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Tour leaders seek to cement title bids in Canaries

  • Maiden wingfoil Big Air event to crown new men’s and women’s world champions at Pozo Izquierdo

  • Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura to host historic back-to-back wingfoil world tour events

GWA Wingfoil World Cup Gran Canaria
Pozo Izquierdo, 11–16 July, 2023

GWA Wingfoil World Cup Fuerteventura
Playa Sotavento, 20–26 July, 2023

The leaders of the GWA Wingfoil World Tour are set to battle at back-to-back events to  be staged on neighbouring Canary Islands, Spain, for the first time.

The athletes topping the rankings after three world tour stops will be seeking to keep their title hopes alive in the men’s and women’s FreeFly-Slalom and Surf-Freestyle disciplines on Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura.

In an exciting new departure, the GWA is to hold the maiden wingfoil Big Air contest at the first stop at Pozo Izquierdo, Gran Canaria, with new men’s and women’s world champions to be crowned at the event’s conclusion.

Another innovation is the introduction of the Red Bull Rockets Award for the highest jump throughout the Gran Canaria event, whether it comes in the Big Air or Surf-Freestyle disciplines.

Stunning Frontside 1080

Men’s Surf-Freestyle tour leader, Germany’s Alan Fedit, will be looking cement his place on top after taking a third place at the opening stop in Tauranga, New Zealand, and a joint first at Mondial du Vent, Leucate, France, when the lack of wind meant the final could not be held.

Reigning Surf-Freestyle world champion, France’s Malo Guénolé, will no doubt be pressing Fedit. Guénolé is fresh from the GWA Youth Worlds on the neighbouring Canary Island of La Palma and will have the conditions dialled.

But the US’s Chris MacDonald, 17, could prove an even bigger threat. He defeated Guénolé to take the Surf-Freestyle Youth world title with a perfect 10 thanks to a stunning Frontside 1080 and a clutch of other high-scoring Combo tricks.

France’s Bastien Escofet leads the FreeFly-Slalom courtesy of a first in New Zealand and second in France. A host of young riders like Xavi Corr (ESP) and Riccardo Zorzi (ITA) will no doubt be keen to challenge Escofet.

 

“Wow and show”

Francesco Cappuzzo (ITA), Titouan Galea (FRA) and Vinnicius Martins (BRA) lie just behind Escofet in the rankings and their experience on the track mean the racing among the 38 men could be wide open.

The field competing for the inaugural wingfoil Big Air world title is more compact, with nine men throwing their hat in the ring. But with the likes of Balz Müller (SUI) and Liam Dunkerbeck, the son of windsurf legend Bjorn, in the line-up, fireworks look certain.

The judging criteria for the new discipline will focus mainly on height, though technical difficulty of the tricks will also be an element of the scoring. But with “wow and show factors” the main goal, it promises to be a thrilling departure.

The women’s Big Air field is larger with 13 slated to take part, with Bowien van der Linden (NED) and Spain’s wingfoil sensation Nia Suardiaz, still just 16, set to lead the charge for the title.

Tough to call

But with such a new discipline the race for the title is difficult to call, especially with veteran freestyle kitesurfer, Paula Novotna (CZE), and others like Orane Ceris (FRA) and Flora Artzner (FRA), in the mix.

All of them will also be battling in the Women’s Surf-Freestyle events in Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura. Van der Linden leads the rankings ahead of Suardiaz, Ceris and Novotna.

In the FreeFly-Slalom Suardiaz is tour leader after wins in New Zealand and France. But among the 14 women fighting it out, Novotna cannot be ruled out. She sits in fourth spot after missing out New Zealand and taking the second podium step in France.

The back-to-back events in the Canaries promise engrossing competition and could quickly shake up the order among the title contenders. Join us for all the action from Gran Canaria here and Fuerteventura here.

words: Ian MacKinnon
images: Svetlana Romantsova/Samuel Cárdenas

Spot Info: Pozo Izquierdo, Gran Canaria

Weather
The weather in Gran Canaria, Spain, during July ranges around 25-30 degrees Celsius with sunrise around 07:15 and sunset at 21:00.

Wind and water
Gran Canaria enjoys great wind in July. Pozo Izquierdo is famous for its strong winds. The wind regularly blows 30+ knots, with gusts up to 40+ knots. The wind direction is from the north/north-east, blowing onshore at Pozo Izquierdo Beach. The strong wind creates decent chop and some wind swell that can break on the reef at low tide. The water temperature is 23-24C, so a shorty or summer wetsuit is a good idea.

Spot Info: Sotavento, Fuerteventura

Weather
The weather in Fuerteventura, Spain, during July, ranges around 25-30C with sunrise around 07:15 and sunset at 21:00.

Wind and water
July is a great month for wind in Fuerteventura. The wind regularly blows 20-25+ knots, coming from the north/north-east, which blows side offshore T Sotavento. The water is choppy with occasional kickers rolling in with the swell. Water temperature is 23-24 C, so bring a shorty or summer wetsuit.

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