Sunday, 30 April 2023 16:11

Mythical winds in Athens favour the WingFoil Racing Europeans

The first ever WingFoil Racing Europeans concluded on Sunday at Artemis beach, on the east shore of Athens.

Reigning world champion Mathis Ghio (FRA) and new appearance Nia Suardiaz (ESP) walked away with the European titles.  

35 wingers from 11 countries came to Artemis beach, one of the best water sports venues in the Athens region, at the premises of the Athens Watersports Club, to take part at the event which was also the continental qualification of Europe for the ANOC World Beach Games 2023 that will be held in Bali in August. 

© IWSA/ Lina Gvazdauskaite

It was straight forward in the women with the winner taking the ticket, but in the men the battle was far from the podium, as the top contenders had already qualified or were not eligible to qualify as there is a limit of two competitors per country.

At the end it was Yannik Holste (GER) to get the ticket and he managed to seal the deal on the second day of racing, when he was the only one of the eligible riders to qualify to the gold fleet, cutting the hopes of local Petros Kontarinis short.  


© IWSA/ Markus Schwendtner: Yannik Holste qualified for the ANOC WBG 2023

With the qualification thrill out of the way after day 2, all eyes were on the challenge for the podium but there were no real upsets.

Ghio and Suardiaz continued to dominate both in strong and in lighter conditions, leaving the rest of the podium steps open to the challenge.

Mateo Dussarps (FRA), Nicolo Spanu (ITA) and Luca Franchi (ITA) performed more or less at the same level but two mistakes on day 2 earned Franchi, who has already qualified for Bali 2023, respective disqualifications that made the podium an impossible feat for the Italian.

At the end it was young Spanu  who got silver, leaving Dussarps in third place with a single point difference.


© IWSA/ Lina Gvazdauskaite

In the women’s competition, newcomer Suardiaz dominated the event and was crowned queen of Europe in style, winning all her races and stamping her ticket to Bali.

Only 16 years old, she is a familiar face on the expression circuit, both on windsurfing and wingfoiling equipment.

After only 2 years on a wingfoil, she aims to be crowned Wave world champion this year and will have to choose between a wave event and the ANOC World Beach Games.

A dilemma for which the answer is obvious for the rest of the fleet who put up a fierce battle for the remaining podium places.


© IWSA/ Markus Schwendtner

Orane Ceris (FRA) was pretty safe second but Maddalena Spanu (ITA), Montse Sole Roses (ESP) and Karolina Kluszczynska (POL) all came withing a couple of points from the bronze medal, with the young italian climbing on the podium at the end.

All three of them will be looking to qualify for Bali at the next – and final – qualification event that will be held in Lake Garda next month.


© IWSAMarkus Schwendtner
WingFoiling is a rapidly growing discipline, and each event sees new debuts. Maayan Davidovich (ISR), a windsurfing double-olympian, president of the International Wind Sports Association, has retired from high-level competition and is pursuing a career in solar energy back in Israel but took some time to have some fun, although she was often seen working remotely during the event.
Davidovich couldn’t hide her excitement about wingfoiling: ‘It is simple, it is fast, it is easily accessible, perfect for thrilling recreational sailing’ she said.
‘It is also the ideal steppingstone towards the single-point foiling Olympic classes, so the crowd in the wingfoiling community can be quite diverse.
The inclusion of WingFoil Racing into the ANOC World Beach Games programme has given a big push to the development of the class, let’s see what the next big thing will be. The equipment is improving fast, we will soon be able to sail upwind in lighter winds and then why not be included in the Olympics?’ concluded Davidovich.


© IWSA/ Markus Schwendtner



Mathis Ghio



Nicolo Spanu



Mateo Dusarps





Nia Suardiaz



Orane Ceris



Maddalena Spanu


© IWSA/ Markus Schwendtne
Last modified on Sunday, 30 April 2023 17:10
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