Wednesday, 18 October 2023 19:22

New faces in the hunt for wingracing glory in Sardinia

Practice racing and getting set for competition Practice racing and getting set for competition ISWA media / Robert Hajduk

4 days of long-distance and short-course racing out of Poetto Beach in Cagliari in the south of Sardinia
Open competition with a wide array of different wing and foil equipment
56 competitors, some travelling from as far away as New Zealand
World Champion Mathis Ghio among the favourites

The WingFoil Racing World Cup Cagliari is about to begin, with four days of high speed foiling competition from 19 to 22 October. A world-class field of international competitors is looking forward to competing in a combination of long distance and short course races at one of the most famous watersports venues in the world, Poetto Beach on the southern coast of Sardinia.

© IWSA media / Robert Hajduk: Epic conditions in Sardinia

For the past 12 months in the men’s fleet, Mathis Ghio has been setting the standard in this ever-developing high-speed sport. But it has been four months since the last WingFoil Racing World Cup event at Lake Silvaplana high up in the Swiss Alps, so things have moved on, and it will be interesting to see who will be challenging for the top places.

So who will take the fight to the the 20-year-old French rider? Alessandro Tomasi was winner in Silvaplana four months ago but will miss this event after injuring his hand in a boxing session. However, there are plenty of other Italians who will want to have their say in Sardinia. Competing on home waters will provide extra motivation for Italy’s Francesco Cappuzzo to perform at the highest level, and he’s looking fit and ready for action even if most of his time in recent months has been spent improving his skills in freestyling.

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© IWSA media / Robert Hajduk: Mathis Ghio is the man to beat

From further afield, regular competitor from New Zealand Jeremiah McDonald is now joined by Josh Armit, one of the country’s strong Olympic campaigners with a background in ILCA 7 dinghy racing and iQFOiL windsurfing competition.

In the women it’s also worth watching out for the riders with an Olympic background such as windsurfing athlete and coach from Poland, Karolina Kluszczynska. About to race on the wingfoil racing circuit for the first time are some Olympic kitefoil competitors such as Izabela Satrjan of Poland and Alexia Fancelli from France who finished 8th in last week’s Kitefoil Racing World Cup Italy on the very same waters.

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© IWSA media / Robert Hajduk: Orane Ceris is a regular podium performer

Regular visitors to the wingfoil racing podium include France’s Orane Ceris and Kylie Belloeuvre and Italy’s Maddalena Spanu, although Fiona Wylde’s victory at her first event in Silvaplana perhaps marks out the American rider as a wild-card favourite, if there is such a thing!

At a press conference with many local and regional politicians and VIPs, it was clear just how focused are the Sardinians - and the city of Cagliari - in particular on promoting the island’s status as one of the great watersports locations in the world. Just a few kilometres away, close to the city centre is where Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli have been training for next year’s America’s Cup. One of today’s guests on Poetto Beach was Francesco Bruni, multi-Olympian and current helmsman of Luna Rossa.

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© IWSA media / Robert Hajduk: Rules clinic to get the wingfoilers up to pace on the rules of engagement

Bruni is a big fan of all things foiling and is excited to see the WingFoil Racing World Cup coming to Cagliari. “I know from my Moth sailing that learning how to foil on small craft is a critical skill for what we do in the America’s Cup,” said Bruni. “A lot of our team are really into winging, our sailors and people on the design team, and it’s very competitive. They love it, and I hope to start learning how to wing for myself. Foiling holds an exciting future for our sport and it’s great to see the best wingfoil racers here in Cagliari.”

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© IWSA media / Robert Hajduk: America's Cup sailor Francesco Bruni is a big fan of foiling

With €20,000 of prize money up for grabs, there is plenty of motivation to perform at their very highest when the competitors start competing out of Poetto Beach.

Last modified on Wednesday, 18 October 2023 19:51
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