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North Sails 2021 Innovation - LEADERBOARD

GWA Wingfoil Race European Championship 2021 - Day 2

by Mart Kuperij 15 Aug 03:02 PDT 13-15 August 2021

Day two of the GWA Wingfoil Race European Championship started with wall-to-wall sunshine, promising an action-packed day. As Race Director Juan Antonio Aragon said at the skippers meeting, "The sun's up, the sky is blue... if there ever were a time for action it's today!"

At around 1 o'clock the red flag went up for the first heat of the Men's Open, with 16 competitors choosing a position in the run-up to the start line. The excitement proved to be too much for one of the competitors, meaning an over early and the restart of the heat, but after that, it was cool runnings for the rest of the first round.

When the dust settled an hour later, we'd seen back-to-back races in all categories, with exhilarating racing including lots of overtaking, crashes, strategic upwind reaches and even a few tricks at the finish line. All riders were really pushing it, often out of breath at the finish.

Second round

There was no time for a breather however, as we went straight into the second round. We witnessed some very tight battles, with riders close together at the pin end of the starting line, only to disperse after the second buoy, going into the more strategical upwind reach.

Two standout heats were the U16/U19, with a nail biting last reach where Riccardo Zorzi (ITA) and Benjamin May (DEU) raced each other to the finish line, cheered on by the spectators. It was Zorzi who won the heat after a massive crash from May, after which Zorzi also crashed on the finish line.

After this heat, the Masters showed that with age one does not necessarily become less competitive. Klaas Voget (DEU) took his second win, but right behind him, his two fellow Fanatic/Duotone riders Craig Gertenbach (ZAF) and Henning Nockel (DEU) were in a thrilling fight for second place, screaming all the way to the finish line. It ended in a crash right before the line for Gertenbach, who had to settle for third.

Supersession

After this final heat of the second round, it was time to move the battleground further upwind for a freestyle supersession, giving way to the iQFoil Exhibition. Riders were divided into two groups: women and youth, and pros, each battling it out in a 15-minute heat. The instructions were simple: best trick wins.

Even though the conditions were super challenging, with gusty wind hovering around the minimum, the riders still managed to put down quite the show. Move after move was landed, with anything ranging from regular jumps, 360s and pumping 540s to table 3s, raleys, and stylish backside 3 grabs. Two standout moves from the session were a huge inverted frontside 3 by Riccardo Zorzi, landing him the win in the U16 category, and a super clean backflip from Maxime Chabloz (CHE), that he later casually repeated for our photographer.

Winners of the Supersession

Open: Maxime Chabloz (CHE)
Women: Flora Artzner (FRA)
U16: Riccardo Zorzi (ITA)
U19: Malo Guenole (FRA)
Masters: Klaas Voget (DEU)

A different perspective

After the supersession, it was straight back onto the race gear for the third round of the European Championship. To make for some variation, and not to favour any particular stance, the course was reset to start from the other side of the lake. This meant the riders were now coming towards the shore for their first jibe, offering a spectacular view from the beach.

We made it through three heats, all the way to the small final of the Men's Open before the wind got too gusty to ensure fair racing conditions. Riders were really pushing the start, and there were some over earlies, but in the end the Race Director decided to rerun the heat tomorrow with the original starting list, so including the riders who went over early.

Preliminary ranking after two rounds of racing

Men's Open

    1. Francesco Cappuzzo (ITA) - 4.7 points
    2. Balz Müller (CHE) - 6.0 points
    3. Maxime Chabloz (CHE) - 8.7 points

Women's

    1. Olivia Piana (FRA) - 2.1 points
    2. Bowien van der Linden (NLD) - 8.0 points
    3. Flora Artzner (FRA) - 11.5 points

U16

    1. Riccardo Zorzi (ITA) - 1.4 points
    2. Robin Sijan Zico Zeley (CHE) - 5.0 points
    3. Noe Cuyala (FRA) - 7.0 points

U19

    1. Benjamin May (DEU) - 1.4 points
    2. Malo Guenole (FRA) - 4.0 points
    3. Léandre Carlier Arquoit (FRA) / Lavin Iseli (CHE) - 7.0 points

Masters

    1. Klaas Voget (DEU) - 1.4 points
    2. Craig Gertenbach (ZAF) / Henning Nockel (DEU) - 5.0 points

*Points are awarded depending on the finishing position in the final of each race. First place gets 0.7 points, second place gets two points, third place gets three points, et cetera. Whoever has the least points at the end of the competition, wins.

European titles on the line

Tomorrow is the final day of the GWA Wingfoil Race European Championship and there's still a lot to play for. A fourth race will mean there's a discard, enabling riders to strike their worst result. This could shake up the rankings, so all is set for an exciting last day.

It looks like the iQFoil Exhibition will be run around noon, after which we will resume racing with the small final of the Men's Open. Skippers meeting is at 11:00 with the first possible start at 11:30. Tschüss!

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