Please select your home edition
Cruise Village 2020 - LEADERBOARD

Windfoilers wow at first ever iQFoil World Championships

by British Sailing Team 26 Oct 16:28 GMT 19-24 October 2020
Islay Watson - iQFoil International Games © Giovanni Mitolo

Britain's elite windsurfers proved their strength in depth with an impressive show at the first ever world championships for the iQFoil class, Olympic sailing's newest discipline.

Less than a year since the iQFoil was announced as the equipment of choice for windfoiling's debut at the Paris 2024 Olympics, a 19-strong British contingent headed to Italy's Lake Garda to see how they shaped up against the rest of the world.

The six-day iQFoil International Games was only the second major regatta for the new class following on from the European Championships held in Switzerland in August.

Having built a formidable training group operating from the British Sailing Team's performance base at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, the event was the first opportunity to benchmark their progress against their international rivals.

They did not disappoint. In the 118-strong men's fleet, five British athletes finished in the top 20, while in the 66-athlete women's fleet three Brits made the top 20.

Matt Barton and Sam Sills led the British effort in the men's competition, finishing the event fifth and sixth respectively, while Islay Watson and Imogen Sills were seventh and ninth in the women's fleet.

It was a dream result for Barton, a recent convert to the iQFoil from its Olympic predecessor the RS:X.

"I feel like I sailed really well this week," the 25-year-old from Bury St. Edmonds said. "My goal was to finish the qualifying in the top 12 and make it to the medal races, then I managed third in the semis which gave me fifth overall. It's a great start to my foiling campaign for Paris 2024."

Rising stars Watson and Finn Hawkins made history becoming the class's first under 21 and under 19 world champions.

Watson, 20, a youth world champion in 2018 in the RS:X, was also the top British female. Her gold in the under 21 category adds to the senior silver medal she won at the class European Championships.

Hawkins, 17, was 14th overall, and only narrowly missed out on taking the under 21 title on top of his under 19 victory.

Like Watson, Hawkins, who won a bronze medal for Team GB at the 2018 Youth Olympics, was also a medal winner at the European Championships, taking the top spot in the youth division.

"This event has been a challenge but I have learned a lot from racing against the best in the world," said Watson, from Aviemore, Scotland. "It is very encouraging to see from these results that the hard training I have done in the UK over this year has been effective. Hopefully I can continue to improve on these results in the future and keep working towards the end goal of a medal at the 2024 Olympics."

Hawkins, from St Austell, Cornwall, is also targeting silverware at Paris 2024 - and started the regatta with his first ever senior fleet race win.

"It was an amazing event with some intense and exciting racing," he added. "I'm very happy to be the best in my age category but more excited for my progress in the senior fleet as I'm getting closer to my end goal of winning a medal at the Olympics."

Results from the iQFoil International Games can be found here.

Related Articles

Kite foilers scoop UK Sport elite sport award
In recognition of their success over the past two years The British Sailing Team's kite foil racers have won a prestigious UK Sport award in recognition of their success over the past two years. Posted on 18 Nov
Team GB windsurfers return to RS:X action
The last major regatta for the British duo was back in February Team GB selected windsurfers Emma Wilson and Tom Squires will return to RS:X action this week at the European Championships in Vilamoura, Portugal, from 22-28 November following an eight-month break in major competition for the class. Posted on 16 Nov
Winners crowned at RYA Match Racing Nationals
A windy event at Queen Mary Sailing Club The last Friday of October was chosen as the new start day for the RYA National Match Racing Championship Grand Final. An event typically dogged by light winds, that would not be an issue this year. Posted on 3 Nov
Brits set for the iQFOiL International Games
Britain's windfoilers will look to assert their dominance Britain's windfoilers will look to assert their dominance in the biggest regatta so far for Olympic sailing's newest discipline when they take on the iQFOiL International Games in Campione, Lake Garda, this week. Posted on 20 Oct
Hanson scoops Laser Euro title
As Beckett has to settle for silver in Poland Team GB's Elliot Hanson dedicated his Laser class European Championship victory to teammates Michael Beckett and Lorenzo Chiavarini - as all three filled the podium in a historic result for Britain. Posted on 14 Oct
Hanson going for gold in Poland
At the Laser European Championships Team GB sailor Elliot Hanson says he will aim to end 2020 on a high with a gold medal at the Laser European Championships. Posted on 7 Oct
Gimson and Burnet "motivated" after Euros fourth
Nacra 17 world champions say they will push harder this winter Nacra 17 world champions John Gimson and Anna Burnet said they will "push harder" this winter after missing the podium at the European Championships by one point. Posted on 5 Oct
Gimson and Burnet eye Nacra 17 Euro title
World Champions looking to add a European title to their names Nacra 17 world champions John Gimson and Anna Burnet will look to add a European title to their names as they head into battle in Attersee, Austria. Posted on 29 Sep
Brits dominate at Kite Mixed Relay Euros
Connor Bainbridge and Ellie Aldridge follow up their individual Euros success The British Sailing Team's riders continued their run of kite medals taking gold and bronze at the 2020 Formula Kite Mixed Team Relay European Championships in Traunsee, Austria. Posted on 21 Sep
Four medal haul for Brits at Kiel Week
As the return to international racing continues As the return to international racing continues for the British sailors, Team GB athletes John Gimson and Anna Burnet took silver in the Nacra 17, Elliot Hanson claimed silver in the ILCA7 with Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey taking 49erFX bronze. Posted on 14 Sep