SAILING ENERGY
Kitesurfing is a spectacular sport. SAILING ENERGY

This first edition of the Fuerteventura KiteFoil International Open Cup, organised by the Canakite Experiences Sports Club in collaboration with the Royal Canarian Sailing Federation, is sponsored by the Tourism Department of the Fuerteventura Island Council, Promotur Canary Islands, and subsidised by the Canary Islands Government. The event has also has the full support of the La Oliva City Council, through various departments such as the Mayor's Office, Sports, Tourism, and Beaches, among others.

Professionalisation after Paris 2024 participation 

Over the last 20 years, kiteboarding has been a fast-growing outdoor activity, and with its inclusion in the Paris 2024 Olympic programme, performance has reached an elite level. According to the organisers, by coming to Fuerteventura, the "elite riders" will be "confident" that they will be taking part in a professional event that will be communicated to the world and will showcase an ideal location with "unparalleled" conditions for kiteboarding enthusiasts worldwide.