Two top 10 finishes for Kiwi kiteboarders
SUZANNE MCFADDEN - BOATING NZ
They went to Cagliari keen to learn, but New Zealand's new generation of kiteboarders ended up
near the top of the world in their first world championships.
Former boardsailing champion Justina Sellers and New Zealand sailing coach Dave Robertson
both finished in the top 10 at the Kiteboard Racing world championships in Italy. It wasn't what
Robertson expected from a fact-finding mission looking towards the 2014 Rio Olympics, where
kiteboards look set to make their debut.
"We came here to learn, so to walk away with a 9th and a 10th in the results is a real bonus. We've
learnt so much in the two weeks we've been here. We're looking forward to getting home and
growing the fleet in New Zealand this summer," he says.
In his first international regatta on a kiteboard, Robertson finished 9th in the men's fleet of 135
sailors, while Sellers - daughter of Olympic gold medallist sailor Rex Sellers - finished 10 th in the 42-
strong women's fleet.
Both Kiwis sailed their way into the medal races, but found the final day testing in tricky 8-12 knot
offshore breezes and flat water.
"My first race was going well and I was in 7th position, but I made a bad error before the reach to
the finish and dropped my kite in the water. By the time I re-launched the kite I was back in 9th,"
In the last race he fell in the water at the bottom gate: "I watched my closest rival in the standings
sail past and take 8th overall and the 300 euros prizemoney, while I was literally paying for my
Sellers was in 10th place going into the medal races, but she finished outside the time limit in the last
two races and could not improve her final standing.
"However to be in the top 10 girls in the world this early on is amazing," Robertson says. "She has
worked really hard all winter in her transition to kiting and deserved to be on the start line today for
the medal race series."
Of the other New Zealanders racing, Matt Taggart was 2nd in the silver fleet, Ben Turner 4th, and
Brad Walker was 36th in the bronze fleet.
- Boating NZ
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