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Luuc van Opzeeland (NED) and Emma Wilson (GBR) lead after the first races of the iQFOiL World Championships

Updated: Jan 31

First markers laid down at the Olympic windsurfing class’s 2024 World Championship on the waters of Lanzarote, Canary Islands.

story by Helena Paz

Credit: @SailingEnergy / @iQFOiLClass

Marina Rubicón (Lanzarote, Canary Islands), January 30, 2024

Lanzarote saw the first races of the 2024 iQFOiL world championships today. The men completed four slalom races, the women raced five. Holland’s reigning world champion Luuc van Opzeeland is the first provisional leader while GBR’s Emma Wilson is the first women’s fleet leader.

After losing the first day of racing to no wind, the second day proved long and more productive. The wind fluctuated between 10 and 15 knots, gusty at times. There was a change of race course during the day, moving from being in front of the marina to Papagayo beach.

Dominant van Opzeeland

With four wins from four races Luuc van Opzeeland made a perfect start to his title defence, but while the perfect score line tells one story on the water it was very much closer. The runner-up Germany’s Sebastian Koerdel is not far behind and is tied for second on three points with three wins in his group, the same tally as the third-placed Kiwi Joshua Armit.

U-21 Nacho Baltasar will be the Spanish representative in the class at Paris 2024. The Mallorcan racer debuted today with 3-15-4-3 which leave him in 18th place.

With the place in Paris assured, Baltasar has not as much pressure as some of his rivals. “When we started the season, the objective in terms of results was to get into the Medal Race because in the Olympic Games everything will also be at stake on the last race, so the more experience you have, the better. But on the other hand, this World Championships is perfect to try to enjoy your racing as much as possible as now I don't have as much pressure as when we were racing for selection. With the selection in the bag I am calmer. I am pushing harder than ever before but with that security of having the place.”

Briton Wilson rules

Emma Wilson, Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist, is one of top contenders for this World Championship and today she showed why. The Team GBR racer took four of the five slalom races that the women's contested and was third in the other.

Spain’s Pilar Lamadrid is six points behind after a solid 2-2-(3)-1-2. She is pitching hard to become the Spanish representative in Marseille 2024. 

We have been training in Lanzarote since the end of November and being able to spend so much time sailing here and getting to know the regatta course gives us a lot of confidence and experience about the place,” says Lamadrid. “Both physically and mentally I feel good and I think we have done a good job although it is also true that this is the beginning of the season and the championship, and there is a lot of 2024 ahead.”

Tomorrow, third day

The program for tomorrow, Wednesday, is due to see races on the regatta arena located in front of the Marina Rubicón breakwater. 

The start of racing is scheduled for 11:30 local time and depending on the conditions, slalom or Race Course events can be programmed.

Live broadcast starting Thursday

Marina Rubicón has dedicated herself to this championship and starting on Thursday and until the end of the World Championship, on Saturday, racing will be broadcast live on the YouTube channel of the iQFOiL class.

Likewise, the website is updated with news, photographs and videos every day.

The iQFOiL World Championships are organized by Marina Rubicón and has the collaboration of the Royal Canarian Sailing Federation, as well as the institutional support of the Tourism area of the Lanzarote Cabildo through the sports product European Sports Destination (managed by SPEL-Turismo Lanzarote), Promotur Turismo de Canarias, the Yaiza City Council and the private entities Dinghycoach, Naviera Armas and Cabrera Medina (Cicar).

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