- No wind on Lake St Moritz, so a day of pump foiling and balance boards
- Balz Mueller shows off his athletic skills and passion for all kinds of foiling
- Italian riders ready to take on France’s World Champion Mathis Ghio in gold fleet
There was a change of venue for day three of the WingFoil Racing World Cup Silvaplana as the fleet drove 6km further up into the mountains to compete on Lake St Moritz. The sunshine was out but the wind never steadied sufficiently for fair racing, so no further results on the board after that mammoth eight-race Wednesday.
Not that a lack of wind was enough to hold back the unstoppably optimistic Swiss rider Balz Mueller. Two years ago, Mueller was right at the top of the wingfoil racing scene in its very early days of development. Now he’s back but the game has moved on and the Swiss rider narrowly missed out on qualifying for gold fleet competition.
Mueller is happy to step back from the front of the fleet. “The standard is so high, these guys are so good at what they do,” he said. “But I’m enjoying the freestyle and I’ve got a young family now and I’m getting my daughter out on the water, wanting to show her the world of foiling and watersports and having fun in the big outdoors. The priorities have changed.”
Mueller threw his home-made downwind board on to the water and wowed the crowds with his skills at body pumping the board up on to the foil, paddling it up on to the foil, and winging around the lake in almost no breeze whatsoever. He was also one of those who threw themselves enthusiastically into doing tricks on the balance board on the shore, even pulling off a handstand on the wobbly board.
So Thursday ended up being a rest and recuperation day before the final two days of competition. The racing moves back to Silvaplana for Friday and Saturday, and there’s the prospect of strong breeze for the final day. Will new girl on the circuit, Fiona Wylde (USA), be able to continue her amazing run of form? She holds a 13-point lead over Maddalena Spanu (ITA) and the rest of the chasing pack.
Today should have been the first day of gold fleet competition for the men, a chance for Mathis Ghio (FRA) to make up the two-point deficit to current leader Alessandro Tomasi (ITA). The Frenchman has dominated the sport since winning the World Championship at the end of 2022, but the Italians are closing the gap.
“We have four of the five top places on the leaderboard,” said Francesco Cappuzzo (ITA), currently in fourth overall. “Mathis is good but we are getting better. Yes he beat me in all four races on Wednesday afternoon but I was leading him in three of them and he got me at the finish but I know we are getting closer. I’m really looking forward to the fight in gold fleet.”
Tomasi was also feeling confident, even if he pays big respect to Ghio’s skills. “Mathis is very consistent, he doesn’t make many mistakes and he is strong on all points of sail, particularly on the downwind,” said the tall 20-year-old from Lake Garda. “I am feeling the pressure, but that’s good. I respond well to pressure and I think I have good tactics for the race course. I really hope we get good conditions for the next two days and I’m looking forward to good battles.”
More details about the competition at https://wingfoilracing.com/2023worldcupsilvaplana
Text Credits: WingFoil Racing World Cup Ensis Engadinwing
Photo Credits: WingFoil Racing World Cup Ensis Engadinwing
Video Credits: ICARUS Sports