Wind foiler Luuc van Opzeeland took gold in the iQFoil class at the World Cup in The Hague. The 24-year-old from Hoofddorp defeated the German title defender Sebastian Kördel and Nicolò Renna from Italy in the final.
Van Opzeeland took the lead immediately after the start and did not relinquish it before the coast of Scheveningen. Kördel had to settle for silver, the bronze went to Renna.
The iQFoil class replaced the RS:X as the Olympic class after the Tokyo Olympics. Kiran Badloe took the last Olympic title in traditional windsurfing in 2021, after his friend and training mate Dorian van Rijsselberghe had won gold in 2012 and 2016, and then also switched to foil. Badloe, however, has difficulty catching up with the world top. He left the World Cup in The Hague on Thursday due to equipment failure.
The Netherlands may send one participant in each class to next year’s Olympic Games. By winning the world title, Van Opzeeland has taken a firm option on the ticket in the iQFoil, the class in which participants can fly over the water at high speed thanks to an underwater wing under their board. His competitors Huig-Jan Tak and Badloe played a supporting role in The Hague.
“It is extra special to become world champion in our own country,” said Van Opzeeland, who recently decided to leave the training group of the New Zealand success coach Aaron McIntosh, which also includes Badloe. “I’ve tried it so many times. And to do it in front of a home crowd is great. My start was perfect and then I went full throttle. I felt super comfortable at high speed.”
Renna came close to Van Opzeeland for a while, until the Italian got caught behind a buoy. As a result, he lost all his speed and saw Kördel pass. Van Opzeeland flew unthreatened to the gold in the front. “I want to thank everyone who has helped me in recent years. Let’s have a great party,” said the new world champion.