Thursday, 01 June 2023 18:46

Heineken refreshed to experience foiling excitement in Europe

Heineken refreshed to experience foiling excitement in Europe IWSA media / Robert Hajduk

After a day of very little breeze on Lake Garda, the fleet will have to wait another day to begin the long distance race in the Pascucci WingFoil Racing World Cup Campione del Garda 2023.

The 77 riders woke up not long after dawn to catch the best of the morning breeze from the north of the lake, the Pelèr. This was the breeze that delivered four hours of good winging on the previous morning, but day one of competition was not blessed with the same strength or consistency of wind, neither from the Pelèr or the afternoon Ora.

© IWSA media / Robert Hajduk: mastering the foil without the wing

Pump foiling, or foil pumping, whichever you choose to call it, is one of the alternative pursuits for the riders when they’re waiting for racing. Launching from a standing start off the dock, it’s not an easy skill to execute but one worth working at, not least because it all helps with the light airs skills when you encounter marginal foiling conditions on the race course.or one of the great pioneers of the foiling revolution, this is Johnny Heineken’s first visit to a world-class wingfoiling event in Europe. Flying over from his native San Francisco, at the age of 34 Heineken is one of the elder statesmen in the foiling world. You sense that whatever age he is, Heineken will always be drawn to the start of a new revolution in watersports. He was the first world champion in Formula Kite, and now he’s equally inspired by the explosive growth in wingfoil racing.

© IWSA media / Robert Hajduk: Wings at dawn

“When the foils came along in kiting, just the high performance nature of it, the incredible speeds that the foil brought to the sport, you could tell there was no looking back. We always want to move on to the next thing.”ken ce has no competitive ambitions for the racing this week in Campione. “I have no idea where i’ll fit in with the rest of the fleet,” he said. “These guys all know how they go against each other. I’m here with no expectations, which is kind of fun.

“I haven’t done that much racing, I just like to wing, like to go fast, and I’m coming over here to see the racing scene and how things are developing. We had one big event in San Francisco earlier this year, which was great. But I wanted to see what it’s like to race in Europe with a fleet that has a lot more experience.”

© IWSA media / Robert Hajduk: water sport

Some of the more advanced riders are keenly focused on the opportunity to represent their nation in an Olympic-style competition at the ANOC World Beach Games in Bali later this summer. Gunnar Biniasch, who has qualified for Germany, says the World Beach Games could really help put wingfoil racing on the map. “It’s an opportunity for the sport to showcase itself to a global audience,” he said. “It’s a really exciting event for us as competitors and for the future of the sport, possibly as a new Olympic discipline.”

© IWSA media / Robert Hajduk: Butterflies on day one

Reigning women’s world champion Paula Novotna will be representing the Czech Republic in Bali. “I’m really looking forward to Bali, firstly because I’ve never been there but also to see all the other sports and to meet athletes who are the best at what they do, to learn from them and to make new friendships.”anwhile at Campione Univela on the western edge of Lake Garda, the aim is for an early start on Friday morning and to get competition underway with the long distance race.

© IWSA media / Robert Hajduk: not completely foiled by the lack of wind

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