Learning about for new Olympic event
Published on October 29th, 2021
The new windsurfing class introduced for the Paris 2024 Olympics had its first major competition with the 2021 iQFoil European Championships held October 22-28 in Marseille, France. The event offered an opportunity to test both the class and the sailing venue for the 2024 Games, with three USA sailors checking in with the broader fleet early in their Olympic campaigns.
“The title of this event was the Europeans, but it was more like a world championship,” said Coach Phil Muller. “We had athletes competing from the Americas, Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. The level of competition was extremely high with veterans from the [past Olympic class windsurfing equipment] RS:X and PWA classes along with experienced foilers competing on a series of new courses and race formats.”
Alex Temko, the US’s upcoming male iQFoil representative at the inaugural Junior Pan Am Games to be held in Cali, Colombia November 26-December 5, noted how “the European Championships were great fun and a great learning experience. I learned a lot about the Olympic venue and got to see the level of the fleet.”
Temko will bring his takeaways and lessons to the Junior Pan Am Games. “I practiced my high-performance tactics, and had plenty of opportunities to lock in my full speed on the reaches. Overall, this was the perfect training for the Junior Pan-American Games and I feel even faster than before.”
This was Fiona Wylde’s (Hood River, OR) first international iQFoil event, who is a three-time Stand Up Paddleboard World Champion and recent addition to the iQFoil fleet. “I have really enjoyed being here and learning as much as I can,” said Wylde. “Foil Windsurf racing is new to me, so I am proud of the way I sailed for the amount of experience I have and am really motivated to improve. Onwards and upwards!”
With France winning both the men’s and women’s division, the USA has some catching up to do as Wylde was 59th out of 68 women while Temko was 94th out of 141 men. Also racing for USA was Xavier Ferlet in 124th.
“On one hand we set out on a fact-finding mission to discover new techniques and learn best practices from our friends and competitors,” said Muller. “On the other hand, this was a key event for our team. We had an amazing group including a three-time SUP World Champion (Wylde) and a Youth Champion (Temko). This group of athletes worked very hard this week and are extremely focused forward on what’s ahead and aware of the mountain we’re about to climb.”
Joining the iQFoil squad this week in an observer and mentor capacity was Tokyo 2020 Men’s RS.X Olympian, Pedro Pascual, who is embarking on his iQFoil campaign for Paris 2024: “This week was great. I was able to learn on shore and on the water from the best in the world on the new Olympic discipline. I now know where the level is and am looking forward to start grinding this winter to become competitive as soon as possible.”
Source: US Sailing