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Thrilling action unfolds at Wingfoil World Cup Leucate

GWA Surf-Freestyle discipline kicks off at Mondial du Vent with reigning world champions looking stronger than ever

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

Day three of the GWA Wingfoil World Cup Leucate began with a bright and early start for the riders, who awoke to nuking 40+ knots winds rattling through the Viglamo village, southern France. The judges decided to proceed straight ahead with the Surf-Freestyle discipline as conditions were optimal for the riders to perform some big wingfoil manoeuvres.

Banging opening

In the initial rounds, the riders had seven trick attempts, with three attempts counting towards their final scores. The riders had between 10-20 minutes for each heat, depending on how many riders were in the heat. To illustrate just how windy the conditions were, the female riders were on wings as small as 1.8 metres.

The men were the first on the water to battle it out in these challenging conditions. The 17-year-old Austrian rider Tomas Acherer came out with all guns blazing and scored the highest heat of round one with a score of 22.57. He continued his winning streak all the way to the quarterfinals, where he dominated his heat, securing himself a spot in the semis.

Sixteen-year-old Noé Cuyala (FRA) was also a standout rider of the day. In the first rounds, he impressed the crowds with perfectly executed Frontside 1080s and Backflip Late 3. Holly Keenan caught up with the star rider of the day to find out how he pushed his level over the offseason.

“I have been training a lot during the offseason at my home in Corsica,” said Cuyala. “I have been very focused on getting consistent with the Frontside 1080, one of my favourite tricks, and also the Backflip Late 3. I am also really enjoying the Combo tricks too. I hope that tomorrow I can make it all the way to the podium.”

 

Raising the bar

Hot on Cuyala’s heels was the reigning world champion Chris MacDonald (USA). MacDonald managed to bag himself the highest trick score of the day with a whopping 9.33 on a perfectly executed Frontside 1080. He also showcased some new innovative Combos which did not fail to impress the judges. MacDonald managed to win his quarterfinals along with Luca Vuillermet from France finishing in a close second place. Both will qualify through to the semifinals.

Previous world champion Malo Guénolé (FRA) also secured his spot in the semifinals after an impressive performance in the quarters. Nevertheless, he will have to have his game face on for the semis if he wants to take home the victory for this event.

Men Semifinals 1
Axel Gerard (FRA)
Luca Vuillermet (FRA)
Tomas Acherer (AUT)
Noé Cuyala (FRA)

Men Semifinals 2
Xavier Corr (ESP)
Malo Guénolé (FRA)
Bastien Escofet (FRA)
Christopher MacDonald (USA)

Suardiaz again unstoppable

Over the past few years, Spanish sensation Nia Suardiaz (ESP) has reigned supreme in both the FreeFly-Slalom and Surf-Freestyle disciplines, establishing herself as the rider to beat among her competitors. On the first day of competition, Suardiaz once again demonstrated her superiority, securing the highest scores of the day and being the first woman to land a Backflip to 360 Combo in her quarterfinal heat. It will be exciting to see how the Spaniard progresses throughout the rest of the competition.

Battling Tramontana winds

Mar de Arce from Spain also put on an excellent performance in her heat, almost matching Suardiaz trick for trick. Sanchez pulled off a perfectly executed Frontside 360 with great height and speed in-and-out of the trick. De Arce also managed to secure her spot in the semis alongside her Spanish teammate.

As day one of the competition unfolded, the women faced gusts reaching up to 45 knots. However, this formidable challenge didn’t deter them from pushing the boundaries and raising the level.

Sofia Marchetti from Italy dominated her heat, landing a clean Backside 360 spin and Raley. Marchetti told of her battle with the conditions on the first day of competition.

“The conditions were not simple,” said Marchetti. “In my first heat, the wind was super-strong, and I didn’t have a small enough wing to handle the winds. But in my third heat, I managed to perform my tricks and qualify through to the semifinals. I hope to do well tomorrow, and my goal is to win the event.”

 

Women Semifinals 1
Mar de Arce (ESP)
Zara Maillard (SUI)
Sofia Marchetti (ITA)
Bowien van der Linden (NED)

Women Semifinals 2
Christina König (GER)
Enoha Laurent (FRA)
Kylie Belloeuvre (FRA)
Nia Suardiaz (ESP)

Big breezes incoming

Even stronger winds are forecast or day four for the finish of the semifinals and finals of the Surf-Freestyle discipline, before the opening exchanges of the FreeFly-Slalom competition. Skippers’ meeting is set for 09:00 (CET) with the first possible start at 10:00. Be sure to tune into our live scoring on our webpage and our social channels.

words: Holly Keenan
photos: Samuel Cárdenas

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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