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RS Sailing 2021 - LEADERBOARD

2023 WingFoil Racing World Cup concludes

by Jeri WingFoil Cup 2023 11 Dec 2023 12:42 PST
Big knockout battles in big Brazilian breeze - 2023 WingFoil Racing World Cup Brazil © IWSA Media

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.

The circuit saw more than 230 athletes competing during the year.

The event was hosted by Vila Kalango, a lovely, eco-friendly hotel which directly overlooks the paradisiacal white beach of Jericoacoara- a well-known location among water sports enthusiasts for its ideal wind conditions and warm waters of its crystalline sea.

This was the windiest WingFoil Racing World Cup ever, with the breeze never dropping below 20 knots and sometimes gusting over 30.

Four days of high-speed competition produced intense emotions.

The game had 59 athletes from 13 different countries. Italy and France were the two dominant nations, with 23 athletes.

At the Jeri WingFoil Cup, athletes competed to earn the points needed to move up the world rankings. A thrilling and unexpected competition that... gave great surprises.

The French won the two long distance races on the opening day. Julien Rattotti won the first race, with teammates Mathis Ghio, who holds the world title for 2022, finishing third.

According to Francesco Cappuzzo, the Italian rider. Bastien Escofet returned to the shore to change sails and won the second long distance with a 4.5, this time ahead of the Italian Nicolo Spanu and the Frenchman Mathis Ghio.

In the women's category, Czech Paula Novotna, World Champion in 2022, attempted to retain her title and quickly rose to the top of the first long distance.

However, it was the sixteen-year-old Spaniard Nia Suardiaz who won the succeeding heats and claimed the lead in the rankings with a one-point edge over Novotna at the end of the day. However, the 17-year-old Italian Maddalena Spanu stayed at the top of the season's overall ranking.

The Spaniard continued to dominate the women's racing on the second day of competition. There was no stand-out in the men's group as the heat victories were spread out with various winners.

Mathis Ghio experienced bladder issues with his wing, so instead of resting, he was compelled to return to the beach to inflate the wing to maintain the correct pressure. Nia's mother and Vittorio Zaoli, sponsors of Luca Franchi, Rafferty Read, and Karolina Kluszczynska, were ready to assist him. Even Matteo Spanu, Maddalena and Nicoló's father, who had previously participated in windsurfing, was always willing to help the lads.

The spirit of fraternity and solidarity reigns supreme in this sport, and as we have heard repeatedly in recent days, "we fight in the water, but we help each other outside."

The gold fleet with the best 14 riders in the ranking competed on the third day, which was dominated by the powerful French and Italian teams. The remaining riders were divided into two batteries of 13 riders each, representing the silver and bronze fleets. The fourth day was pivotal and full of shocks.

10 men and women qualified to the medal series, although only the top 9 advanced immediately. The remaining riders were given the opportunity to compete in the repechage- a long distance that awarded the winner the Golden Ticket to join the top 9 and compete the medal series. Giovanna Ferreri, an Italian rider living in Brasil, enters the top ten ladies.

In the men's category, we saw the 9-time freestyle windsurfing world champion Gollito Estredo fly to the quarter-finals first and then to the semi-finals, eventually reaching the final with Ghio, Cappuzzo, and Leclair.

Gollito was hungry for victory, saying, "It took me a few days to settle in, but now I want to give it my all."

The beachgoers expected a comeback from the Venezuelan, who finished on the third step of the podium. No one was able to dethrone the French waterman Mathis Ghio, who won the gold medal. However, the tricolour flag makes an appearance even in this race, and the man carrying it is Italian Francesco Cappuzzo, who takes silver in the Brazilian stage. Ghio, Cappuzzo, and Estredo top the men's podium on the fifth and final stage of the circuit.

Women's podium: Suardiaz, Novotna, and Kluszczynska.

The most thrilling moment occurs in the evening, when the top ten riders in the global ranking are recognised.

Great support for Maddalena Spanu, a 17-year-old Sardinian who becomes World Champion and is brought to the stage by her countrymen sitting on her board like a queen. Her gold medal isn't the only reason to rejoice in the Spanu household. Nicoló, his 19-year-old brother, finishes second on the circuit and returns to Italy as Vice World Champion. Luca Franchi of Italy is on the third step of the world podium, just behind him.

Karolina Kluszczynska of Poland won third place in the women's category. Orane Ceris of France came in second place.

The wing foiling world tour had a fantastic season. It's now time for a well-deserved break. We'll see you next year. As the curtain closes on 2023, let's see what next year will bring for the Wingfoil Racing World Cup 2024.

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