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Top athletes to battle for new wingfoil wave honours

Maiden tour stop in fresh wingfoil discipline set to be fought out in iconic Cape Verde waves

GWA Wingfoil World Cup Cape Verde 2023, 17-27 March

The world’s best wingfoil athletes are eager to fight for new accolades with the introduction of an exciting and innovative Wave discipline for the 2023 GWA Wingfoil World Tour.

Leading names in the fast-evolving sport are slated to do battle at the maiden stop of a pure surfing contest in the GWA Wingfoil World Cup on the legendary swells of the Cape Verde island of Sal.

Top-ranked riders from wingfoil Surf-Freestyle are rostered pit their wave-riding skills against their rivals. Key names on the men’s slate are France’s Camille Bouyer and Titouan Galea, and Francesco Cappuzzo (ITA). The women’s side of the draw boasts France’s Flora Artzner and Orane Ceris, and Bowien van der Linden.

Fresh from almost making a clean sweep in the tour’s opening stop at the GWA Wingfoil World Cup in New Zealand, come Nia Suardiaz (ESP) and Christopher MacDonald (USA). The teen sensations, who between them won three from four disciplines in Tauranga, are also set to put their surfing prowess to the test.

This new discipline will showcase the most thrilling wingfoil action yet, as riders compete in the waves for the first time.

The inaugural tour stop on Cape Verde is scheduled to be followed by events in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and a third hopefully in Dakhla, Morocco. After three stops, the tour’s overall winners will be crowned men’s and women’s GWA Wingfoil World Champions in the Wave discipline.

The idyllic African island of Sal is gearing up to host the opening wingfoil Wave event. The surfing-only discipline will be staged in all conditions, from point-breaks with cross-offshore breezes, to beach-breaks in onshore winds.

Against the stunning backdrop of this picturesque paradise, this eagerly-anticipated contest will offer two potential event locations. Both Kite Beach and Ponta Preta are vying for the opportunity to dazzle spectators with their unrivalled beauty and world-class waves.

The focus of this ground-breaking discipline will be riding waves, using the power of the swell to surf with commitment and flow. Scores will also be given for aerial tricks, but those must be executed without the power of the wing. It promises to be an engrossing competition and a spectacular addition to the fast-evolving world tour.

All you need to know—Wave discipline

In the wave discipline format, the main focus is the performance of riding waves and swell. The wave discipline will be scored wave by wave and the use of the wing power will be prohibited when doing air tricks.

  • Carving 
  • Surfing waves/swell 
  • Air tricks (not using the power of the wing)

Wingfoil wave equipment 

  1. Only Hydrofoil boards are eligible for use in competition. There are not any restrictions on the size, length and width of the quiver. 
  2. Foot-straps, pads and wax are allowed. 
  3. The use of a safety wing leash and helmet are mandatory. 
  4. The use of a board leash could be mandatory depending on conditions. It will be announced by the Race Director and posted in the Official Notice Board at least 30 minutes before the start of the heat. 

Elimination procedure and scoring  

On the single 32, 16 or 8 ladder, there will be a Seeding Round in Round 1 to determine the seeding position for the main event. (Round 2 onwards).  

In order to safeguard the spots of the ranked competitors, in singles 32, there will be two groups of pre-seeded competitors as follows: from 1st to 16th and from 17th to 32nd.

Every competitor from the designated group will be competing against each other, they will be seeded in Round 2 according to the score obtained during the Seeding Round (Round 1).

In singles 16 and 8 there will only be one single group for the whole round. 

Click here to learn more about the elimination procedure.

Spot Information:

Kite Beach
As one of Sal’s most versatile wind sports’ spots, Kite Beach welcomes riders of all levels with open arms. The beach’s consistent onshore and cross-onshore winds make it a top choice, ensuring riders always have a smooth return to the sandy shoreline.

While it may be the busiest wind sports location on Sal, the vast three-kilometre stretch of sandy beach ensures ample space for both seasoned riders and schools alike, even during peak months. Those closer to the beach can expect a mild wind-blown chop and the occasional shore break, while further out on the reef, you’ll find waves perfect for shredding. So come one, come all and experience the unparalleled paradise that is Kite Beach.

Ponta Preta

For those seeking the ultimate wave-riding experience, look no further than the legendary Ponta Preta in Cape Verde. This picturesque spot offers big, powerful, and glassy waves, accompanied by offshore winds. Considered a playground for expert level riders, the waves here can soar up to six metres high, making for an adrenaline-pumping experience like no other. While the beach is rocky in places, it’s also dotted with pockets of sand, making it an ideal location when the north-easterly winds kick in.

Cape Verde offers fantastic wind conditions with consistent north-easterly trade winds blowing between 15-25kts almost daily from November to June. The wind tends to be strong throughout the day, with the most powerful gusts occurring from 9am to 3pm. Kite Beach is the primary spot on Sal, as it faces east and provides less turbulent, onshore wind compared to other south or west facing locations.

The winter months offer pleasant temperatures of around 22ºC, and the water temperature is only slightly cooler. Most riders will find a 3/2mm shorty wetsuit suitable for full-day kiting sessions, while board shorts may suffice on warmer days later in the season. Regardless of the time of year, it’s essential to apply sunscreen.

Wind directions include NNE, NE, and E, and the windiest months are November, December, January, February, March, April, and June.

How to get there?

Located just a six-hour flight from most major European cities, Sal offers kite enthusiasts the promise of strong and reliable winds from October to May.

What to do on a windless day?

Cape Verde offers diverse activities such as diving, surfing, SUP, wakeboarding, deep-sea fishing, sailing, island tours, and quad-tours. The underwater world boasts a mix of tropical and Mediterranean marine life, while the waves and shallow waters are perfect for surfing and SUP. Non-wingfoilers can opt for sailing, and hunters can join fishing trips. Island tours and quad-tours are available for those who want to explore the island.

Event Information

  • Location: Sal Island, Cape Verde
  • Dates: 17-27 March
  • 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 Cape Verde by clicking event news.

Liveticker will be updated throughout the day. Event highlight video will be published next morning. Written reports will be posted to the website at the end of each competition day.

words: Ian MacKinnon
pictures: Svetlana Romantsova/Samuel Cárdenas

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