| | | | |

A race win / 5th place overall: The Wingfoiling Marathon World Cup & Round Texel 2024

Another one for in the books; the story line of events, world cups  I didn’t train, don`t have the right gear (and was definitely not prepared) for. Yes, sometimes I do keep asking myself how I end up in situations like this… Anyway a week before I decided just to go with the flow and see. No pressure, enjoying the ride. After all there are only a few people in the world who are able to do this, on this level and it`s no secret that I like a challenge. (and I still have the unfair DNF from last year, to proof wrong)

Secretly I know, if I go to a competition, I want to win, otherwise it is not working for me. It is not some kind of a touristic tour riding behind enjoying the scenery, I know, because I am not like that (even though I tried, try– you have to be realistic).  So it wouldn`t be me if one day before the event, I digged up the harnas, the harnass line, the adapter and tried to wing my kitefoil again (because with that foil I will be competitive). To really get it under control again I needed another day (or a bigger board ….instead of my sinker ), which I don`t have, so I decided to go back to my freeride foil and switched my mindset: accept the touristic tour behind. Just hoping that I will be able to finish the races in the time limit: 30 minutes after the first finisher. And make the round around texel first of all and second of all beat my own time of 4 hours and 8 minutes.   It got me thinking, this was exactly the reason I stepped away from all the high performance classes for now: the gear issue..?!

Another part of this fun story was actually that a few hours before I left for the ferry I never had one of the newer wings in my hands (which are waaaaayy more effective and high performance). I was still doubting my wingfoiling future, if I could do it and continued with old wings for as long as possible, just to see where it would lead me.

Enough talking, thinking…

Ready or not… it is time to race again

.(and I am not going to lie that I did enjoy it out there, competing unless the too many mistakes and un – prepared decisions). 

Registered and …ready? After seeing the sea… I wasn`t that ready anymore. As soon as the waves break like that, the Dutch coastline looks like a big washing machine and the wind is onshore.. I pump my kite – no discussion needed.

Today I actually did pump that wing (had too, competitions always shine a different light on things isn`t it..?), full of doubts as everybody was already fighting and swimming for half an hour in the shore break. Some already gave up before I even started to get ready – I don`t blame them. For some reason I don`t have that switch. I don`t think anymore and just go, deal with it when I face it. The view:

The race before the race

I know I have been in this situation before. Swimming, tipping on my toes for half an hour against the waves, out of breath, before I realised I had to do something else. The waves are stronger than me. So this time after being thrown back to the beach two times and being pulled under the water (still surprised my wing was in one piece) and knowing I only had  a few minutes left before the start of the race,  I decided to give it a shot. You never try, you never know ( and I am late either way). Park my foil in the sand (I would have never done that with my kiteracefoil!!), stand up and wait for the gust and go. I forgot that I had another wing which was strange and a smaller frontwing but after two tries I made it. Sailing away as easy as that (- see the yellow helmet in between the waves 😉 ).  Race before the race – check.

First marathon race

 … Only to get back upwind to the starting line. Still standing on my board as (how “they” call me  at home in the waves) Jack Sparrow.  I kind of had to laugh about it myself on my way out there, it really felt like a drunk pirate, keeping my balance on some piece of wood.  And get back to focus: starting line…where are you..? upwind..right.. far upwind. I just made it in time to start the actual race, somewhere behind – missed out on the complete rabbit start  (which is quite an happening, hard to miss) and all the flags (I forgot about).

Well, a start is a start. As soon as we started, I lost track of everyone.  We couldn`t see the downwind mark, because it is a marathon race –  you know it is down there somehow. It was quite a far ride. On the way I was thinking how to pass the mark.. I know it must be somewhere in my head. Seeing two different versions of it right in front of me, didn`t help me either. I passed it like I would pass it in kitefoilracing.   I told myself it doesn’t matter, 50/50 , what’s done is done, no way back – Lets enjoy the ride. And that, I for sure did, I had a smile on my face the whole time. I like it like this, stronger wind and big waves.. the scary moments you almost fly out or go too fast for your feeling, surfing the waves downwind.  🙂

Riding back upwind halfway I realised, maybe I should switch my feet… duhh. I know when riding upwind, far upwind I should be able to find that mark somewhere…. With no – one around me, I doubted that, but I kept going, pushing it upwind. Until I finally saw something popping up between the waves. Cause the lay lines are impossible to make from that far, with the current, the waves and everything else I couldn`t make it in once. There was no pressure so a few turns – only thinking; don`t crash, don`t fall, stay above the water,  they call you Jack Sparrow, but you’re not drunk, you can do this – later I came around the mark and straight to the finish line. Still not seeing anyone and doubting my, speed, mark rounding’s. But hey I finished that’s what counts this week (and hopefully in time…).

When I came to the shore, it was so empty,  I thought everyone left already, I saw some girls too thinking by myself  “they are quick”. Not knowing that some of them never made it outside. I didn’t  believe them that I managed to win the race……………Which was the opposite of just cruising behind. It took me around one hour.

Second and third Marathon Race: pumping and leashes that eat seeweads

Next day, I was definitely not ready to get hit again by the waves or to wing in light wind ( I never do, or better… I will never enjoy that). So we had to wait a bit for the wind to arrive, before we got send out again for the second race. At least this time I was on time for the start. The whole way downwind, I was pumping, fighting to keep the speed and in the gusts hooking my wing in to chill.. my arms were not used to that kind of action. I couldn`t go faster also not with a bit less angle downwind.

Finally seeing the downwind mark, as third girl.. (Welcome in the story of my life: Mariska & world cups) I touched down while still pumping and .. got stuck. While trying to get everything out the water again.. pumping (again) for my life, close to giving it up. The wind heard me and gave me a few knots to get back up again. In that time I was passed by some others and drifted down the mark a few meters.

The next challenge is upwind, I didn`t figure out – yet – how to go upwind and fast. I am like an old grandma… or better a snail going upwind. With way less angle than the others. I had a long upwind to make it happen, but nope. I just continued slow and steady.  The short mast of 85cm and the freeride blade are also not making it easier in this case I guess.. And not knowing when how to hook in and hold the wing. Eventually, I was too busy fighting with that, and my leash behind dragging some seaweed and splashing, hitting me. That I completely missed out on the finish mark in between the big waves. Had to do a 360 to finish and lost another place.  At least it is another finished race – check.  Finished 5th.

The third race I found myself a little bigger board. Just to avoid being stuck in windholes (because after all not crashing isn`t guaranteed with me)… Just a few seconds before the wind decided to play a game and pick up.. anyway, I made my choice and had to deal with it. It felt slower for some reason. At least the shorebreak was friendly with the low tide.  Finished 4th and ended the in a 3rd place overall.

Both races took me around the 50 minutes.

Fourth and Fifth Marathon Race: lonely times

 One more day of marathon racing, before the big round. Clearly I wasn`t used to the bigger board and missed the first gybe after the start of the fourth race. So everyone, got past me again. I had to play catch up, which was actually fun, I never expected that I could. That my foil allowed me to fight back from being in last position. It was a bit shorter course,  so I didn`t had time enough to come back even more. But I tried my best and finished 4th again.

The fifth race, because the other one was a bit shorter, we had a looooong lonely way upwind and downwind. I thought will  never see that upwind mark.  But it is at that moment that always suddenly you see the boats and the mark popping up in between the waves. It was hard to catch because of the current, which sometimes makes you go upwind faster and sometimes, it increases your angle, yet sometimes it makes you fight and still miss that mark. Downwind was also a search and just go which made me finish 4th and let me stay 3rd overall.

Learning points swimming against the waves, is way better with the  leash on your back than on your wrist. The right leash on your board and pump piece to pump a wing makes your life easier. #kookoftheday

Finally Round Texel´24: Made it.

For the World Cup score this is the last race, which counts double.  For the others it’s just one score, the round of texel score. Find out more about this competition.

The goal is first of all, to finish safe and  to get a score (wipe that DNF – did not finish while I finished – from last year). Second of all, I had to beat my own time of 4 hours and 8 minutes from last year.

It was a  round of in total 78km this year. Last year it was 91km. Wind direction was around and average as I remember South West 4/5 and last year it was South Easth 3. Last year I made 75 gybes, this year only 30. And finsiehd in 3 hours. I definitely had a faster wing, but the same board, short mast and freeride foil.

Although this year my way was 13km shorter, 45 gybes less & one hour faster than last year it felt longer for some reason, might be this year I became a pro in crashing in the wing. Or maybe because I was super powered on the upwind and I didn`t really know how to handle it.   Holding on to that 5.5m wing debating to keep it hooked or hook it out to not fly out of the wave of my board. Especially the moments the wing planned to go faster than my foil…

I can definitely say that I pushed that (ma 850)  freeride foil to the max along the way and myself too every race.  Last year I really enoyed the ride and watched it all. Said hello to the boats, scored some high 5`s, greeted the seal, passed the harbour with some jumps. This year I was definitely more into fighting the elements and everything around. Were I crashed only one time last year, I did it a 20 times this year..

The races and especially the big round asked a lot of different skills, not only being fast, having the fastest gear, being technical. Also, endurance, navigating through the sea, seaweed, dealing with the current, the tide. Finding and not missing the marks. Making a clear way through all the catamarans, the big ferry we had to pass and the other big boats around.  It all makes you realise how small we are in this huge ocean.  

In the end I made it all work. A week with more than 250km of wingfoiling covered – in rough conditions from the first second this World Cup started. I finished all 5 marathon races with a decent score, a race win, two days in third position and made it around the island, beating my own time (the one and only goal I had)!  Which made me end the Wingfoiling Marathon World cup with a 5th place overall. And as 3rd dutch girl. And that 30 minute time limit, I didn`t tought a second about it ….

What more to say than; Thank you for the challenge Texel! If I ever return, I promise I will be ready and prepared to really race. Bring the right leash and pump piece, learn to wing my kitefoil, screw my own foil….and figure out how to tack like a pro…more than one day before the event starts.

It proved once again that showing up is just as important as having the right gear and training. Never let anything hold you back from entering a competition, when not completely ready. Go out there and try.

Vergelijkbare berichten

Geef een reactie

Het e-mailadres wordt niet gepubliceerd. Vereiste velden zijn gemarkeerd met *