It’s a grand premiere that will take place next weekend, July 15 and 16, in Scheveningen, Netherlands : the very first X-15 Class wingfoil competition! The X-15 Class is a proposal by FreeWing and Starboard for one-design equipment to take wingfoil racing to the next level. As a reminder, Starboard, with their other affiliated brand Severne, are the creators of the IQfoil, the now Olympic windsurfing board. Will the X-15 Class follow in their wake? For the time being, the first ever wingfoil one-design race will take place with Windfoilen Nederland. To find out more, we spoke to its founder, Marco Boone, a windfoil and wingfoil rider and instructor with a strong commitment to the IQfoil circuit. Marco explains what the X-15 Class is all about, the equipment, the race formats, but also what he expects from the event. And for those who wish to register, it’s here!
Photo : Luca Piana
Hello Marco, first of all can you introduce yourself and Windfoilen Nederland?
I am founder of Windfoilen Nederland. I started already in 2017 with my company giving Windfoil lessons, and we are selling equipment in our webshop throughout the EU. Later we started also with Wingfoillesson.
Actually, my company started as a ‘hobby project’ just giving lessons to give people the experience of the feeling of flying. Nowadays, it’s my full time job.
In the past, I did a lot of competitions on the good old windsurf boards. Because of this experience, I am very much involved in the IQfoil (youth) class as well. In 2021, we organized the very first IQfoil youth races as well. Now we’re going to do the same with the X-15 class as well.
What is the link between Windfoilen Nederland and Starboard/FreeWing?
We are an official dealer of Starboard and FreeWing. Besides our webshop, we give wingfoil and windfoil lessons in the Netherlands.
After the test event at Lake Garda, you’re the very first organizer of an X-15 Class wingfoil competition. How does it feel?
We are very proud to organize this very first X-15 class event. Wingfoil races is still in the early developing phase. We really believe that racing in a one design class will give more fun, because there is more focus on the skills of the rider and less on the equipment (because it’s the same). We have seen this also in the IQfoil windfoil class. Because you can’t ‘blame’ the equipment anymore, you have to train harder as an athlete. Also, the competition is much closer because everybody is using the same equipment.
At the moment we were at Lake Garda, the European championships IQfoil youth were there. 440 participants!! This class only exists since 2021 and growing fast!!! Need to see more?
What do you expect from this competition?
We have 15 sets available and we are aiming to race in heats, so more riders can participate in this competition. To avoid too much waiting time, the # of participants is limited to 45. We think most riders will come from the Netherlands, Belgium and maybe Germany.
What’s the program for the two days of competition?
- We hired a professional IQfoil coach. We will start with a race clinic. We will talk about subjects like, start technique, race technique, rounding of the marks.
- Of course, we will explain all parts of the equipment and the philosophy behind it
- Approx 1,5 we will be racing. And we will end with the price giving
- Saturday evening we will have a BBQ at the beach club Jumpteam Scheveningen
What’s included in the X-15 Class kit that will be available to riders?
- Full carbon X-15 race wingboard from Starboard
- X-15 carbon foil with 820 front wing / 200 back wing and 95 cm carbon mast
- Freewing Pro V2, sizes 6,7m2, 6,0m2, 5,0m2 and for juniors also the 4,0m2
- 1 travel bag, in which all parts fit (board, foil and 2 wings). So it’s very easy to travel with your complete X-15 class race kit. Very good thinking of Starboard!
What will the race format and courses be like?
The idea is to copy the race formats out of the IQfoil class. There are mainly 2 different course which will be foiled during an event;
- Coarse racing (VMG racing) > 12 knots
- Slalom racing when the wind is lower than 12 knots
- Long distance racing
During our event in Scheveningen we want to race in all 2 formats as well.
Have you ever tested an X-15 Class kit yourself? If so, what did you think?
Yes, I have tried the X-15 class kit as well. But even more important, after every try-out day there was a debrief with all riders. F.e. Clement Colmas was one of them as well.
In general the riders were very happy with the board, foil and the wing. To make sure that you can compete in the very low wind area, it’s important to choose for a big wing with lots of power. So Freewing has to make some small adjustment to get a little more power out of the wing.
To give an idea. Racing with 8-9 knots is working well with the gear.
Speaking for myself (I am not a pro like Clement 😉) I think the board and foil are relatively easy and stable to use. It’s easy to push the gear and go fast. I have tried more recreational stuff, which was much more difficult to control than this gear. So that means that when you like to fast, but don’t want to do races, the X-15 class gear works also very well.
And finally, can we expect more X-15 Class meetings at Windfoilen Nederland in the coming months?
After our event all the gear will travel to Norway for a next race event by the end of July and after that it will move to Germany. So I don’t think we will be able to organize a next event this year.
But our aim will be to see how we set up a class organization in the Netherlands, so we can start organizing X-15 class events in 2024 and make it a success like the IQfoil class.
Photo : Luca Piana
Thank you Marco for your answers, and we wish you every success for this premiere! And long live the X-15 Class!