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Big Air world title fight set for Gran Canaria

One-stop Big Air world championship battle returns to Spanish island renowned for its nuking winds

GWA Big Air Wingfoil World Championships Gran Canaria
9—13 July, 2024, Salinas de Tenefé

The world’s top wingfoil athletes are set to battle for glory at the one-stop Big Air world championships which return to the Spanish island of Gran Canaria for the second straight year after the spectacular discipline debuted there 12 months ago.

Twenty-four men and 11 women will fight for the world titles at the GWA Wingfoil World Cup Gran Canaria at Salinas de Tenefé, just south along the coast from the venue for last year’s ground-breaking contest.

The world cup will have a five-day competition window, relatively short for a Big Air contest. But Salinas de Tenefé is blessed with nuking conditions in July, with last year’s finals buffeted by gusts up to 47 knots. It will be run in tandem with the final stop of the Qatar Airways GKA Big Air Kite World Championships.

The reigning world champions, winners of the first-ever Big Air titles, France’s Julien Rattotti and Spain’s Mar de Arce, are set to defend the crowns that they won in such spectacular style over one-and-a-half days of thrilling action.

Dramatic final

Rattotti won the competition right at the end of the dramatic final, with amazing jumps of of 11.1 and 11.2 metres, the final one earning the Frenchman a score of 9.47 from a possible 10.

But the Big Air discipline is not just about height, it is also about technicality. The judging criteria will award 70 percent of the score for height—including power, commitment and amplitude—and 30 percent for technical difficulty.

Last year’s runner-up, Germany’s Benjamin May, wowed the judges with his hugely committed Front Loops that scored big, even though his jumps were not as high as his rivals.

May, who is returning from injury, is expected to make another strong showing this year in the big kickers generated by the wind swell that favour riders who prefer to jump regular, or left-foot forward. The GWA Surf-Freestyle world champion, Chris MacDonald (USA), is also set to have another tilt at the Big Air crown.

Caused big upset

On the women’s side of the draw, Mar de Arce was battling in her first competition when she won the title. In doing so the Spaniard caused a big upset, getting the better of her compatriot, the all-conquering teenager, Nia Suardiaz.

Both are slated to come back to battle again, joined by the third place finisher, Poland’s Agata Blach, and France’s Orane Ceris, in fourth, who is also returning to form after being out with a knee injury.

It promises to be an explosive competition. Be sure to join us for the livestream here for all the action.

words: Ian MacKinnon
images: Lukas K Stiller

Men

Julien Rattotti
Benjamin May
Luca Vuillermet
Christopher MacDonald
Alan Fedit
Clément Hamon
Ancor Sosa
Giulio Gasperini
Lasse Harbacek
Chucho Nonnot
Bastien Escofet
Jose Estredo
Camille Bouyer
Julien Bouyer
Max Robinson
Luca Gasperini
Vinnicius Martins
Xavier Corr
Nathan van Vuuren
Otis Buckingham
Agustin Pardo
Kamil Manowiecki
Mahe Thébault
Jeremy Rodríguez

Women

Mar de Arce
Nia Suardiaz
Agata Blach
Orane Ceris
Bowien van der Linden
Elena Moreno
Laura Mayer
Maria Behrens
Viola Lippitsch
Julia Repschlaeger
Enoha Laurent

Spot Info: Salinas de Tenefé, Gran Canaria

Weather
The weather in Gran Canaria, Spain, during July ranges around 25-30 degrees Celsius with sunrise around 07:15 and sunset at 21:00.

Wind and water
Gran Canaria enjoys great wind in July. Salinas de Tenefé is famous for its strong winds. The wind regularly blows 30+ knots, with gusts up to 40+ knots. The wind direction is from the north/north-east. The strong wind creates decent chop and some wind swell that also comes from the north-east and provides kickers to boost off, left-foot forward. The water temperature is 23-24C, so a shorty or summer wetsuit is a good idea.

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