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Mathis Ghio and Nia Suardiaz are Crowned GWA Wingfoil Race Class European Champions

Sunday 17th July 2022
Words: Gemma Hamaini
Photos: John Markantonis / Andromedas Sfakianou

The wind took a while to kick in on the final day of the GWA Wingfoil Race Class European Championships at Kritika Beach in Rhodes, Greece, yesterday, but the thermal winds kicked in at 2pm allowing further elimination races and a final result: crowning two new European Champions, Mathis Ghio and Nia Suardiaz.

GWA Wingfoil Race Class European Championships 2022

Women’s Eliminations

Elimination 10

Paula Novotna (CZE) and Nia Suardiaz (ESP) had been neck and neck all event long and Sunday threw up yet another close race between these two leading female wing racers.

Paula had a slight advantage from the start and held the lead, though Nia did her best to creep up. Nia unfortunately crashed at the 4th mark and Kylie Bellouevre stepped up and moved into second position. Paula managed to distance herself well ahead of the fleet, where there was no chance of catching her. She was delighted to win this tenth elimination, which also meant it gave her the overall lead above Nia. Kylie kept a great pace and finished in 2nd, with Nia in 3rd. 

Elimination 11

Paula Novotna was on a clear mission from the very start of elimination 11, as she stormed her way through the racecourse blowing away the competition. Nia Suardiaz unfortunately went down at the second mark and this left her with no hope of catching up to Novotna. It was another win for Novotna, 2nd for Suardiaz and 3rd for Belloeuvre

Elimination 12 

Paula Novotna was again first through the start. Nia tried her hardest to catch up, pushing  at every mark. In the final seconds her golden opportunity finally arrived and she managed to push her way ahead of Paula, and take her first win of the day.

Paula had to settle for 2nd place on this occasion. Kylie once again took 3rd after riding consistently well.

Elimination 13 

Kylie Belleouvre rode an amazing final race of the day and was in first position for most of the race, until Nia Suardiaz found the opportunity to advance ahead of her and take the win. Kylie took a well-deserved second place, followed by Paula Novotna who unfortunately crashed but did her very best to complete the race in a good position.

We have seen some exceptional riding from the women this week, and the ongoing battle between Nia and Paula added a whole new dimension to it all.

“I’m so happy to win here in Greece,” said Nia. “I really hope to be able to come back here again to compete next year.” 


1st Nia Suardiaz (ESP)

2nd Paula Novotna (CZE)

3rd Kylie Belloeuvre (FRA)

Men’s Eliminations

Elimination 5

It was an incredible fight between Mathis Ghio and Luca Franchi for the start of the elimination 5 final. They were neck and neck but Mathis managed to jump into the lead after the 3rd mark, and on the upwind reach gained a more solid advantage. Riccardo Zorzi was chasing them in 3rd, with Francesco Cappuzzo in 4th, but Cappuzzo also managed to speed past Zorzi on the upwind reach and held his spot for the remainder of the race. Mathis started increasing his lead until he cruised through the finish line for yet another win. Lucas Franchi finished in 2nd, while Capuzzo managed to grab the 3rd position and Zorzi in 4th. Escofet was disqualified from the race, which was a costly mistake for his overall position.

Elimination 6 

Luca Franchi was first through the start, but he didn’t hold his lead for long as Mathis Ghio went flying past him within seconds. Mathis has been performing incredibly well throughout this event, and this race was no exception. Francesco Cappuzzo started to close in on him on the upwind reach and overtook him, but his moment of joy was short lived and Ghio pounced past him again on the downwind section. It all came down to the final section of the course, where Cappuzzo managed to grab the lead once again, but the race was cancelled in the final moments due to a drop in wind. 

The elimination 6 final was started again as soon as the conditions improved. This time Cappuzzo had his eye on the win from the very start. He shot through the start and blasted through the course, not accepting anything other than a win for this elimination. Ghio finished in second place, followed by Bastien Escofet in third.

We have seen some very tight races this week here in Rhodes, and the men have pushed through all conditions to give a spectacular show. 

“I’m so happy to win here, and to be the first GWA Race Class European Champion,” said Mathis. “It was a great experience to ride with all of the other athletes here.”


1st Mathis Ghio (FRA)

2nd Francesco Cappuzzo (ITA)

3rd Bastien Escofet (FRA)


We also completed a total of 6 eliminations for the U16/U19 and Masters categories. The overall results are:


1st Xavier Corr (ESP)

2nd Axel Gerard (FRA)

3rd Bobo Gallagher (USA)


1st Luca Franchi (ITA)

2nd Riccardo Zorzi (ITA)

3rd Petros Kontarinis (GRC)


1st Benjamin Billarant (FRA)

2nd Giorgios Tampuris (GRC)

3rd Gergely Szabo (POL)

It has been a very successful event here in Rhodes, Greece, and we would like to thank all of the athletes, sponsors, crew and volunteers that made this week possible. We look forward to returning next year!

You can view the full list of 2022 final rankings here.

Check out our Instagram stories from the event. Facebook has been firing, and you can also Subscribe to our YouTube channel to receive the all-important video highlights from this and every event this season.

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