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Top wingfoil roster to battle at Mondial du Vent

World champions set to open title defence in France as Leucate event hosts GWA for the fourth consecutive year

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

The reigning world champions in Surf-Freestyle and FreeFly-Slalom are set to open the defence of their crowns at the GWA Wingfoil World Cup France hosted by Mondial du Vent.

It is the fourth consecutive year the Mondial du Vent has teamed up with the GWA for a wingfoil world cup. Mondial du Vent, staged at Leucate which is bathed by Tramontana winds, is France’s largest windsports’ event.

The Leucate event kicks-off the GWA Wingfoil World Tour season in the Surf-Freestyle discipline, where a full quota of 28 men and 17 women are slated to take part. The FreeFly-Slalom discipline will have 46 men and 16 women battling for honours.

Reigning women’s world champion in Surf-Freestyle and FreeFly-Slalom, Spain’s Nia Suardiaz, 17, is seeking to make it back-to-back double titles and looks unrivalled in the fast-evolving young sport.

Suardiaz was so dominant last year that she closed out her world title well ahead of the final events of the season, but respects her key rivals and still hopes that fresh faces will come into wingfoiling to push her and further the sport.

‘Get excited’

“Definitely Orane [Ceris] is pushing the most in freestyle,” said Suardiaz. “In racing, definitely Flora [Artzner] is pushing the most. She doesn’t come to all the events because she’s injured. I’m hoping that new girls come and get excited and as motivated as I am to push the sport so that it gets better and better.”

Of the two French women, Ceris is set challenge Suardiaz in both the Surf-Freestyle and FreeFly-Slalom disciplines in Leucate. But former world champion Artzner is still out and not due to compete at Mondial du Vent. Kylie Belloeuvre (FRA), ranked third in FreeFly-Slalom, is also set to battle.

Another former world champion, Bowien van der Linden (NED), will also be in the mix in both disciplines, while the wingfoil Big Air world champion, Mar de Arce (ESP), is due to join the line-up.

On the men’s side, Christopher MacDonald, also 17, is eager to double up on his first Surf-Freestyle world title that he sealed with the win in Tarifa, Spain, last year. In France he could only manage a fifth place, but built his title momentum with back-to-back wins in the Canaries in mid-season.

Hard on heels

With the title in the bag, MacDonald was beaten into second place by France’s Malo Guénolé at the final event of last year in Brazil. Guénolé will be looking open a new title bid on home waters. In Brazil, the French riders Bastien Escofet and Clément Hamon were also hard on MacDonald’s heels.

In the FreeFly-Slalom discipline Italy’s Francesco Cappuzzo seized the title in Brazil, though he was also beaten by France’s Oscar Leclair. For Cappuzzo the world title was a “life-long” dream and he definitely hopes to repeat it with a strong opening at Mondial du Vent.

“I’ve been second so many times that winning has given me more motivation to know I can do it,” said Cappuzo. “I’ll try to win again. I don’t want to be the guy who wins just one time and disappears. No one remembers them. I’m here to win more and prove myself.”

But Cappuzzo was in a season-long battle with the New Caledonia-based Frenchman, Titouan Galea, who will no doubt looking for revenge. Another clutch of French riders, Bastien Escofet, Alan Fedit and Axel Gerard, will be chasing down the world champion in Leucate.

Be sure to join us here for all the action in what is bound to be enthralling contests, with rider registration on 6 April and the competition window opening on 7 April.

words: Ian MacKinnon
images: Lukas K Stiller

Spot Info

Climate
Leucate has a southern European climate with typical spring temperatures that can vary a lot in early April. The average air temperature can be between 11°C and 18°C at this time of the year. The average water temperature in April is around 15°C, so don’t forget to bring a wetsuit. Sunrise is around 07.00 and sunset around 20.30.

Wind
The Tramontana is a strong wind that blows north to north-westerly offshore. It can reach up to 40 knots. The Marin is a light-to-moderate side on-shore sea breeze. The best online wind forecasts are found on Windguru and Windy.

About Leucate
The 2024 Mondial du Vent GWA Wingfoil World Cup is located on the Mediterranean, on France’s southern coast. The GWA chose this spot for the 2024 GWA Wingfoil World Tour due to the consistency of wind—it blows more than 300 days each year. Leucate also boasts ideal, wide, sandy beaches.

The Mondial du Vent is fuelled by the Tramontana, a reliable and strong north-westerly wind that blows side to side off-shore. The 2024 event will be the third successive year the Mondial du Vent has hosted the GWA Wingfoil World Cup.

About Mondial du Vent
Rarely does a competition make it past the two-decade mark. But the Mondial du Vent has more than done that. The 2022 edition marked the event’s 25th year of hosting windsports’ enthusiasts from around the globe. The Mondial du Vent is France’s largest windsports event.

For the 2024 season, the GWA will stage competitions in the FreeFly-Slalom and Surf-Freestyle disciplines at the Mondial du Vent.

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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