Adrien Mestre wins the 2023 Lanzarote Foil Challenge

The third edition of the Lanzarote Foil Challenge was another explosive round of long-distance action. As per usual, there were no dull moments as this year’s competitors crossed all corners of Lanzarote. Big swell, flat water blasting, sore muscles, and plenty of drama are standard at the Lanzarote Foil Challenge. Severne rider Adrien Mestre took the win in the open class.

Photos by John Carter / Inna Bru.

The challenge

Many things have to line up for this type of event to happen. Most importantly, the weather has got to play ball; winds from a specific direction, not too big of a swell forecast, and generally good weather. The logistics are another aspect.

The Lanzarote Foil Challenge is divided into multiple stages that each count as single races towards an overall result. All stages are usually completed in just one day.

This year, the challenge had to be divided into two days due to a difficult forecast. Usually, you’d need a good North Easterly wind forecast, but the holding period offered winds from different directions such as South East. The decision was made to attempt the first part of the race in the South Easterly winds, and the rest when the winds would swing back around to North East. Thus the fleet set out from Marina Rubicon in Playa Blanca intending to land on the beach of Famara just a few hours later. The winds played ball, and the full fleet landed safely in Famara in no time. The wind direction made it possible to do the full stretch nearly fully on one tack.


A day later, the wind was back to its usual North East direction, and the organisers greenlit the remainder of the race. The fleet would now launch from the beach town of Famara, finish the next four stages in the challenge, and land back in the south of the island, at Playa Blanca.

Early morning, all riders and organising crew rocked up at the harbor in Famara and were greeted with waves rolling into the harbor mouth. With not much other choice, all riders had to be boat-lifted out through the surf. And after a short period of logistical challenges, the full fleet was back on the water, and the first start of the day got underway.


Apart from the intense racing, and challenges throughout the day, the fleet was greeted with a variety of weather conditions and the incredible scenery that Lanzarote offers.

Some of the most beautiful areas are, among others, the straight between Lanzarote and La Graciosa where several hundred meters high cliffs join the sea on one side, and La Graciosa island’s sandy beaches light up on the other.

The first stage of the race had the finish line right at this spot. The fleet got a moment of rest before the rest of the journey started.

The remaining stages were basically a huge downwinder covering the whole east side of the island. After the start in the straight between Lanzarote and La Graciosa, the fleet would stop by in Costa Teguise, Playa Honda, and then back in Playa Blanca. As the fleet worked its way down, the conditions also changed over time offering flatter water and more flat-out downwind racing.

The contest

Apart from battling the conditions and tiredness, there was also a fierce race between the riders. In the iQFOiL fleet, the battle was on between Pawel Tarnowski (POL-182) and Michal Polak (POL-42). They both took turns winning stages and were tied on points at the end of the day, with the tiebreak going in the favor of Pawel.

In the open class, Severne rider Adrien Mestre showed some impressive speeds across all stages, and in various conditions, and was able to snatch the title.

In the womens fleet, there was also a very tight battle. French rider Marion Mortefon (FRA-118) was able to take the win over Anastasiya Valkevich (POL-442) and win this year’s title.

The ultimate challenge

Over the few years that this event has happened, it has remained the ultimate foil challenge in the world. There are no other races currently that offer this type of challenge. Throughout this race, you are mainly battling yourself and get tested on your mental strength, but have got to keep your competitors behind you at the same time. And it’s only when you set foot back on land that you really start processing the events of the day, and all the experiences you’ve just had. You’ll be sure to go through nearly the full register of emotions in one day!


Open Foil Men
1. Adrien Mestre (FRA-7)
2. Nico Prien (GER-7)
3. Hugo Sjöberg (SWE-45)

Open Foil Women
1. Marion Mortefon (FRA-118)
2. Anastasiya Valkevich (POL-422)

iQFOiL Men top 3
1. Pawel Tarnowski (POL-182)
2. Michal Polak (POL-42)
3. Máté Bors (HUN-77)

Open Foil Locals
1. Federico Morales (ESP-181)
2. Rafael Lasso (ESP-768)
3. Rafael Ortega (ESP-23)

How to follow

You can keep up to date with everything about the Lanzarote Foil Challenge by visiting or following their Instagram account @lanzarotefoilchallenge