Wylde flying over Silvaplanaat the Wingfoil Racing World Cup Ensis Engadinwing

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 8 races completed in bright sunshine and winds of 13 to 20 knots
  • Fiona Wylde (USA) shoots to the top of the women’s leaderboard
  • Alessandro Tomasi and Mathis Ghio winning their sides of men’s qualifying
  • 81.5km of distance covered across the 8 races.

A new star rose in the women’s fleet on day two of the Wingfoil Racing World Cup Silvaplana. This is Fiona Wylde’s first World Cup event in IWSA wingfoil racing, so it was understandable that the American rider flew across the Atlantic to the Swiss Alps with few expectations. She just wanted to gauge the competition and to get a measure of how her skills compare with the world’s best.

2023 WingFoil Racing World Cup Ensis ENGADINWING

With winds blowing around 12 to 20 knots across Lake Silvaplana, Wylde was as surprised as anyone to discover she is proving seriously competitive. Out of a total eight races, the 26-year-old from Hood River, Oregon, took three wins, four seconds and a fourth. “The thing I was most pleased about my consistency,” grinned Wylde modestly. “It was incredible to kind of keep on nailing the starts, but even when I didn’t, I was really pleased to be able to make up the space. I didn’t crash once, and I think I only touched down [on the water] twice during the whole day of racing.”

Wylde admits that moving into the lead for the first time was a bit intimidating. “All of a sudden, I had to adjust because you have no reference point on how high to point, or if you’re actually pointing high, or if you have a good speed. It was really challenging but I had to tell myself, ‘keep going, you’re doing good, don’t look back, keep on doing what you’re doing’.”

2023 WingFoil Racing World Cup Ensis ENGADINWING

The American had been making good progress with wingfoiling up until early 2022 when a big crash resulted in a big shoulder injury and subsequent surgery from which it took 18 months to recover. “It’s really good to be back, and today and yesterday have been such good days, even if I have a terrible rest of the regatta I’ll still be happy with this week.”

Wylde’s performance has lifted her well clear of the rest of the fleet, but the points are extremely tight between the next three female riders – Maddalena Spanu (ITA), Karolina Kluszczynska (POL) and Orane Ceris (FRA).

2023 WingFoil Racing World Cup Ensis ENGADINWING

Meanwhile there are two clear leaders on either side of the men’s qualifying draw. Current event leader Alessandro Tomasi has been the dominant performer in yellow fleet, winning seven of the eight heats. French rider Oscar Leclair crossed the finish line of race 11 in the lead but had been disqualified for breaking the start line too soon. His anguish and disappointment led to elation for Luca Franchi, the young Italian winning his first race of the regatta to move to third overall.

Reigning World Champion Mathis Ghio said his head hadn’t been in the right place for the opening day of competition, although he was still lying in second after the two long distance races of Tuesday. Today the 20-year-old was fully back in the game as Ghio dominated blue fleet. “Eight bullets from eight races, I am very happy,” he smiled. “I wasn’t always winning the starts, but I was working hard on the downwinds and I have good upwind speed”.

“I don’t know what the difference is, but I seem to be able to go a bit higher than most people but with the same speed. Racing here is exhausting though. It’s not hard on the muscles, but being this high up in the mountains, it’s hard work on the heart.”

2023 WingFoil Racing World Cup Ensis ENGADINWING

The statistics from Fiona Wylde’s smart watch confirm what a big aerobic day it had been for all the riders: “81.5km of distance sailed, max speed 27.26 knots, 4 hours 7 minutes of workout time, 2161 calories burned, 150bpm average heart rate, 201 max heart rate. I shouldn’t have run up that mountain two days ago,” she laughed. “I’m feeling it!”

Thursday sees the start of gold and silver fleet finals competition for the men, while the women continue with their fleet racing. Racing for the men and women will take place on Lake Saint Moritz on Thursday before competition resumes on Silvaplana for the final two days on Friday and Saturday.

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

2023 WingFoil Racing World Cup Ensis ENGADINWING
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