Ad Ports Group Wingfoil Racing World Cup Abu Dhabi – Overall
By Andy Rice Mar 19, 08:26 PDT
March 15-19, 2023
Abu Dhabi Winners – Ghio and Novotna – Ad Ports Group Wingfoil Racing Abu Dhabi World Cup © IWSA / Robert Hajduk
After three intense days of racing, the final day of the Ad Ports Group Airfoil Racing World Cup in Abu Dhabi was shut down due to lack of wind.
Thus, yellow number bib wearers Paula Novotna (Czech Republic) and Mathis Ghio (France) won the women’s and men’s titles respectively. The 2022 world champion continues to lead the fast-growing sport, although both drivers know their edge is waning. The performance gap is closing as the rest of the fleet continues to improve rapidly.
the gap is closing
Ghio had been looking forward to taking part in the innovative medal series format on the final day, which has already been successfully pioneered in the field of kite racing. “It was frustrating not to be able to play the last game of the medal series. It would have been exciting. But anyway, I am very happy to win in Abu Dhabi in the first big event of the season.”
The Frenchman admits that winning has become harder and harder as opponents get better. “Looking back 12 months ago, the level was much higher, both in terms of equipment and technology. Small hydrofoils would not have been possible a year ago, but there is significant progress being made across the fleet, which is exciting.”
Luca Franchi (Italy) won the yellow leader’s bib for the first half of the week but finished second with Mateo Dussarps (France) third.
Raw skills are no longer enough
Paula Novotna has relied on her raw wing skills and sheer speed to stay ahead. Now that other drivers such as Karolina Kluszczynska (Poland) and Orane Ceris (France) started beating the Czech riders, Novotna had to focus on new skills. “I need to spend more time competing,” said Novotna, who is also the freestyle wing world champion.
“I don’t have much background in racing. I can go very fast, which is an advantage for me because I spend a lot of time on the water and I think I have a lot of foil experience. But I lack racing experience. I Tactics are missing, I’m missing all the strategies, those are the things I need to learn.
“But this week I’m glad I improved my headwind skills. It’s a weakness for me, and sailing in light winds isn’t my strong suit. So I’m very proud that I won this race event.” Kluszczynska participated Her first airfoil competition, 2nd place, Ceris 3rd.
Airfoil racing on an upward curve
After three fantastic days of racing on Al Mirfa Beach, the International Team of Drivers has learned a lot about how to tackle the various courses in the breeze. It was a spectacular way for the new sport to debut in the UAE.
The next Wing Fleet to compete in the World Cup will be in Campione on Lake Garda in early June. The event is also a qualifier for the ANOC Beach Games in Bali later this summer. As its appeal becomes increasingly global, airfoil racing continues to grow.
1. Mathis Ghio FRA 13.5p
2. Luca Franchi ITA 23p
3. Matthew Dussarps from 23p
1. Paula Novotna JUN 16p
2. Karolina Kluszczynska POL 22p
3. Orane Ceris from 32p
For the full results and further details of the event, please visit wingfoilracing.com/2023worldcupabudhabi