Kitefoiler Lukas Walton-Keim led from start to finish to retain his King of the Waitemata crown for 2020, completing the Rangitoto-Motutapu circumnavigation in a blistering 56 minutes and 11 seconds.
Walton-Keim averaged 24 knots over the 37km course and reached a maximum speed of 33.8 knots. to finish 10 minutes ahead of 18-year-old Lochy Naismith. Justina Kitchen, who was named the Female Sailor of the Year at last month's Volvo Yachting Excellence Awards, was 22 seconds behind to round out the podium. All three are members of the Takapuna Boating Club, who hosted the event.
Sam Thom was the first of the wingfoilers around the islands, followed by Michael Raper and Stefan Cook.
The weather provided challenging conditions for the 36-strong fleet of kitefoilers and wingfoilers, with the wind peaking at 30 knots and wind against tide creating a gnarly sea-state around the back of Motutapu.
It was the third and final attempt at this race for 2020, a highlight on the foiling calendar, after the Covid lockdown prevented the original April event and bad weather halted the rescheduled date. The 2021 edition of the race is scheduled for April 2021.
"This year we had very challenging and exciting conditions, making for plenty of stories to laugh about at the club after the race." Walton-Keim said. "Although I did not beat my previous year's record of 49 minutes, I think the improved level of kitefoiling in New Zealand was on display and we will be ready to have another crack at it next year.
"The King of the Waitemata is a fantastic race for anyone who can foil and I encourage everyone to enter next April, regardless of their racing experience."
- Lukas Walton-Keim won the King of the Waitemata for the second year running. File photo: to Alisha Lovrich Photography and Design.