MORE than 50 athletes from 14 countries are preparing to take part in the final leg of an international hydrofoil kite racing tournament off Rockingham later this month.
Local kite surfer and one of the founders of the inaugural Hydrofoil Pro Tour, Andrew Hansen, said Rockingham was the last of four locations to host the event.
The others were in La Ventana (Mexico), San Francisco and Mauritius.
As well as Hansen, local sailors Drew Malcolm, Andrew Coosky, Alty Frisby and Mani Bisschops from the Perth Kite Racing Club will pit their skills against the world’s best in the contest from November 26 to 29.
“It has been an amazing year for developments in the sport. The progression of the racing continues to surprises us at each event and Rockingham will be no exception,” he said.
“It will be the perfect finale to celebrate the racers’ outstanding achievements this year and the incredible success of the Hydrofoil Pro Tour.”
Hansen said Rockingham was chosen as the final location because it was one of the fastest sailing venues in the world.
Sailors can reach speeds of up to 35 knots, or 70km/h, on their hydrofoil boards, making it an exciting spectacle for competitors and spectators.
“For spectators lining the buzzing foreshore, and those lucky enough to secure places in the grandstand boats, it will undoubtedly be a dazzling display,” he said.
He said the action should be fast and furious with the men’s and women’s titles still up for grabs.
Among the leading men will be France’s Nico Parlier, who is currently in the lead, but will be challenged by Riccardo Andrea Leccese and one of the most exciting prospects in the fleet, 18-year-old Briton Olly Bridge.
The battles among the women will be equally enthralling.
Newly-crowned Formula Kite world champion 15-year-old American Daniela Moroz will be looking to maintain her overall lead.
But her closest rival, Russia’s world champion Elena Kalinina (18), will seek to avenge her defeat in China and knows how to get the better of the young US foiling sensation.
The event is being co-ordinated by the Cruising Yacht Club after receiving a $20,000 grant from the City of Rockingham and the major sponsor is Rockingham Apartments.
Rockingham Mayor Barry Sammels said the event would showcase The Cruising Yacht Club.
He said it would also promote Rockingham’s many tourist attractions to the state, interstate and international competitors and supporters of the event.
“It will also be a big boost for the foreshore restaurants and businesses, which will benefit from the big crowds attracted to the event,” Cr Sammels said.
He said the Hydrofoil Pro Tour was part of an exciting line-up in Rockingham in the lead- up to Christmas, with another high profile event, the Rockingham Beach Cup, being held on Sunday, November 13.