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Carving New Lines – Meet The Cross-Over World Champions

Report Holly Keenan Photos Samuel Cardenas

The GWA Wingfoil World Cup France day 2 in Leucate kicked off with sunny skies and light winds. The lack of wind in the morning provided us with the perfect opportunity to catch up with all the multiple world champions of other sports we have amongst us and ask them what inspired them to diversify into wingfoiling

Over the last few years, wingfoiling has blasted onto the watersports scene, which has attracted an array of different athletes from all sporting backgrounds. From Freeride Skiers to Windsurfing and SUP World Champions, Leucate has brought together top athletes who want to test their limits and make their mark at the GWA Wingfoil World Cup in Leucate. Today we caught up with two of them…

 

Mondial Du Vent Event

MAXIME CHABLOZ, 21  SWITZERLAND

 

Maxime Chabloz is one of the riders who wants to do just this. This man has been at the top of the kitesurfing freestyle scene for the last few years, and we are sure he will be claiming his first GKA Freestyle Kite world title anytime soon. 

Nevertheless, Maxime not only limits himself to watersports competition. He was born and raised in the Swiss Alps and has recently become the Ski Freeride World Tour Champion 2022. 

“At the first event of the freeride ski world tour, I got 5th which I was thrilled with and then at the following three competitions I managed to win them all, which was pretty unexpected as I had only just qualified the year before. One of the main reasons I believe I won was that I went into these events with no expectations, not really wanting a world title but just being realistic with myself about my level. I knew I had the level to win the events, but I never thought to myself I had to win events.

“I started wingfoiling because I wanted something to do when the conditions were not so great for freestyle. I don’t take wingfoiling as seriously as kitesurfing and skiing, but I still love to compete and show the world what I can do in different sports. 

“It’s also quite exciting with wingfoiling because the sport is so new, and we don’t know its direction. For example, in skiing and freestyle, we have already established the best and most prestigious events a rider can win. For instance, in freestyle kitesurfing, I really enjoy the GKA Freestyle World Cup SuperKite Brazil because it’s been the final event of the season recently and it has fantastic conditions. In freeride skiing, you have the Verbier Xtreme Championships.

But in wingfoiling, we are still in the development stage where we don’t know which event will hold the most prestige. This excites me and keeps me motivated to discover and go to each event.” 

Fiona Wylde, 25, Hood River, Oregon.

Another multiple world champion who has traveled halfway across the world to compete in Leucate is Fiona Wylde from Hood River, Oregon. Fiona is a 3 x Sup Race World Champion and holds a PWA Youth World Title in Windsurfing. Fiona has been competing for over 12 years now, and her competition experience has helped her build a strong mindset and correctly prepare herself to perform at her optimum. Fiona is pushing the women’s side of wing foiling and had some promising results over the last year on the GWA Wingfoil World Tour 2021. 

 

“I find the woman’s side of wingfoilng interesting because when I am wingfoiling in Hood River, there are so many women with me on the water. However, when I come to the events, there are not as many women entering the competition as expected.

I am really motivated to encourage more women to compete and figure out what is stopping women from entering in the first place, whether this is budget, equipment or time. I have learnt so much from competition, and this is definitely one of the best ways you can progress your riding. Therefore, if we have more women involved in the sport we can really begin to push the envelope. 

 

It might not have been a windy day in Leucate, but it was great to see a buzzing atmosphere at the 25th Mondial Du Vent event. At the signing session, we had many eager young groms talking to the professional riders about how they could pursue a career in watersports and become a professional athlete.

We hope the wind will appear for us tomorrow as the riders are as keen as ever to get out on the water and showcase their new innovations. Make sure to stay up to date on  the liveticker and follow our Instagram stories for behind-the-scenes interviews and more.

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