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Suardiaz soars to success clinching victory in FreeFly-Slalom

Cappuzzo and Suardiaz hold strong in the FreeFly-Slalom discipline and emerge victorious

GWA Wingfoil World Cup France 2024
6-14 April, Leucate

The GWA Wingfoil World Cup Leucate so far has treated spectators to three exhilarating days of relentless competition. As the final day approached, following the crowning of our champions in the Surf-Freestyle discipline, we transitioned seamlessly back into the FreeFly-Slalom discipline.

Leucate presented ideal conditions for the second day of racing, boasting 25-30 knot winds and clear skies. Following the completion of men’s eliminations one and two, as well as women’s elimination one the previous day, we swiftly proceeded to round two of the women’s competition.

The revised FreeFly-Slalom format undoubtedly intensified the pressure on riders, as perfection in the initial four rounds didn’t guarantee victory; only the top performer in the final round could claim the win.

Suardiaz sails to victory

With Nia Suardiaz (ESP) already holding the title in the FreeFly-slalom discipline from the previous year, the odds were in her favour. The Spaniard kicked off with a strong start, clinching victory in the first three rounds of the Free-Fly Slalom discipline and establishing a significant lead over her competitors.

But in the fourth elimination of the women’s, we saw Kylie Belloeuvre (FRA) emerged victorious, showing that she has been putting in the hours during the off-season.

In the women’s final, the battle for second place was tightly contested between Belloeuvre and Mar de Arce (ESP), both pushing themselves to the limit. Ultimately, it was Belloeuvre who emerged victorious taking the second place.

“This winter I have been focusing mainly on the FreeFly-Slalom discipline and I feel like it has really paid off,” said Belloeuvre. “I still have some work to do to catch up with Nia but it’s definitely exciting to be closer to her sometimes. I am very happy with my result and this was actually my goal for this event. I wasn’t fooling myself on how tough of a competitor Nia would be to beat.” 

In the final, Suardiaz once again illustrated her dominance, maintaining her lead right up to the finish line setting herself apart from her competitors. With an undefeated winning streak, she has spectators questioning if any other female athlete can challenge her remarkable consistency.

WOMEN’S FREEFLY-SLALOM FINAL 
1 Nia Saurdiaz (ESP) 
2 Kylie Belloeuvre (FRA)
3 Mar de Arce (ESP)
4 Bowien van der Linden (NED) 

Flying Frenchies

In the men’s FreeFly-Slalom disipline French charger Bastien Escofet was off to a flying start looking very comfortable in his home spot. He took the win in eliminations two and four placing himself straight into the quarter-finals and leading in the overall ranking.  

Hot on his heels was Julien Rattotti (FRA) who took the win in round three after speeding ahead of the other competitors.

The talented young French rider Tom Pansard also put on an exceptional performance at his first GWA Wingfoil event, flying passed his fellow competitors on the downwind legs. He made it all the way to the way to round three of the finals but unfortunately could not match the speeds of the top riders.

In the quarter-finals, we witnessed the reigning world champion Francesco Cappuzzo (ITA) elevating his performance. He swiftly navigated through the fleet with many riders faltering around him, to claim the top spot and securing his place in the finals.

The semi-finals for the men were fiercely contested, with French teammates Rattotti and Escofet battling neck and neck to the finish line. Nevertheless, it was Rattotti who emerged the winner of the semi’s, poised for a strong showing in the finals.

Escofet falters

As the finals drew near, the once-strong winds that had characterised the event began to taper. The lighter conditions would pose an even greater challenge for the finalists. Among those competing in the championship finals were Julien Rattotti (FRA), Riccardo Zorzi (ITA), Bastien Escofet (FRA), and Francesco Cappuzzo (ITA). 

Despite Escofet’s strong performance throughout the competition, he unfortunately faltered in the final race taking a big wipeout.

It was a tight battle for second between Julien Rattotti and Riccardo Zorzi but it was Rattotti who grabbed the second place. We caught up with Rattotti to see how he was feeling after taking the second place in FreeFly-Slalom finals in Leucate. 

“I am super happy to start the year in second position. The level of the competition was super high, and this new format makes it super difficult to be consistent but, I am really pleased with my riding. For sure though, my goal is to be first and become world champion.” 

After witnessing Rattotti’s performance today we are sure we will be seeing great things from him in the future. 

Men’s Final

As the finals drew near, the once-strong winds that had characterised the event began to taper. The lighter conditions would pose an even greater challenge for the finalists. Among those competing in the championship finals were Julien Rattotti (FRA), Riccardo Zorzi (ITA), Bastien Escofet (FRA), and Francesco Cappuzzo (ITA). 

Despite Escofet’s strong performance throughout the competition, he unfortunately faltered in the final race taking a big wipeout.

It was a tight battle for second between Julien Rattotti and Riccardo Zorzi but it was Rattotti who grabbed the second place. We caught up with Rattotti to see how he was feeling after taking the second place in FreeFly-Slalom finals in Leucate. 

“I am super happy to start the year in second position. The level of the competition was super high, and this new format makes it super difficult to be consistent but, I am really pleased with my riding. For sure though, my goal is to be first and become world champion.” 

After witnessing Rattotti’s performance today we are sure we will be seeing great things from him in the future. 

‘Title more than luck’

All eyes were on the reigning world champion Francesco Cappuzzo in the finals who showed his determination, powering towards the finish line to overtake both Rattotti and Zorzi.

Once again, the Italian charger Cappuzzo demonstrated his dominance in the FreeFly-Slalom discipline, clinching the win at the GWA Wingfoil World Cup event in Leucate.

“Starting the year how I finished last year was not something that I would have predicted,” said Cappuzzo. “But after winning last year’s event, I really wanted to prove that it was not just luck that I won the championships.

“This new format change was definitely not something I had prepared for. But I knew I had to change my mindset. I had to be collective in the qualifications and try to push as much as I could in the finals. In the qualification rounds I did pretty average but, in the finals, I gave it my all and I am happy that this worked out.”

MEN’S FREEFLY-SLALOM FINAL 
1 Francesco Cappuzzo (ITA)
2 Julien Rattotti (FRA)
3 Riccardo Zorzi (ITA)
4 Bastien Escofet (FRA)

 

That concludes another remarkable event in Leucate. Once more, La Franqui provided exceptional conditions, allowing our riders to demonstrate the remarkable skill level in this rapidly evolving discipline.

Event Information

  • Location: Leucate, France
  • Dates: 6-14 April, 2024
  • The official Race Notice and event schedule can be found here.
  • All event information is here.

Stay on top of everything about the event in Leucate by clicking event news.

Liveticker will be updated throughout the day. An highlight video will be published after the event. Written reports will be posted to the website at the end of each competition day.

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