Suardiaz Impressively Seals her first World Tour Event Win in Leucate!
13 hours after the 7.30am rider’s briefing on the beach here in Leucate on Saturday morning, Spain had their first event champion of the season in this year’s GWA Wingfoil World Tour in the form of 15 year-old Nia Suardiaz.
Saturday 30th April 2022
Words: Holly Keenan and Jim Gaunt Photos: Samuel Cardenas Videos: Julien Leleu
The action took off at 10.30am in light 10 – 15 knot conditions and as the sun gradually warmed up the atmosphere the Tramontana wind was fully pumping by the afternoon.
The event crew pushed the men’s event (46 riders) as far as possible right up to sunset, reaching the quarter final stage with just one more possible day of action coming on Sunday. Find a men’s update below, but for most of this post we are going to celebrate Suardiaz’ superb performance.
WOMEN’S SURF FREESTYLE GWA WINGFOIL WORLD CUP FRANCE:
In just her second GWA Wingfoil World Tour competition, 15 year old Spaniard, Nia Suardiaz, took her first event win with impressive composure against a fleet of female Surf-Freestyle riders that had grown to ten at this event.
By the time the women’s final ran around 6pm, the wind was firing at 25 knots, gusting up to 30.
The pick of the Suardiaz trick list in the final was a toeside frontside 540 that she landed in the middle a total of eight clean tricks landed from 11 attempts.
In the end her opponent from the Czech Republic, Paula Novotna, 29, brings a decade of kitesurfing competition experience to the game and had stacked up the highest heat score of the competition in the semi final (24.69) against Flora Artzner from France (current leading rider over in the Surf-Slalom discipline which also features at this event).
As is her customary style, Paula doggedly dug in and fought to the very end of the final, finishing just over a single point behind the teenager who took the win on 19.77 points.
Nia carved her way through the elimination after dominating her first heat in round one, doubling the score of her closest competitor. In that three rider heat she beat Novotna for the first time (by a much bigger distance than she did in the final) and also American 3x SUP World Champion Fiona Wylde.
The round one win meant Nia skipped the often tricky round two dingle elimination heat and went on to beat Wylde for a second time in the semi-finals, (though Wylde, a leading Surf-Slalom contender, must be commended for bravely starting her quest to become the first woman to land a front flip in this heat).
After the beach podium when interviewed in Spanish for our upcoming highlight video, Nia smiled widely and said that she’s very proud of her achievement, thankful for all who have helped her so far in her career and very much looking forward to the rest of this world tour season.
Today was a hectic day for both riders and crew. We managed to get through 52 heats in the mens and will be finishing the rest of the competition tomorrow as the forecast is looking very promising!
The highlight male riders of the day had to be the Swiss freestyle wizard Balz Mullerand Canadian newcomer (residing in Maui), Jeffrey Spencer. Balz Mullerwas proving unstoppable in his heats, landing his signature Radiculo 720s, backflips and powerful frontside 360s! This guy has his eyes on the prize and we will definitely be seeing him battling his way to the top!
Another rider who took everyone by surprise was rookie on tour, Jeffery Spencer. He was landing powerful backflips and frontflips in all of his heats, something that none of the other riders were achieving. Spencer had one of the highest scores of the day with 9.33 for a lofty frontflip!
The mens day finally closed, literally at the final light of the day, having made it to mid way through round 4. We will be continuing with the mens’ heats tomorrow as the forecast is looking promising!
Bastien Escofet and Orane Ceris win the GWA Wingfoil Surf-Freestyle European Championships
Strong and stormy conditions provided excellent action on days two and three of the GWA Wingfoil European Championships in Brest, France, were Bastien Escofet and Orane Ceris became our new GWA Wingfoil Surf-Freestyle European Champions.