The island hosted the second edition of this event with spectacular weather conditions and with an eye on next year’s world championship
It took just two editions for Lanzarote to become the world leader in this sporting discipline. This was demonstrated again in Playa Blanca, with Marina Rubicon as a base to host the iQFOil Games Lanzarote, an event that the sporting elite did not want to miss. In addition, this year marked the prelude to what will happen in 2024 with the arrival of the world championship of this class to the Canary Island.
The Lanzarote waters brought 36 national teams from all continents, who once again found in the idyllic scenery of the island the best conditions to achieve their best version in preparation for the Olympic Games in Paris 2024.
The first day of the Lanzarote iQFOil Games demonstrated this, with four very fast windward-leeward races that were completed in two and a half hours leaving windsurfers eager to get back to the competition as soon as possible.
The Andalusian Pilar Lamadrid started in an exceptional way after winning three races and demonstrating why she leads the world ranking, “I’m here to train, improve and of course also to enjoy it and here in Lanzarote that is always easy. It was incredible that the wind came in from the east, which was not anticipated. “There are excellent sailing conditions here and I’m really happy with today’s victories,” he said.
In the men’s category, the double British champion, Sam Sills, started with a win, a happy finish to the first test of the competition. “It’s been a fantastic day with incredible conditions: 15 knots, four tests, ‘Barlo-Sota’…I hope tomorrow is just as good!”
El segundo día de competición volvió a ser favorable para estos dos riders, que supieron mantener el liderato en una jornada conformada por dos regatas rápidas y una maratón de una hora de ida y vuelta entre Lanzarote y la isla majorera de Lobos.
The second day of the competition was again favorable for these two sailors, who hung onto their lead across two high-speed regattas and a one-hour marathon return trip between Lanzarote and the Spanish island of Lobos.
The young Israeli, Sharon Kantor, aged 20, made it tricky for Lamadrid from the second day, raising expectations for these Lanzarote iQFOil Games. “Honestly I’ve had a great battle with Pilar and it’s wonderful to have won. The key for me was getting faster and staying with the leading group, I hope I can continue to do so.” said Kantor, who tentatively stands on the women’s podium with her compatriot Katy Spychakov, but the door’s still wide open for it to change.
The men’s competition is also still wide open. Sills saw his main adversary become the Frenchman Nicola Goyard, he’s last year’s champion ended the day in second place. Meanwhile the Dutchman Kiran Badloe was the best in the marathon, which he described as “crazy: strong gusts of wind, big waves and everyone pushing hard. It’s been a lot of fun. I’ve been fast, consistent and in the end I was able to pass my teammates and win the regatta”.
The middle of the Lanzarote iQFoil arrived with winds of 15 knots that at times reached 23. This is how important changes were made in the women’s qualifying table after Kantor’s comeback over Lamadrid with only two points’ difference.
“I’ve won the first two regattas, I had an incident in the third and in the last one I was sixth, so I’m very happy to have managed to climb to first place overall. My objective tomorrow is to keep it up and be in the final”, said the Israeli who knew how to take advantage of a slowdown by Pilar Madrid that left her in 20th place.
“Another windy day in Lanzarote and also a bit more complicated, above all I think due to a lack of strength after the marathon and the two sets yesterday, which were quite hard,” declared the Spaniard. “I think everything is quite open for tomorrow, which will be the last day before the Medal Series. It’s time to regain strength and get my claws out tomorrow to try to get a direct pass to the final”.
In the men’s race, Israel was also represented with Tom Reuveny taking third place on a podium led by Sam Sills. The provisional second place was occupied by Goyard, whose strategy was to “secure a place in the top 3, as I think it will be very difficult to catch Sam. I’ll try to make sure I’m on the podium to go straight through to the semi-final”.
The penultimate day also brought into play the slalom mode of about six minutes at the maximum possible speed and served to leave everything open until the last day, with a women’s classification without variations with Kantor leading and getting one of the three tickets for the Final, followed by Lamadrid and Spychakov.
Sills also made it straight through to the Men’s Grand Final. It remained to be decided who will join him in the Medal Series on the last day before the finals, in which the reigning iQFOil World Champion, Sebastian Kördel from Germany, will also participate as tenth place qualifier.
The last day of competition produced some big surprises and a lot of excitement. Starting with the Medal Series that gave the top 10 women and men the opportunity to qualify for the finals.
Pilar Madrid and the Israeli Shahar Tibi emerged victorious from the Medal Series to face Sharon Kantor in the fight for the title. But it was the Spaniard who would end a new year by repeating victory at the Lanzarote iQFoil Games after an excellent start that placed her in the lead from the first mark, since she would not give up at any time.
“I can’t believe it!” exclaimed the Andalusian, “I had a tough battle with Sharon, who had a really incredible championship. Lanzarote is incredible for sailing, as we have seen all week, with wind all the time and top conditions with which we have been able to do all the tests. I am very happy to win here for the second time”.
It was not the only change for her, as Kantor had to settle for third place after being surpassed by her partner Tibi, who snatched the silver from her.
The men’s final was even more exciting with Poland’s Pawel Tarnowski and France’s Nicolas Goyard going through to the final where Britain’s Sam Sills was waiting.
Tarnowski led the race, closely followed by Sills. It was 20 meters from the finish line when the Pole fell into the water, clearing the way for the Briton, but he also fell just a second later, giving an epic opportunity to Goyard, who was in third and was quickly approaching the comeback. The reaction was equally fast, Tarnowski being the first to recover to give him time to cross the finish line as the new Lanzarote iQFOil Games champion.
“I was going full speed towards the finish and I heard Sam approaching me, and I said to myself ’15 more meters and I win’. Suddenly, I fell and I went into the water and I thought ‘I’m already last’. But then I saw Sam in the water too. I did my best to get up quickly and cross the finish line and luckily I did it before Nico too. It’s been crazy! Honestly, I had never experienced a regatta like this, not even training. I’m happy!” declared the recent champion, leaving Sills second and Goyard last with the bronze.
The first world Olympic windsurfing competition of the year was sealed with the high quality of all its participants and a high dose of emotion, as could not be otherwise in a sporting event that brings together the elite of this discipline.