Please select your home edition
Edition
Sailing Chandlery 2024 LEADERBOARD

Ad Ports Group Wingfoil Racing World Cup Abu Dhabi - Day 1

by Andy Rice 16 Mar 2023 20:54 GMT 15-19 March 2023
Start of the long distance race - Wingfoil Racing World Cup, Day 1 © IWSA / Robert Hajduk

It was a tricky, challenging long distance race that opened the competition at the Ad Ports Group Wingfoil Racing World Cup Abu Dhabi. The whole fleet, men and women, lined up on one start line for an upwind start.

A year ago, upwind racing was still too difficult in this fledgling, rapidly developing board sport, but the quality of the equipment and the riders' techniques have come on leaps and bounds since then. The wings are becoming more aerodynamic and the riders are getting fitter.

While the winner's time in the long distance race was just 30 minutes, others in the fleet took a lot longer. And if you don't think 30 minutes sounds very long, try holding your arms above your head for that length of time!

Reigning Men's World Champion Mathis Ghio (FRA) found himself struggling to maintain pace on the upwind leg with some of his rivals. "I'm not used to using the harness yet," he said, "so my arms were taking the strain all the way around the course. It's not so efficient, not compared with guys like Luca [Franchi, ITA] or Mateo [Dussarps, FRA]. So I was losing a lot of distance on them during the upwind."

The downwind was a different story. "Fortunately the harness doesn't help you at all on the downwind and I managed to get into the lead," Ghio explained. His lead was a double-edged sword, however, as the riders struggled to locate mark No.3 at the bottom of the downwind leg. "I went past the mark and by the time I realised my error and turned around in the right direction, the others had gone past me."

Ghio recovered to third place by the finish, but the race win went to Luca Franchi with Mateo Dussarps in second. Franchi was pleased with his opening victory in Abu Dhabi. "I've been training hard in my home town [Genoa, Italy], but it's cold there and the water and the wind here is really warm," said the teenager. "That was a hard race, especially the downwind when the wind went light and you had to keep pumping the board to keep foiling. There was quite a lot of weed too, so I was jumping to miss the weed."

Kylie Belloeuvre (FRA) took a big lead ahead of the other women on the first upwind leg but the French rider struggled to keep her board flying through the lighter patches of breeze.

"My gear is too small for lighter winds, my board is small so it sinks easily if I stop foiling. So when I came off the foil it took me more than a minute to get up again. I was sitting there, waiting for a gust, watching the other riders go past. At least when I did get foiling again I was going fast and overtaking again, but I am hoping for more wind tomorrow otherwise I will have a similar problem."

Karolina Kluszczynska (POL) also had her moments leading the women's fleet but like Ghio, she struggled to spot the next mark. This let reigning women's World Champion Paula Novotná (CZE) through for the race win, but the Polish rider still held on for second across the line. Not at all bad for her first ever wingfoil race at this level, although she is a very experienced Olympic windsurfing campaigner, and brings immense fitness and commitment to her new wingfoiling challenge. "I'm a little disappointed not to win after leading, but really I can be very happy with my race. And it's just so nice being here, warm wind and warm water!"

On Friday the short course racing begins, with target finish time for the leader around 6 to 7 minutes per race.

Men

  1. Luca Franchi ITA - 1p
  2. Mateo Dussarps FRA - 2p
  3. Mathis Ghio FRA - 3p

Women

  1. Paula Novotna CZE - 1p
  2. Karolina Kluszczynska POL - 2p
  3. Orane Ceris FRA - 3p
To follow the action, go to wingfoilracing.com/2023worldcupabudhabi

Related Articles

WingFoil Racing World Cup Turkiye day 3
The mental challenge of a plastic minefield Some riders complained about plastic in the water ruining their races on day three of the WingFoil Racing World Cup Turkiye. Others found a way of winning race after race despite the plastic obstacles lying in wait to catch them out. Posted on 24 May
WingFoil Racing World Cup Turkiye day 2
Ghio and Suardiaz wrestle wings to marathon victory Having gone out from the beach at Urla a few minutes earlier with their big wings, just a minute before the riders launched into the rabbit start for the marathon race the wind strength suddenly doubled. Posted on 23 May
WingFoil Racing World Cup Turkiye day 1
"If you're not Dying, you're not Trying" The WingFoil Racing World Cup Turkiye began today, although a lack of wind prevented the first race from going ahead. Instead the riders put their competitive instincts into an evening competition on Audi e-foilers, electric-powered foiling boards. Posted on 22 May
North Nova Freeride wing launched
A balanced, easy-to-use all-round wing Master of the lumps and bumps, glide upwind, roll through tacks, float through gybes or lofty jumps with bonus hangtime. Whatever goal you're chasing, the Nova will send you there faster. Posted on 18 May
GWA Wingfoil World Cup Spain 2024 update
MacDonald lands back-to-back wins in Spain The current Surf-Freestyle world champion, the US's Chris MacDonald, dominated the second call at the GWA Wingfoil World Cup Spain to take back-to-back wins in the season's opening stops. Posted on 3 May
GWA Wingfoil World Cup Spain 2024 update
Spanish world champion takes Surf-Freestyle win on home waters Reigning Surf-Freestyle world champion, Spain's Nia Suardiaz, tightened her grip on another title when she landed the win at the GWA Wingfoil World Cup on home waters at the Tarifa Wing Pro. Posted on 2 May
Tarifa Wing Pro starts tomorrow
Second stop of Surf-Freestyle title race set to kick off in Tarifa in high-stakes drama The reigning GWA Surf-Freestyle world champions, the US's Chris MacDonald and Spain's Nia Suardiaz, will be looking to tighten their grip on the 2024 crowns when the Tarifa Wing Pro springs into action in southern Spain. Posted on 30 Apr
Dawn Treader win Peters & May Round Antigua Race
Blessed with gorgeous conditions in stand-alone race prior to Antigua Sailing Week The Peters & May Round Antigua Race was blessed with gorgeous conditions. The stand-alone race prior to Antigua Sailing Week was held in a warm gradient wind of 10-14 knots, just south of east, with a smooth sea state. Posted on 28 Apr
Antigua Wingfoil Championship concludes
Three days filled with wind mark the triumphant second edition Three days filled with wind, new records, and camaraderie mark the triumphant conclusion of the second edition of the Antigua Wingfoil Championship 2024 at Antigua Sailing Week. Posted on 28 Apr
Antigua Wingfoil Championship Race Day 1
Participants of all ages and backgrounds at Antigua Sailing Week Against the lush green mountains of Antigua, colourful Wingfoil sails adorned the horizon, marking the commencement of Antigua Wingfoil Championship Race Day 1 during Antigua Sailing Week. Posted on 26 Apr