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2024 WingFoil Racing World Cup Turkiye - Overall

by Andy Rice 26 May 14:08 PDT 22-26 May 2024
Suardiaz and Ghio celebrate their victories - 2024 WingFoil Racing World Cup Turkiye © IWSA media/ Robert Hajduk

Nia Suardiaz and Mathis Ghio have taken the gold medals at the WingFoil Racing World Cup Turkiye after commanding performances in the medal series. The 17-year-old Spanish rider dominated the women's competition this week. "I never expected to win as many races this week," she said. "The girls are pushing so hard."

Ghio - a double world champion - turned on the speed on the first reach out of the start of the men's final to step out to a victory which has become a regular experience, yet means as much as ever to the 22-year-old Frenchman. "We had to slow down quite a lot coming into the start and then accelerate as quickly as possible when we heard the start signal from the race committee," he said. "From then on it was explosive pumping to get to the bottom of the course first."

Rafferty wins the e-Racing

Sunday's medal series was the culmination of an day of excitement that began with the conclusion of the Audi e-foil series. This involved the riders taking it in turns to race in a series of heats on the electric-powered foiling boards at speeds of up to 30 knots.

British rider Rafferty Read punched the air and grinned his way across the finish line to become king of the Audi e-foilers. An hour or so later at the skipper's briefing and it was announced that Read had won the vote to be the rider's representative on the board of the International WingSports Association.

Golden Ticket

Next up for Read and everyone else - apart from the top nine qualifiers from the finals racing on Saturday - was to compete in the Golden Ticket race. This long distance race out of a high-speed rabbit start would determine which of the men and women would progress through to the 10-rider medal series.

Fast out of the rabbit start was Rafferty Read again. Could this be a day where everything went the way of the affable Englishman? Unfortunately for him he was unable to maintain that form all the way around the 5 nautical mile race around a nearby island, and it was Austria's Simon Burner who surged into the lead by the top of the long windward leg. Burner crossed the finish to grab his golden ticket, as did Spain's Iset Segura who was first of the female finishers.

Semi Finals

And so to the semi finals, to find out who would make it through to the four-rider finals. The 2023 women's world champion Maddalena Spanu from Italy and Manon Pianazza of France were too good for their rivals and only needed one race for the top seeds to go straight through to the final.

It was a similar story for two Italians each winning their respective men's semi finals, Alessandro Tomasi and Francesco Cappuzzo who also went straight to the finals after a single race.

Women's Finals - Suardiaz Dominates

With the wind blowing around 10 to 12 knots for the final there was no room for getting it wrong and falling off the foils. Nia Suardiaz was fast out of the blocks and had already taken the lead by the first turning mark. She stretched out to a comfortable lead by the end of the cross-shaped race course and took out the world title in six minutes of perfectly executed manoeuvres and high speed.

"I'm super excited to win in one race because I was pretty nervous coming into today," said Suardiaz. "I didn't know if I'd be able to win or maybe hit some plastic and crash. So it was great to win like that. Now I'm going to be pushing the whole season and I'll be training hard before my next event in China."

So Suardiaz took the gold, with Poland's Karolina Kluszczynska taking silver and Spanu the bronze.

Men's Finals - Ghio still the best

On the approach to the first start of the men's final, all four riders made their approach a little too early. "We didn't have a lot of space and I couldn't slow down more without coming off my foil," said Julien Rattotti. "I needed to bear away to keep up the speed but Mathis was to leeward of me."

Rattotti was given a penalty for failing to keep clear of his fellow Frenchman. In taking the penalty turn Rattotti fell off his board and was out of the game. Meanwhile the Italians Tomasi and Cappuzzo had made slightly faster starts than Ghio. However, the world champion put in a burst of acceleration towards the first turning mark and held the inside line to take the lead towards the bottom of the course.

Ghio held on for the win and launched his board into the air as he secured gold in Turkey. Despite his penalty and subsequent crash in the final, Rattotti's superior performance in Saturday's finals racing was good enough to keep the Frenchman in silver while Tomasi took bronze.

After five days of competition and a variety of breezes, Urla in Turkey has proven itself as a great venue for wingfoil racing. Now the circuit moves on to The Netherlands for the Marathon Worlds in Texel in early June.

Results Men

1. Mathis Ghio FRA GOLD
2. Julien Rattotti FRA SILVER
3. Alessandro Tomasi ITA BRONZE

Results Women

1. Nia Suardiaz ESP GOLD
2. Karolina Kluszczynska POL SILVER
3. Maddalena Spanu ITA BRONZE

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