Saturday, 17 December 2022 21:26

Back to Square 1 in The Final

It was the end of qualifying, and day 3’s racing finally produced a change in the men’s leaderboard at the Wingfoil Racing World Cup in Jericoacoara. Mathis Ghio (FRA) claims the top spot for the first time. Paula Novotná (CZE) continues to lead the women although three race wins in the morning session is proof that Orane Ceris (FRA)  is closing the gap on the World No.1 rider.



  • Sunshine and strong north-easterly winds of 16 to 22 knots
  • Top three men separated by less than a point
  • Sunday’s gold fleet racing will pit the top 14 men against each other
  • Orane Ceris (FRA) wins three races but Paula Novotná (CZE) almost unassailable for overall victory
© IWSA/ Jeriwingfoilcup: Port tack starts have been popular





The only time the top riders have met in the men’s fleet was the massed start of the Long Distance race on day one. Bastien Escoffet’s (FRA) victory has kept him in pole position through the regatta, but he was finally displaced by another Frenchman, Mathis Ghio (FRA) who is sailing almost faultlessly. 


Ghio has won 18 out of the 20 qualifying races, yet Alessandro Tomasi (ITA) and Escoffet have dominated their sides of qualifying almost as perfectly. Just 1.6 points separate the top three, a margin which could vanish in the blink of an eye, once the top 14 start competing in Sunday’s climactic gold fleet racing.


© IWSA/ Jeriwingfoilcup: Racing in front of Jeri Beach



Escoffet was not too fussed about losing the overall lead. “I won quite a few races today, so there’s nothing too wrong with how I’m going,” said the Frenchman who now lives in Western Australia. 


“I’m looking forward to racing the guys in gold fleet. I’m not going out tonight, going to get some rest and get ready for a big day.”



© IWSA/ Jeriwingfoilcup: Not just jumping for Jeri joy, it's also about the weed




Alessandro Tomasi (ITA) moves up to second overall after another good day in his qualifying group. “I’m super happy with how I’m going, especially after not feeling so fast at Lake Garda two months ago,” said the young Italian. 


“I have a new wing and I’m going much faster. I’m looking forward to the pressure of tomorrow, it’s going to be intense, too many mistakes and you’re done, you’re out. I think everything can happen.”


© IWSA/ Jeriwingfoilcup: the pre-start dance




The last man into the top 14 is Rafferty Read (GBR), the only entry from Great Britain. On discovering he had made it into Gold Fleet, the young Briton was almost lost for words. “I made it? Did I really make it into Gold Fleet? I can’t believe it, that’s all I want, that is all I want. Thank you.”


© IWSA/ Jeriwingfoilcup: Orane Ceris, tired but satisfied



The Briton’s gain was the loss of Gunnar Biniasch (GER), who narrowly missed making the cut for Gold Fleet. However, he is in his mid-forties and a good deal order than most of the front runners who are in their late teens or early twenties.  “At least I tried my best,” said Biniasch, based in Fuerteventura on the other side of the Atlantic from Jericoacoara. 


“I had a good first session today, was back on form again after a lot of crashes yesterday. It would have been a different story if I had sailed my best yesterday, but that’s how it goes in wingfoil racing.”


© IWSA/ Jeriwingfoilcup: Kauli Seadi will fly the Brazilian flag in Gold Fleet





Orane Ceris (FRA) was happy to have won three races in the morning session, although she believes time has run out for her to be able to make a serious attack on the title, which looks set to go to Novotná. 


“Paula is too fast, she is very hard to beat, but I’m happy with my day and I am looking forward to another day of racing here,” she said.


© IWSA/ Jeriwingfoilcup: Perfect racing conditions all day long





Despite still holding a healthy lead, Novotná didn’t feel at her best today. “I didn’t sleep well last night and I felt slightly ill this morning and it was hard to find the energy,” said the Czech rider who was going to take things easy tonight and rejuvenate herself for a final push at the World Cup title on Sunday. 



Racing starts at 1030 hours local time on Sunday 18 December, with the competition set to conclude in the afternoon when a prizegiving will take place at Vila Kalango in front of Jericoacoara Beach.




TOP 3 OVERALL RESULTS (after 20 races, 3 discards)




1. Mathis Ghio (FRA), 16.7 points

2. Alessandro Tomasi (ITA), 18.0 points

3. Bastien Escofet (FRA), 18.3 points


1. Paula Novotná (CZE), 18.0 points

2. Orane Ceris (FRA), 27.0 points

3. Kylie Bellouvre (FRA), 49.0 points



For full results and more details, go to

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