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GWA Wingfoil World Cup France Day 1 – Going Global

Day One at the GWA Wingfoil World Cup France may not have delivered suitable winds for the contest just yet, but it gave us plenty of time to explore the reason some of the amassed 80 competitors decided to make this their first event and travel from so far away. There’s certainly a building anticipation for the rest of the week.

The sport of wingfoiling may be in its infancy, but as you’ll hear in these interviews, the rapid evolution has left riders simply wanting to come and push the sport and improve together!  These are the times that legends of the future will reminisce about… 

Words: Holly Keenan
Photos: Samuel Cardenas

ZANE SCHWEITZER, 28
MAUI, HAWAII

Zane Schweitzer, the Hawaiian legend and all-around watersport phenomenon, travelled halfway across the globe to compete in the GWA Wingfoil World Cup in Leucate. There is nothing this guy hasn’t done when it comes to water sports. A two-time SUP world champion, Zane also won the IWT Windsurfing Big Wave Open Pro in 2021 with a monster wave at Jaws. From surfing monster waves to throwing freestyle tricks on a wing foil, Zane is a true master of the ocean. 

Zane was destined to be a watersports legend. His father, Matt Schweitzer, a windsurfing pioneer, was 17 times Windsurfing World Titleholder. Furthermore, Zane’s Grandfather, Hoyle Schweitzer, was essentially the inventor and founder of windsurfing. 

 

Zane has followed in his father and grandfather’s footsteps pioneering the sport of wingfoiling. He has played an enormous part in helping design the first Starboard wing foils for wave riding. 

 

“In many ways, I feel like I get to pave the way into a new sport just as my father and grandfather did. It is incredible to be a part of something that is changing so fast and to see the level of this sport skyrocket, sometimes within the space of a few weeks. My last Wingfoil event was four months ago, and now, coming here to train for the GWA, it’s insane to see the progression just in the space of four months. 

 

I might be considered a sound wave rider on Maui, but I am entirely humbled here, seeing the world level of freestyle wingfoiling. Now I get to embrace that humility and become a student again”. 

TIMMA FLANAGAN, 27
CANADA (LIVING IN THE USA)

In the women’s fleet, we have Timma Flanagan, who ventured from Hood River to compete against the best female riders in the world. Wingfoilers often come from different watersport backgrounds, and Timma is no exception. 

 

“I raced 49er boats before I began winging. The format is very different from Wingfoiling, but I love the race vibe, so slalom was naturally my first choice. But I still want to improve my Wingfoil freestyle!

I actually started Wingfoiling for the first time in Canada in the middle of winter. The first wings were available then, so I went for it and learnt in the snow! I got my skis on, and We built jumps and ramps to fly off with the wings. It was amazing, and I was completely hooked on this sport. It was quite different from sailing as It is an individual sport, so I had more freedom to express myself.

What has excited me most about coming to this competition is that many female riders of all different ages are entered. I can’t wait to get out on the water with them and share the stoke for this incredible sport. “

JEREMIAH McDONALD, 19
NEW ZEALAND

One rider who has traveled particularly far to compete in this event is rising star Jeremiah Mcdonald. Mcdonald traveled from Tauranga, New Zealand, to train and progress with the best Wingfoilers in the world. 

Beforehand Mcdonald only wanted to teach Wingfoiling, but he realized how fun the sport could be after teaching a few Wingfoiling lessons.    

 

“The Wingfoiling freestyle scene in New Zealand is very small. I am the only rider trying these new freestyle tricks in winging in New Zealand, So for me, when I came to Leucate, I wanted to see how my level compared to some of the best riders in the world.

“I’m most looking forward to meeting all the other riders, getting out on the water with them, progressing my riding by learning from the best and, Of Course, having a bit of fun why I am at it.”

Unfortunately, the wind did not pick up enough to run the wingfoil competition today. But, we had some exciting action on the water with the tow in surf-foil sessions and many riders throwing epic backflips behind the boat! The wind is looking promising towards the end of the week, so follow the liveticker and follow our Instagram stories for behind-the-scenes interviews and more.

The event site of The Mondial Du Vent
The wind briefly came up in the afternoon, enough to create a sea of wings with the record breaking 80 competitors poised for a start! Perhaps tomorrow!
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