Please select your home edition
2024 fill-in (top)

2023 WingFoil Racing World Cup Brazil Day 1: Escofet & Suardiaz seize the early lead

by Andy Rice 6 Dec 2023 16:46 PST 6-9 December 2023
High-speed foiling on day one - 2023 WingFoil Racing World Cup Brazil © IWSA media/ Vila Kalango

You would never know he'd been away for six months, but Bastien Escofet foiled right to the top of the leaderboard after a phenomenally windy first day in Jericoacoara at the WingFoil Racing World Cup Brazil.

Not that the French professional has been away from the wing, it's just that his focus has been on freestyle rather than the racing discipline. "I have been training hard with the other guys like my flatmate Julien [Rattotti], but they have been going faster than me so it's a nice surprise to be at the top after today," said Escofet.

After a predominantly light wind circuit in Abu Dhabi and three locations in Europe, Jericoacoara is making up for all the breeze that was missing from earlier in the season. The wind is blowing consistently over 25 knots and sometimes gusting close to 30. Getting ready on the grass in front of Vila Kalango, the host venue for the event, the riders were wondering how small to go with their wing choices. No one was going for the 6.0 square metre option which has been de rigeur for the other World Cups this year. Riders were inflating their 4.0 to 4.5 sqm options, and some even going for as small as 3.5 sqm.

At the last event in Sardinia, Julien Rattotti had dominated the first day and won both long distance races which begin with the rabbit start. Using the double-skin Gong wing, Rattotti was higher and faster upwind, so it was no surprise to see the Frenchman going for his advanced design again in Jeri today. Rattotti duly won the first race which took around 20 minutes to complete. Francesco Cappuzzo of Italy was second with France's Mathis Ghio in third.

Escofet, another Gong-sponsored rider, had been running on the double-skin wing but felt overpowered and decided to change down to a smaller single-skin wing which he uses for freestyle competition. "I was already on my smallest double-skin wing, a 5.0sqm and I wanted less power so I went for the smaller 4.5sqm wing which I know really well and feel comfortable with."

The switch down in size paid dividends for Escofet who won the second long-distance race, this time ahead of Italy's Nicolo Spanu in second and Ghio picking up another third.

Now the men's fleet was re-ordered into three equally-weighted qualifying groups for the short-course racing. Ghio, the reigning World Champion, was happy to have come through the two long-distance races with two 3rd places.

"Very few of us have been consistent so I'm happy with that," said the French rider who tries to rely on his harness as little as possible. He prefers the direct control of the wing through his arms, although it does require phenomenal fitness to keep on doing that throughout a race that lasts 20 minutes or more.

Once into the short course racing Ghio was more in his element, although Escofet didn't slow up either, winning one race and coming third in the other. It's hard to keep track of how you're doing against the rest of the fleet until everyone gets reorganised into Gold, Silver and Bronze at the end of Thursday. But this afternoon's races showed that Rattotti, Cappuzzo, and a number of others have the ability to win races. Ghio will have to be at his best to defend his title at this event, although his grip on the overall season title is very secure.

In the women's competition, reigning World Champion Paula Novotna came right back in at the top, the Czech rider winning the first long distance race despite missing part of the 2023 season. By the end of the day, however, it was the Spanish teenager Nia Suardiaz who won the next three heats and moved to the top of the scoreboard by a point ahead of Novotna. Just three points behind is Maddalena Spanu, the 16-year-old Italian who has won two of the events in Europe and leads the overall season standings.

Spanu was very fast in the lighter breeze of Europe and was struggling to hold on in today's big wind conditions. "I didn't bring my smaller wings here, so I'm having to stick with the smallest wing I have and it's not small enough," she laughed. "I hope the wind comes down a bit but it is still good fun and good racing here."

This evening the fleet is relaxing in Vila Kalango, either with some yoga, physiotherapy or a more traditional caipirinha. Competition continues on Thursday with short course racing to decide who will progress into Gold Fleet competition on Friday.

Results Men

1. Bastien Escofet - FRA - 1.6 p
2. Mathis Ghio - FRA - 2.0 p
3. Julien Rattotti - FRA - 2.6 p

Results Women

1. Paula Novotna - CZE - 3.0 p
2. Nia Suardiaz - ESP - 4.0 p
3. Maddalena Spanu - ITA - 5.0 p

More information and full results available here.

Related Articles

GWA Wingfoil World Cup Cape Verde winners crowned
Spain's Elena Moreno stages big upset to defeat world champion Moona Whyte Spain's Elena Moreno staged a dramatic upset when she defeated reigning world champion, the US's Moona Whyte, at the opening stop of the GWA Wingfoil World Tour's Wave discipline in Cape Verde. Posted on 21 Feb
GWA Wingfoil World Cup Cape Verde preview
Wave champions set to open title defense in Cape Verde The legendary waves of Cape Verde are set to be the stage for the opening round of the Wave discipline on the GWA Wingfoil World Tour, kick-starting the 2024 season. Posted on 16 Feb
Kiel Week welcomes X-15 wingfoil class
This groundbreaking move signals a new era for foiling at this prestigious event Kiel Week, is proud to announce the inclusion of the X-15 wingfoil class in its U19 demo/coaching event during the final four days of Kiel Week 2024. Posted on 30 Jan
2024 GWA Wingfoil World Tour event calendar
Gearing up for another busy year with 10 events across four continents As we look ahead to 2024, we're gearing up for another busy year with 10 events across four continents. Join us on this journey by attending our events Posted on 31 Dec 2023
Foil Academy International Trophy overall
The event gathered over 40 athletes from 10 nations in the waters of Cagliari, at Su Siccu The big final show of International Foiling marks the conclusion of an intense week at the Foil International Academy Trophy within the Next Generation Foil Academy project powered by Luna Rossa. Posted on 23 Dec 2023
Mayan Wind Fest 2024
This festival is poised to attract top international athletes The vibrant city of Cancun is gearing up for the inaugural Mayan Wind Fest 2024, a world-class water sports extravaganza set to take place in Puerto Cancun from January 18 to 21. Posted on 23 Dec 2023
UKWA Wingfoil Slalom National Championships
7 events contribute to the tour and the title, so you have to be really fast Hugo Dobrijevic is quite literally flying high after being crowned National Champion after winning another title in Wingfoil Slalom racing. Posted on 15 Dec 2023
2023 WingFoil Racing World Cup concludes
59 athletes from 13 different countries take part in the five event season The 2023 WingFoil Racing World Champions Ghio and Spanu were crowned after a season of five events in Abu Dhabi, Lake Garda in Italy, Silvaplana in Switzerland, Cagliari in Sardinia, and finally in Jericoacoara, Brazil. Posted on 11 Dec 2023
Gran Canaria Air Battle overall
Local rider Ancor Sosa conqueres disciplines of Wingfoil Surf-Freestyle & Freefly-Slalom The conditions were perfect in the morning hours at the beach of Las Burras in Gran Canaria (about 20 knots from the northeast), allowing riders to perform breathtaking maneuvers in the wingfoil disciplines of the Global Wingsports Association (GWA). Posted on 10 Dec 2023
2023 WingFoil Racing World Cup Brazil overall
Suardiaz wins Jeri, Spanu wins the Worlds, Ghio wins both Nia Suardiaz and Mathis Ghio have won the WingFoil Racing World Cup Brazil after Jericoacoara delivered another high-wind, high-drama day in paradise. Posted on 10 Dec 2023
Selden 2020 - FOOTER2024 fill-in (bottom)North Sails Performance 2023 - FOOTER