Sunday, 04 June 2023 18:53

Ghio and Spanu are the wingfoil champions of Garda

Ghio and Spanu are the wingfoil champions of Garda IWSA media / Robert Hajduk

Wind fails to materialise for final day
Maddalena Spanu wins her first World Cup
World Champion Mathis Ghio continues his winning streak
Final qualifying spots decided for ANOC World Beach Games in Bali

Maddalena Spanu (ITA) and Mathis Ghio (FRA) were crowned champions after the breeze failed to materialise for the final day of the Pascucci WingFoil Racing World Cup Campione del Garda 2023.

© IWSA media / Robert Hajduk: Mathis Ghio played Spike Ball while waiting for the wind

It was a disappointing conclusion for the 77 riders, especially for those who had travelled from other continents to compete against the best in Europe. But even with the lack of races and the uncharacteristically fickle nature of the usually reliable Garda breezes, Ghio’s victory in the men’s fleet shows the reigning World Champion’s abilities in all conditions.

“This was the first time I’ve managed to win a long distance race in any World Cup event,” said Ghio. “It was good to get that right, and I’m very glad to be able to show my skills and my consistency in a range of conditions. We’ve had a good week at Univela, even if not much racing. It’s such a cool place to spend time and relax, and having fun with the other guys in the fleet.”

© IWSA media / Robert Hajduk: A first ever World Cup victory for 16-year-old Maddy Spanu

For Italian rider Maddalena Spanu (ITA), this is her first time stepping to the top of the podium in a WingFoil Racing World Cup. It was a proud moment for the 16-year-old and the rest of the family in Campione, particularly because her brother Nicolo finished runner-up behind Ghio in the men’s fleet.

“I’m so proud to win here,” said Maddalena, “and so excited to qualify for Bali to represent my country.” She was top female qualifier for the most highly anticipated event in the wingfoil racing calendar of 2023, the ANOC World Beach Games taking place this August in Bali. Thanks to their results in Garda, nine women and seven men qualified for what is expected to be a great showcase for this fast developing sport.

© IWSA media / Robert Hajduk: The top 4 men: Heineken, Cappuzzo, Ghio and Spanu

Just scraping into the final qualification spot from Hong Kong was Chi Ho Ho, who has taken up competitive wingfoiling after a long and successful career in windsurfing which included two times racing at the Olympic Games. Chi Ho was pleased to have earned his place in Bali but disappointed not to have had the opportunity to do more racing against the world’s best on Lake Garda. “Very happy to qualify for Bali and I enjoyed the racing here,” he said. But I would like to have experienced more competition against the strong European fleet.”

© IWSA media / Robert Hajduk: Univela Campione, a spectacular watersports host venue

This evening, after the prizegiving the riders and organisers enjoyed a farewell party at Univela Campione. Now there’s just over a week before the circuit continues high up in the Swiss Alps, at the Ensis Engadinwing WingFoil Racing World Cup by Dakine 2023. Racing starts on 13 June.

© IWSA media / Robert Hajduk: Looking forward to a return to a windier Garda in 2024

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