HomeWingfoilInaugural WingFoil Racing Marathon Worlds

Inaugural WingFoil Racing Marathon Worlds

If you thought 1 marathon was hard enough… try doing 6! That’s the challenge that 40 wingfoilers from around the world have signed up to this week with the final test being the legendary Round Texel race. The 100km endurance finale will count for double points towards the overall world title. The 45th edition of the brilliant Dutch tradition is programmed to run on Saturday 8th alongside catamarans and windsurfers.

Among the 40 international competitors is a substantial Dutch contingent, including double Olympic Champion Dorian Van Rijsselberghe and triple World Champion Lilian De Geus, who are bringing their RS:X expertise to the rapidly developing world of wingfoiling. Alongside them are returning Round Texel champions Ingrid Bakker and Chucho Nonnot, hoping to defend their 2023 titles and to claim the even bigger prize of WingFoil Racing Marathon World Champion.

 

BATTLE OF THE FRENCHMEN

Texel turned it on for the first marathon race of the event. Waves of 2.5 meters and gusts of 18 knots, combined with a strong current, created testing conditions for the competitors. Ultimately, it was the French who triumphed in the men’s race, with a close three-way battle between Julien Rattotti, Bastien Escofet, and Oscar Leclair. All three riders led the race at points, each crashing at various points of the course with Escofet taking the ultimate win – “It’s amazing to win; the conditions are really really tough, there’s a lot of current, big swell and a lot of steep chop, so the foil just breaches and…. bang! I crashed at the end of the first reach and was a bit in the mix, but managed to come back on the downwind. I took the win as Rattotti crashed before the top wind mark.” Meanwhile, Rattotti found the unfamiliar conditions created an interesting and intense racing challenge. The mental demands of the 30+ minute races are proving to push rider’s mindsets to the limit, “you have to be focused for the entire race. You must be present at every moment, you can’t afford to be thinking about anything else” explains Rattotti, grateful for the opportunity to get back-to-back marathon racing practice this week. You really can’t take your eye off the ball for this kind of racing, especially with Rattotti’s strategy of pushing for the entire race.

THE TALENTED MARISKA WILDENBERG

Snowkiter, kitefoil racer and now wingfoil racer! Mariska is no stranger to wind powered competition. The courageous Dutchwoman thrived in today’s tough conditions, despite taking a few attempts to head out through the large shore break. “There were big waves, but I think I’m used to it, because I ride a lot on the ocean and I like it like this. I like the strong wind and big waves” Wildenberg exclaims with a smile on her face, unphased by the conditions. In this event, equipment is completely open, allowing Wildenberg to use the same hydrofoil that she used to race for the Formula Kite discipline; she delights in the high speeds that the small foil provides.
Equipment choice will certainly be interesting throughout the week as a lot can change in a 30 minute window; do riders go for a big wing and hope to ‘hold on’ if the wind increases, or do you play it safe with a smaller wing? Events like these are critical to the ever-developing equipment, giving riders more opportunity to push their gear to the limit than in traditional course racing.

You can track racing live here, with two marathon races scheduled per day. The winners will be crowned on Saturday 8 June, following the 45th edition of the Round Texel race.

RESULTS MEN
1.Bastien Escofet FRA 1 p
2. Julien Rattotti FRA 2 p
3. Oscar Leclair FRA 3 p

Results Women

1. Mariska Wildenberg NED 1 p
2. Maddalena Spanu ITA 2 p
3. Bowien Van Der Linden NED 3 p

More information and full results wingfoilracing.com/2024marathonworlds

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