There were a lot of questions on the beach before the race start:
"Has a wind foil got any chance against kite foils?"
"Is it possible at all to control a wind foil in 30 knots of gusty, cold winds?"
The answers are... yes and yes.
Sebastian Kornum rigged the final prototype of a RS-Flight One Design foil board, shaped by Mark Nelson and developed by NeilPryde Designe Center on Maui. He combined this board with a NeilPryde carbon foil prototype and a high wind lifting wing, developed by F4/San Francisco. Finally, the power was provided by a EVO8 5.6 race sail.
This explosive combination allowed Sebastian to win a 30km long distance race around a Danish island last weekend. With 30 knots of wind and even more in the gusts, only 6 windsurfers and 3 kite foilers managed to finish the race that is the 4th stop of a race series called the NeilPryde Island GP — a popular series of races open to both windsurfers and kitesurfers.
All windsurfers were on small slalom gear, and nobody even considered using their Formula boards. Kite foilers were using their smallest kites. Another windsurf foil entered the race, but after a short trial he went back to the beach, laughing, claiming "these conditions are not for foiling.."
"In fact I did not expect to be able to finish the race in these conditions. And I certainly did not expect to beat the foil kiters. I was pretty humble and careful — I rigged my smallest EVO sail and put on my helmet. I had to take care of an injured elbow as well. After all, 30 km of racing in 30 knots of wind is quite a distance even if I had used boards that are so controllable and fast as my JP Slalom."
"After a careful start and a broad reach, and after rounding the first point of the island, the fleet was still quite close, but after a long close reach and an exhausting upwind (waves 1,5m), many of the participants dropped out, and I could only see 2 kites and another windsurfer around me (JP/Neilpryde team mate Nicklas Borgen)."
"I started believing that I could make it to the finish. The upwind was tough... lots of focus on keeping the foil balanced flying high over the waves. Wonderful feeling! When we rounded the last point before a long downwinder, there was only one kitefoil and me in the front, and I managed to win the battle because I could go deeper, without any crashes. Average speed for the race was 22 knots+."
"Personally, I have pushed my limits with this race, not the least because I had to sail a great bit of the race without harness. It is a fantastic feeling to win on the new NeilPryde foil that we (NeilPryde Design
Center) have been working so hard on during last year. Foiling has so much potential, and I really can't wait to use it in future races."
"Here in Scandinavia there are strong plans for windfoil events already. One of them is a NeilPryde One Design class already from 2017, and looking at the interest and attention that foil is already creating, I am sure we are talking about another revolutionary step for the windsurfing sport!"