- No wind on the final day of competition on Silvaplana
- Fiona Wylde wins a World Cup at her first attempt
- Alessandro Tomasi wins his first World Cup of 2023
- Italy and France dominate the men’s top 10
Fiona Wylde (USA) and Alessandro Tomasi (ITA) respectively have become the women’s and men’s champions at Wingfoil Racing World Cup Silvaplana.
With no wind for the final day, the results all hung on the 10 races from the first two days. Tomasi, the 2021 World Champion, earned two crucial wins in the long-distance races of the opening day. The dominant performer of the past six months or more has been Mathis Ghio (FRA) who battled hard with Tomasi on that first day but finished runner-up in both long distance heats.
The results from day one proved to be the decisive difference in the eventual outcome because from there the men’s fleet was split into two qualifying groups, yellow and blue. Day two brought the best breeze of the competition with eight short-course races completed in winds ranging from 10 to 20 knots. Tomasi was the master of yellow group, winning seven of the eight heats, conceding victory only to Luca Franchi (ITA), one of the other strong riders in the ever-improving Italian squad.
Meanwhile over in blue group Ghio was proving even more dominant, winning all eight heats. However, this still wasn’t enough to close the gap to Tomasi. The Frenchman would have to wait until the gold fleet finals to be able to take the fight directly to Tomasi and the other Italians.
Unfortunately for Ghio, and all the other competitors, those much-needed races would never materialise. The wind had evaporated from the Swiss Alps. This means Tomasi takes his first World Cup gold of the season, with Ghio in silver and Franchi taking bronze. French and Italian riders dominated the top 10, with 10th-placed Rafferty Read (GBR) being the exception.
Tomasi commented: “I have been working hard, training hard to improve my winging and it feels great when all the work pays off. This week is a reminder that you need to push every moment of a competition, you can never relax, and you should never give up because you never know what can happen until the final race is run.”
Fiona Wylde had travelled a long way to see how she would shape up against the proven best in the world. Only recently returned from a shoulder injury and surgery that kept her out of action for almost 18 months, Wylde was keen to get a gauge of the standard in the fleet, which is changing all the time.
Maddalena Spanu’s (ITA) recent victory at the Wingfoil Racing World Cup Campione on Lake Garda is one example of how the women’s fleet is becoming increasingly competitive. A few months ago, reigning World Champion Paula Novotna (CZE) had been untouchable but the standard of competition is going up month by month.
Spain’s Montse Sole won the opening long-distance race, but victory in the next long distance went to the 16-year-old Spanu. Wylde finished up the first day in third overall, and then on the eight-race day of short-course competition the American rider really came into her own. Out of eight short-course races, the 26-year-old from Hood River, Oregon, took three wins, four seconds and a fourth. This moved her well clear of the chasing pack, which was bunched by just a couple of points.
It was a pity the wind never allowed the rest of the women’s competition to play out. First-time World Cup competitor Wylde earned a well-deserved gold and has shown she is one to watch for the future. Spanu adds a silver to her recent Garda gold, and Orane Ceris (FRA) clinched bronze on a tiebreak with Karolina Kluszczynska (POL) who finished fourth overall.
Wylde commented: “It feels incredible to win here, even if I would have loved to do more racing. I was pretty nervous today; I hadn’t done a Medal Series before and I was looking forward to finding out what that was going to be like. I came here to learn, so more time on the water would have been my first choice, but it’s still been a great week, meeting incredible people and hanging out in beautiful Silvaplana. The two days of racing we had were phenomenal. I’m going to keep thinking about those days, they will excite me and motivate me to come back for more World Cup racing in the future.”
There were 10 races completed for the men’s and women’s fleets and while the riders would have enjoyed more, they never wasted their time. Instead, they threw themselves into alternative contests in balance boarding and pump foiling, always keen to test their competitive instincts.
For the fortunate and talented few, they will meet at the ANOC World Beach Games in a few weeks’ time in Bali. It will be a great opportunity to showcase this fast-growing and very accessible sport to a global TV audience. The next Wingfoil Racing World Cup takes place in Sardinia in October.
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