Epic Foil Racing In New Zealand – Antonio Cozzolino Wins

Hello Antonio, first of all, big congratulations on winning the New Zealand Foilracing Championship last week. After the big success in the Australian Windfoil Championship last month, where we saw some epic racing, we see that foil racing seems to have a strong foothold also in New Zealand. Antonio, you have been at the forefront of pushing this new discipline for the past couple of years, how do you explain the huge success of windfoil racing in New Zealand? 

Thank you. It has just been a snowball effect here down under. Every year we come to New Zealand for our RS:X training, with the usual crew: Kiran Badloe, Dorian van Rijsselberghe, Ivan Pastor and Sil Hoekstra, all led by coach Aaron McIntosh and sometimes joined by JP Tobin. We were early adopters of the foiling, so when we weren’t training we were flying. The local fleet saw what we were up to and just followed us. It’s as simple as that.

You won the epic foil racing championship, but you had some tough competition, please tell us about the most exciting racing moments from the Championship. 

I had a pretty close battle with JP throughout the regatta. Especially on the first day, we had a bunch of very close 1-2s. That was fun – check out the videos. It wasn’t a super serious event but it was nice to come out on top – even if I got quite lucky a few times. JP represented New Zealand at the London 2012 Olympics and he is a legend. He was part of an earlier iteration of the Rijsselberghe squad which led to that so very dominant Dutch Gold Medal at the 2012 Games. Growing up I always looked up to the guy, you’ve got to respect his talent. So it’s a bit strange, but you know “luck beats skill!”

Video from Day 01 of the @giltrapaudi NZ Windfoil Championships!#windfoilnz #windfoil #windfoiling #windsurfing #windfoilracing #racing #newzealand #nationals #paris2024 #2024olympics #sailing #liveocean #whytheocean #loyaltothefoilShot by Georgia S Photography 6echo Starboard SUPSNZ and Aaron McIntosh

Geplaatst door Windfoil New Zealand op Vrijdag 13 maart 2020

Video day 1

What kind of courses did you sail during the championship? 

For the last couple of years, we have been pushing new formats in this part of the world. I suppose we have used it as a testing ground for everything that we have done. During this competition, we sailed normal course races (two-lap windward/leewards), long course (one-lap but long windward/leeward), marathon (around 1 hour down to a faraway location and back) and sprint slalom. The race director took advice from Aaron, based on the conditions we had at the time. We had mostly very light winds but wanted to try all the formats, so we did.

You’ve been sailing on RS:X for many years, how does the new Windfoil racing compare to RS:X?

To best honest, it is pretty much the same. Except that you’re flying all of the time. But the racing itself, it’s the same. You need to be good at all the same things: starts, tactics, maneuvers, strategy, speed, and fitness. It’s just much more exciting, both to watch and to do.

What do you like most about Windfoiling?

I love that you can fly in about six knots, give or take, and you feel so free, yet with so much speed. It doesn’t seem like you should be able to have that speed in so light wind. But it is. The water is still so flat and so still, most other boards or sailing boats are not really going anywhere, and yet there you are, sending it.

Which is your favorite racing format?

I enjoy the long-distance/marathon aspects a lot. It’s cool. You have so much time and you get to see some awesome scenery. I think it offers some great media opportunities too. Many of the viewers of the Tour de France don’t watch it for the cycling you know? My dream in all this is that we end up racing events in epic places: under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, past the Opera House, around The World in Dubai, around the Statue of Liberty in New York. That’s where my head is at, and this format gives us those possibilities.

Many people are still just starting with wind foiling, what would be your top advice to people starting foiling and interested in foil racing?

Just go out there and do it. Take a friend. Go and race. You’ll never look back. Not much more to it!

Giltrap Audi NZ Windfoiling Championships Day 2

Video recap from day 2 of racing Giltrap Audi New Zeland WIndfoil Championships at Manly Sailing Club#windfoilnz #windfoil #windfoiling #windsurfing #windfoilracing #racing #newzealand #nationals #paris2024 #2024olympics #sailing #liveocean #whytheocean #loyaltothefoilShot by Georgia S Photography Joshua McCormack and 6echo

Geplaatst door Windfoil New Zealand op Zaterdag 14 maart 2020

Video day 2


Windfoil – Sprint Slalom action.

Lightwind Windfoil Sprint Slalom at the recent Giltrap Audi New Zealand Windfoil Championships. Manly Sailing Club Its short sharp and intense racing in light winds. Its simple, no mistakes – execute the basics better than everyone else and you win or loose if you don't.

Geplaatst door Windfoil New Zealand op Donderdag 19 maart 2020

Video from Sprint Slalom

Thanks to Antonio for the interview and all his work pushing foil racing into our great sport. It looked like a lot of fun foil racing in New Zealand! Once again, congrats on winning the New Zealand Foilracing Championship, Antonio! 

Photos by Adam Mustill.

Authors: Oda Johanne

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