Erwan Jauffroy - Foil Crossing Challenge

It took Erwan Jauffroy 12 hours and 19 minutes to cover 246.80 kilometers from Toulon to Calvi on a SUP foil, and make history in the process.

Before setting off on this unprecedented crossing on Wednesday, June 12, Erwan was overcome by emotions, but above all by an immense sense of gratitude for having made it this far.


Before setting off on this unprecedented crossing on Wednesday, June 12, Erwan was overcome by emotions, but above all by an immense sense of gratitude for having made it this far.


Indeed, it wasn’t exactly the first start towards Corsica. On the morning of Friday, May 31, Erwan was ready to set off on his historic “Foil Crossing Challenge”: to SUP foil from Toulon to Calvi, without a sail nor an engine, in just one day, solely on a foil powered by the waves created by the mistral.

On this day, the conditions looked promising; they all had been scrutinizing this weather window for a week and getting ready. However, when Erwan and his team finally set off, the wind and sea conditions off Porquerolles were already well beyond the limits they had set for themselves, and were only going to get worse offshore.

At sea, safety must always come first, so they decided to give up on this attempt after some 20 kilometers, knowing that it was only a temporary setback.


Erwan Jauffroy successfully completes his Foil Crossing Challenge 3


The team had to wait a little more than a week and a half before they could attempt the crossing again. Conditions looked to be optimal for Wednesday, June 12. This time, there was no turning back.

As soon as he woke up, Erwan was full of emotions, a mix of excitement, apprehension, but also pride. He knew it was going to be a long day, but he couldn’t wait to set off into the unknown and discover new sensations.

Erwan Jauffroy successfully completes his Foil Crossing Challenge 1


Under his feet, he could count on his F-ONE quiver: a ROCKET SUP DW PRO CARBON COMP 8’0 x 17″, a prototype Carbon 14mm mast (80 cm), an EAGLE X 1000 front wing and a Monobloc Tail DW XS 145.

“I was happy to have worked on the gear with the whole F-ONE development team, especially Charles (Bertrand). I think that really played a part in the success of the project and the fact that I made it to the end. The fact that I had the latest equipment made a huge difference, especially for take-offs offshore, where it was much more complicated than I thought.”

Erwan and his team set off at dawn off Porquerolles, bound for Corsica. He soon realized that the crossing would undoubtedly be more difficult than expected. As day broke, he found himself hampered for several hours either by the sun in his eyes, or by its reflection on the sea, which prevented him from reading the bumps. Once offshore, he then faced a cross swell, which is neither easy to read nor to ride.

Wind speeds ranged from 15 to 35 knots, creating bumps of 1.5 to 3 meters. The most difficult part was undoubtedly the 150, even 200 kilometers spent in the open sea. There, the relatively flat and cross swell posed a real challenge, with its gentle slope angle in relation to the swell’s displacement speed and despite 2 to 3-meter troughs.

“It all took a lot of focus. I talked briefly on the radio at the start with the boat, but for the next 11 hours or so, I didn’t talk anymore, it was distracting me too much from my path. I didn’t take the camera out once either. The risk was too great that I’d make a mistake and have to expend energy to get going again.”

Around the 50-kilometre mark, and after almost 2h30 of riding, everyone was diverted further south by the French Navy. Erwan and his crew, particularly Éric Péron, adapted the trajectory to continue aiming for the best possible route to Calvi. Despite this setback, the added distance and the premature onset of cramps, Erwan set off again and never gave up.

“Of course, I was upset about this delay and getting so cold, but we had no other choice. I never contemplated failure or giving up, nor did I lack motivation. I just told myself several times that it was going to take a lot longer than expected, but I was prepared to give a lot to get to the end. There was no other option for me.”

Alone in the middle of the Mediterranean, he came across dolphins and turtles, and finally caught sight of Corsica in the distance. But Raphaël Salles, CEO of F-ONE and who made that tricky crossing in 2007 with a kite, had warned him not to rejoice too quickly.


Erwan Jauffroy successfully completes his Foil Crossing Challenge 5


“That said, the last 20-30 kilometers were absolutely amazing. I was exhausted, but I was quite annoyed I didn’t have any energy left in my legs – the conditions were so good. It was wonderful to finally see the Revellata lighthouse that I’d set as a goal, with the evening light, the landscape, the cliffs, the welcoming committee… It all gave me a third wind.”


Erwan Jauffroy successfully completes his Foil Crossing Challenge


Erwan was able to maintain an average speed on his foil of 12.5 knots, or around 23 km/h. Finally, after more than 12 hours at sea, he arrived at the foot of the Citadel of Calvi, thus linking mainland France to Corsica for the first time in the world in SUP foil. Emotions ran high, and the scenery was timeless.


Erwan Jauffroy successfully completes his Foil Crossing Challenge 2


It took him several more hours to realize the magnitude of what he had just achieved, but his first thoughts were for all the people who have supported and accompanied him in this project from the outset.

“I was really uplifted by the support of various people, particularly at F-ONE and especially Julien (Salles). He was very legitimate to attempt this crossing, having already done over 200 kms before. So to know that he in particular thought I could do it, gave me energy, in addition to my team, the partners, family, friends, and also the community on social media.”

A documentary retracing the crossing and everything that led to it will be released at the end of the year.

Disclaimer: This downwinder was performed by a trained professional rider. Long distance crossings require physical preparation, proper security devices, and assistance at sea. Please do not attempt any downwinders alone or without proper training.

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