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Tour win inspires Moona Whyte to ‘push’ more

Hawaii-based surfer lands remarkable double by clinching first wingfoil Wave world title

The US’s Moona Whyte clinched the first pure surfing Wingfoil Wave world title in 2023. The remarkable athlete also landed the GKA Kite-Surf world championship in the same season. Based in Hawaii, she had not really intended to compete on the wingfoil tour but joined when the three stops were run in tandem with the Kite-Surf events. Whyte, 29, talked to Ian MacKinnon about her experience on the Wave tour and outlined here plans for the coming wingfoil year.

Question: Looking back now, how was it to win the first GWA Wingfoil Wave world title?

Moona Whyte: I was really happy to win the first GWA Wave tour. It was pretty cool, being the first one. It was kind of crazy, because I didn’t know that I was gonna even compete in winging last year. It kind of all just happened. I was  super-stoked with the result. It was a super-fun year.

Q: What was the season like for you?

MW: The season was really good. It started out in Cabo Verde, which was a really good for wave winging. Almost too good. It was steep and with some heavy consequences, but it was really rewarding to win that one. And then, in Rio, it was a little more tough there. It was smaller waves.

And then, the last event in Morocco was pretty tough. It was a tough battle. Well, the whole year between me and Nia [Suardiaz] was like that. And then, also with Bowien [van der Linden] at the end, who was ripping. So, yeah, it was a tough one, the battles with those girls. But I was happy to make it through.

Q: Were you apprehensive about wingoiling in the waves in Cabo Verde?

MW: Yeah, so the winging in Cabo Verde was, I guess, not what I expected it would be, just because the waves were a little more heavy. We were all talking about it before, like, ’are we gonna really go out in Ponta Preta?’ In the end it was actually really fun and I think I had a lot of confidence from doing the kite event there first. So, that’ll be a little bit easier going for winging. We had a really memorable event.

‘Really motivates me’

Q: Where do I see you see wingfoiling going in the future?

MW: I guess I see that there’s a lot of potential for winging in the waves after being on tour this year. I’d always only been out in a very small, mellow waves. But seeing what we can do in places like Cabo Verde. Then also just seeing the level of everyone. The girls are starting to do ‘airs’ and a lot of the guys are doing ’airs’ and crazy manoeuvres. So, it’s going to really exciting to see where it goes in the future. Hopefully I can be a little bit of part of that, but we’ll see? Because everyone’s really young and killing it.

Q: What are your plans for the upcoming year? Will you be competing again?

MW: My plans for this year for winging, probably I won’t do the tour. But I’m just planning on always having my gear for any trips that I go on. Just trying to push myself a bit more. Especially after seeing how everyone was riding on tour. It really motivates me to push myself more.

images: Lukas K Stiller

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