"I think the windsurfing movement is growing everywhere in all the world." That's the opinion of windsurfing legend and four time Olympic medallist Allesandra Sensini who was at the opening of the T293 and T293 Plus World Championships in Torbole, Italy. It's hard to argue with her, either, given the quality of competition which has already graced Lake Garda through the first half of those championships.
In spite of some less than ideal weather conditions, Sensini and other spectators have been treated to plenty of intense racing during the elimination stages of competition, which have now drawn to a close. Racing, in fact, had to be entirely abandoned on Tuesday due to a lack of wind but improving conditions on Wednesday allowed for an adapted schedule to be completed and sun and wind is predicted for the remainder of the week.
That will be music to the ears of the 474 competitors from a total of 33 countries who have made Torbole their temporary home this week. Those competitors have already put on quite a show during the eliminations and many of the pre-event favourites have been very much living up to expectations.
Italian windsurfer and current European champion Giorgia Speciale, for instance, has really laid down a marker in her under-17 class by taking five wins from the six completed races. America's Geronimo Nores, meanwhile, has been similarly dominant in the male under-17 class, racking up creditable results in all six of his races and winning three.
The top of the standings are altogether more congested at under-15 level however, with a number of windsurfers fiercely contesting top spot in both the male and female contests. On the male side, Greece's Alexandros Kalpogiannakis and Israel's Eyal Zror have both racked up two wins and a couple of second places in their four races to put them even on 6 points.
In the girls' meanwhile, Mathilde Garandeau of France has performed best to date but is closely followed in the standings by her teammate Jariel Elisa and Mak Cheuk Wing from Hong Kong. Competition in the two Techno Plus classes has been fierce, too, and in both the men's and the women's competition each of the four races has been won by a different competitor.
All of that suggests that the finals, after sailors have been separated to gold and silver fleets, which begin tomorrow, are set to be closely fought and exceptionally exciting affairs. You can keep up with the action by visiting the event website
, where live GPS tracking of the races, videos and photos are all readily available.