The Malta Young Sailors Club (MYSC) has once again started a revolution on the water.
Much like 20 odd years ago when John Ripard Jnr, the founder of MYSC, brought Dinghy Optimist Sailing to Malta, the club’s head coach, Jean Paul Fleri Soler has introduced the new windsurfing revolution – windsurf foiling.
“Foiling is fun and addictive, creating amazing sensations of freedom whilst flying silently above the water,” said Romain Jourdan, of Windfoil Zone.
This is a sentiment echoed by the new group of foilers at MYSC. All kitted out with their new windfoils, the experienced sailors that started out their careers on dinghy optimists and then laser always under coach Fleri Soler, have now come back to the club on a different sail and different board.
“I’m excited to see all my young sailors back on the water. It’s like they have come back home,” said Fleri Soler about the rise in interest amongst his ex-optimist sailors.
“It’s a high you don’t want to come down from – literally,” said Zak Zammit, MYSC laser coach and ex-optimist sailor at the club.
The MYSC said that watching this new generation of windsurfers is simply breathtaking. “Much like dragon flies, their colourful sails float just above the water and criss-cross the bay at such speed and with immense grace,” the club said.
“One should not be fooled, however. It takes serious back arching and balance to be able to remain mid-flight above the water whilst still keeping control. The past few weeks of trials have been testimony to many difficult falls and tumbles as a result.”
On his part, Chris Bajada, Commodore of Malta Young Sailors club said: “We are extremely excited to launch this new windfoil class.
“We have always tried to be at the forefront of sailing yet struggled to retain our past optimist sailors and those not able to sail on a Laser or 29er.
“Windfoils allow us the opportunity to keep our sailing family together and offer more exciting options.
“It also allows us to compete internationally in yet another class building on the great results we have achieved internationally in optimist and laser sailing.”
The great thing about windfoiling is that it can be done in relatively light wind conditions which gives the sport more flexibility and an all-year round appeal.
“The team at Malta Young Sailors Club is looking to keep expanding the class and include it in upcoming windsurfing regattas. This is a fun and exciting new chapter for the club and for Malta,” MYSC said in a statement.
“With foiling having already been accepted as an official Olympic sport in 2024, there is no doubt that this sport is here to stay.
“Having a world class athlete like Jean Fleri Soler who competed for Malta in the windsurfing Olympics in 1988 and 1992 is a huge benefit.
“There is no stopping this seasoned athlete from breaking new boundaries and this is yet another example of his love for the water and sports. To date, he is still out-foiling his younger students – a challenge they have all taken up seriously.”
For those interested in finding out more about the sport send a mail to [email protected]