Hector Paturau – Recap 2022

My 2022 year started by competing in my first Kitefoiling Nationals (2021 Nationals held 2022) and winning the national title. I then joined WAIS and started some structured training to prepare for my Europeans travels. I competed in the Queensland states in April before leaving Perth end of May 2022 for my first ever international kitefoil regatta, in the Netherlands (Allianz Regatta). 

Getting to sail competitively with some of the best kitefoilers in the world was a big achievement for me. I was already improving day-to-day during this first competition. I finished top 20, although quite a few big names were not participating in the regatta. After the regatta I drove to the south-west of France for some training with some good friends and also best kitefoilers in the world. Following this training block, I had the opportunity to drive to Switzerland in order to perform some tests and development on some kites on the Swiss lakes. I then drove down to Lake Garda, Italy for another competition. It was also my first time in Lake Garda and sailing there was an amazing opportunity.

After saying goodbye to the pizzas and gelatos, back to France for some productive time training in the south: Leucate, Marseille (Olympic venue for Paris 2024) and Hyères. Leucate was very fun with 35-40 knots Tramontana blowing offshore and sand blowing everywhere. We did some speed runs in the flat water and reaching speeds above 40 knots. It was paradise for speed riding. 

Subsequently, a group of kitefoilers and I decided to drive up to Germany for the open German championships (at the Travemende Woche near Lubeck, north of Hambourg) in order to get an extra competition in. I won the bronze medal there. It was also an interesting competition where so many different kind of sailing boats were competing or parading. In fact, there were old classic wooden boats to latest carbon fibre hulls. The atmosphere of the place was also very amazing with the whole town turning into full festive mode for a week with people everywhere in the streets. Everyone in town was also extensively involved in the regatta that many people in the streets walking pass knew us from the event pictures and rankings!

I then flew to Mauritius Island for the African Championships and had some good time with my family there, before returning to Europe for the most serious part Europeans and Worlds. I trained in Hyères prior to going to Greece for the Europeans with big names such as Theo de Ramecourt, Axel Mazella, Laurianne Nolot and Daniella Moroz. I also had the chance to watch the Sail GP in Saint-Tropez and experience another dimension in the world of sailing.

Arriving in Greece, I had the opportunity to train with some other big names and friends: Benoit Gomez, Toni Vodisek (2022 world champion) and Nico Parlier (multiple times world champion). Conditions were variable and changing often. We had rainy days, offshore and onshore wind days. Kite choice was critical, I had 10 m, 15 m and 21 m kites registered. I was on 15 m kite for most of the regatta. I missed the Gold fleet by only a few points after tough qualifier races and finished 29th overall.

In Cagliari, Sardegna for the Worlds we had similar variable conditions than in Greece at the Europeans, and even storms blowing over 40 knots of wind while we were out on the water. I have never seen so much carnage with kites before this! It was also quite dangerous. I had again difficult qualifiers series and qualified for the silver fleet. Although I tried my best to stay at the front, I had some kite issues on two days which made me carry some big scores during silver fleet racing. The racing was really tight with some top riders in the fleet as well. I enjoyed the extremely tactical sailing we had on one of the offshore light days. All kinds of conditions were seen during this competitions, with also some consequent chop on the seabreeze days. I finished top 40 at the Worlds. Even though I believe this result didn’t really reflect the training I performed this year, I am still happy with this result and the way I learned to manage the season. I also met countless interesting people during this trip and built inseparable friendships which definitely contributed to make myself a better sailor. I am very motivated to continue training this summer and start the 2023 strongly. We are lucky in WA to have a vast diversity in conditions and locations where we can improve on specific outcomes.

Kite foiling is a relatively new sailing class in the world and especially in Australia. The opportunity to travel in 2022 and compete certainly taught me a lot through this experience. I am grateful to be able to bring back expertise to WA and keep the development of the class effective. The WA kitefoil community is growing rapidly and is one of the biggest local fleets in the world. With WA sailors competing internationally this can only strengthen the fleet and produce world class sailors all together. This wouldn’t happen without structures like the Ron Tough Yachting Foundation helping sailors. Therefore, I wish to thank the Ron Tough Yachting Foundation for helping me financially. I also want to thank everyone who supported me, my family, friends, coaches, AS and WAIS.