The Next Generation of foilers is already on the starting line. The first iQFOil Junior and Youth events took place in Norway, Thailand, Holland and Spain.
After the big success of the first international iQFOiL regatta on lake Silvaplana, many countries hosted nationals in the weeks that followed. We are delighted to see the first signs of our junior campaign taking root. Already 4 events took place over the last few weeks and more are coming up with one common denominator: happy kids coming off the water with big smiles. Seeing how the young sailors embrace foiling with excitement and no fear is the best proof of concept we could wish for.
In the following report, you can find closer information about the recent junior and youth events in Norway, Thailand, Spain and the Netherlands.
Norway hosted its first iQFOil youth contest with big success. 17 young racers most coming from a RS:X or Techno background showed remarkable progression while they competed at their first iQFOil regatta in only 8 degrees Celsius.
“The course was spectacularly set right in the middle of the Cityscape of Arendal, which also made it particularly easy to follow for parents onshore. A gusty northerly breeze from 6 to 22 knots was challenging but equally rewarding as the iQFOil Juniors sailed 4 upwind races. It was remarkable to see that the last race took only a third of the time of the first. Many of the kids had never even been airborne before the event and experiencing their learning curve first hand was amazing.”
– Anders Føyen event organizer in Arendal
Read the full interview with Anders here
The first Thai iQFOil Junior event took place from the 26-27th of September in Jombtien, Pattaya. 15 riders registered for the iQFOil Junior Division and despite very light winds on the first day, they managed to complete the first race. On the second day, the first race was the windiest of the event with still only 6-9 knots which were still enough to allow almost everybody to foil all the time, at the same time. The weight of the riders was between 48 and 65 kgs definitely helping the cause of racing in those extremely light conditions and despite the super light wind in total 3 races were completed over the weekend.
Since Starboard is based in Thailand our R&D manager Remi Vila was able to oversee and help guide the first iQFOil Youth Event in Thailand. Having delivered the equipment to the Youth and Juniors at the sailing club in Pattaya only 10 days prior to the event what was striking once more was the learning curve and speed in which the kids started flying, all of them airborne from day one.
Remi Vila reports: “During the 10 days before the event, I was able to visit the club twice to further give them the best advice on the trim of their equipment so that they could learn how to get the best out of it. They were all very attentive to the shim in the foil box and shim on the tail wing to understand all the benefits of this for light to strong winds. During the event the atmosphere was great, foiling managed to prove once more how easy and attractive it is also for the young generation. Thanks to foiling, Windsurfers will be able to enjoy a lot more days on the water, especially on the light wind locations around the world like here in Thailand. ” – Remi Vila Starboard R&D Manager
First one up was Holland at the beginning of September. 15 youngsters from the Netherlands, Belgium and France took part and were offered an introduction into iQfoil racing from the iQFOiL Academy Team.
The young sailors also got a big surprise by being able to get some tips and go foiling with the freshly crowned iQfoil European Champion Kiran Badloe and his coach Aaron Mcintosh. 16 Races were completed over the weekend in all different formats (slalom, course racing and long-distance/marathon).
‘I love it because it feels like flying. It’s just more special than the old way of windsurfing this is the new and the old is, well, old. It’s just not as relevant anymore. In about 6 years I might be able to go to the Youth Olympics so that’s what I’m working towards right now. After that, I want to go to the Olympics.” – 12-year-old Fin Brull who finished first in the U13 category
“We hope that other clubs will join us by setting up their own iQfoil youth (junior/youth) programs in order to be able to set up national youth (junior/youth) competitions. That’s how we can discover new talents: new Kirans and Lilians” – Marco Boone, host of the event at WSV Almere Centraal
Read full report of the event here
Before the Spanish foil Championships in Cadiz took place, the iQfoil Academy team hosted a 2-day clinic to initiate and prepare the juniors and youth for the upcoming event. After the initial 2 days of coaching, the racing began, a lot of fun and exciting races. Almost half of the participants of the championships were either youth or juniors (35 out of the 77 participants) !
“It’s amazing how foiling is taking off everywhere. I was amazed by the big numbers here in Cadiz. The young kids have already an impressive level, they make it look like they have been foiling for years already. They learn very quickly, they love it and it is very hard to get them off the water! Spain is on the right path!” – Gonzalo Costa Hoevel, iQFOiL Class Manager