I’ve always heard about Dakhla and its amazing kitesurf conditions, but to be honest you can’t imagine how great it is there until you’ve been there! No wonder that Dakhla is a popular spot for kitesurf competitions – like the Continental Qualifications to the Youth Olympic Games for the TT:R (TwinTip Racing) discipline which took place this year from the 20th to 25th of February at Dakhla Attitude. I didn’t expect this format to be so exciting to watch, but it definitely is!
TwinTip Racing – TT:R
To give you a brief insight into TT:R: The format for the Youth Olympic Games 2018 in Buenos Aires is a combination of kite slalom race and boardercross, the participants are allowed to use traditional twintip kiteboards and tube kites (one board and 4 kites per person; the twinip can be used with straps or boots).
At the qualifications in Dakhla each heat consisted of 8 persons and the frequency for the heat was 6 minutes. You’ll find all the details about the TT:R-format here.
61 young riders under 19 years (32 boys and 18 girls from Europe and 8 boys and 3 girls from Africa) participated in the Continental Qualifications to the Youth Olympic Games Dakhla 2018 in TwinTip Racing. It was the second event after Cabarete/Dominican Republic, and will be followed by another in Pranburi, Thailand, for the Asian and Oceanian regions.
Dakhla Attitude is a huge hotel but was totally full during the comp – cause there were not only the normal guests and riders (some of them with parents) but also their trainers and of course the whole organisation team. Honestly I was really impressed about the well organised procedures of the event and how great the hotel handled everything in matters of food, drinks and space – which is definitely a logistic challenge for a resort in the desert.
The wind conditions were quite unusual for Dakhla (as the wind blew from the opposite direction) but in the end there were three windy days with super intense competitions!
It’s exciting to watch the heats as the races not only contain buys for jibes but also obstacles to jump over, and everything happens extremely fast – and one of the challenge for the riders is not only to be the quickest but also not to get penalties from the jury e. g. for getting in touch with the kites of other racers (which of course happened quite often!), or passing/touching the obstacle.
On the first competition day the wind hit in with more than 30 knots – which pushed the action on the water to the limit! On the final day the wind was around 17 knots but sometimes spiked up to 34 which forced the riders to switch kite sizes all the time – they had to use sizes from 8 to 15 m which of course was challenging and exhausting.
It was super interesting to talk to the participants and find out their motivation to attend the qualifiers and what they like most about the TT:R format. Mainly they named the enormous speed and the racing challenge as the biggest fun factor and the fact that also when you make a mistake in one heat you can still catch up when you’re doing it better in the other heats (which is not possible in this way in e. g. freestyle comps).
And the winners? National rider Jonas Ouahmid won the race and he qualified Morocco to the Youth Olympics in Argentina. Meanwhile, in the girls’ African division, Rut Gouws from South Africa took over the first place.
On the European podium, Sofia Tomasoni from Italy was dominant in the girls’ European division during all competition, so she had the winner’s title even before the last race was done!
There was a little bit more tension in boy’s European division, where Toni Vodisek from Slovenia won against Benoit Gomez from France by less than one point.
Take a look at the final leaderboard of the Continental Qualifications to the Youth Olympics in Dakhla:
Top three boys European division:
1. Toni Vodisek (SLO)
2. Benoit Gomez (FRA)
3. Maxime Chabloz (SUI)
Top three girls European division:
1. Sofia Tomasoni (ITA)
2. Alina Kornelli (GER)
3. Nina Font Castells (ESP)
Top three boys African division:
1. Jonas Ouahmid (MAR)
2. Pieter Botha (RSA)
3. Terje Magnus Groenewoud (RSA)
Top three girls African division:
1. Rut Gouws (RSA)
2. Johane Botha (RSA)
3. Assia Roussafi (MAR)
Here are some more impressions of the event at Dakhla Attitude (all shots by Helmut Fuchs/kitejoy):
And here’s some video action of what happened at the TT:R qualifiers:
And another one:
If you want to find out more about TwinTip Racing, rules as well as upcoming competitions and results I’d recommend the official website of TT:R.