GWA Surf Freestyle World Cup

35th Fuerteventura World Cup kicks off. Tradition meets premiere

21.07.2023 - For wind-powered water sports enthusiasts, summertime means above all: Fuerteventura. Because the Canary Island will host the 35th PWA World Tour windsurfing championships. Premiere: For the first time, the wingfoilers of the GWA Wingfoil World Tour will be part of the event. Like the windsurfers, the wingfoilers will also find ideal conditions on the canary island.

The south of Fuerteventura spoils the wind-driven professional athletes with a rare combination: the reliable trade winds are locally amplified, so that even the best are extremely challenged. At the same time, the competitions take place almost within reach of the shore, which pleases the spectators. The white sandy beach of Sotavento and a turquoise sea visually crown the spectacle.

This year, competitions in a total of four disciplines will take place on Fuerteventura. The wingfoilers will be collecting world ranking points in Surf Freestyle and FreeFly Slalom. 40 men and 13 women registered for the wingfoilers' competitions on 21 July and then showed what incredible tricks they can do in a spectacular super session.

French wing pro Oscar Leclair commented, "It's my first time in Fuerteventura," Leclair said. "It's a super cool place with super wind. It's a great event with a great festival, we will enjoy it and do our best."

Afterwards, the windsurfers will take to the high-speed track. Slalom is considered the Formula 1 of windsurfing and the Sotavento strong winds push the riders to their limits every year as they accelerate their boards to over 80km/h as part of the PWA World Championship Series. Afterwards, it's all about the freestylers. Both men and women compete in all disciplines in Fuerteventura.

For the visitors, however, the event does not end there. A huge marquee attracts with parties and concerts, where dancing legs and arms are swung until the morning hours. On the final days, the competitors traditionally take part. During the day, things are quieter in the marquee, the dancers become sight-seers with the competition arena in plain view...

GWA makes wingfoil debut at historic 35th edition of Fuerteventura world cup event at Playa Sotavento

22.07.2023 - In the opening clashes of the GWA Wingfoil World Cup in Fuerteventura, Spain, Chris MacDonald picked up where he left off less than a week ago when he obliterated the field to claim the Surf-Freestyle crown at the first of back-to-back stops in the Canaries.

The remarkable 17-year-old American was again untouchable in his heat, sending out a warning to rivals that the slightly mellower conditions of Playa Sotavento would have little bearing on his performance.

The winner of the women’s Surf-Freestyle contest in the first Canaries stop in Pozo Izquierdo, Spain’s Nia Suardiaz, 16, also showed she had lost none of her edge when she opened her account in Sotavento with a clinical performance.

Day two of the competition saw the opening of the Surf-Freestyle action in the GWA Wingfoil Tour which is making its first appearance at the historic 35th edition of the Fuerteventura World Cup.

Twenty-eight men and 12 women from 14 nations battled in the opening rounds of the Surf-Freestyle contest in gusty breezes that varied from 24 to 35 knots.Most of the athletes were out on their smaller wings of about 3m2.

The Surf-Freestyle contest is likely to be concluded on day three of the world cup with the remaining three days given over to the FreeFly-Slalom competition which will be fought out on Sotavento’s turquoise waters and cross-offshore breezes.

But the first competition day was all about the high-octane tricks of the Surf-Freestyle discipline. The young guns have been revolutionising the discipline as they spur one another on and push the sport forward at a frantic pace.

It has also attracted many seasoned athletes from other watersports, like Venezuelan Jose “Gollito” Estredo, a multiple windsurfing freestyle world champion. His focus is on FreeFly-Slalom, but he threw his hat in the Surf-Freestyle ring.

“I feel really good because I know this place very, very well,” he said before the start of competition. “I’ve been here for many years in windsurfing. I won here many times. I’ve been training because this year I will compete only in wingfoiling. I want to enjoy the event and do my best, of course.”

Estredo battled his way through to the fourth round of the contest, but was dispatched there when he came up against the experienced Jerome Cloetens (ESP) and Benjamin May (GER), who had a breakthrough performance in Pozo Izquierdo.

Other big names showed they meant business. Reigning Surf-Freestyle world champion France’s Malo Guénolé was keen to improve his showing after being dumped out early in Gran Canaria. In his day’s only heat in round three, he landed big scores for a Front Flip and a Trailing-Edge Back Flip that secured his progression.

“After last week in Gran Canaria we’ve moved to Fuerteventura,” said Guénolé. “The spot is looking pretty good. The wind’s strong with good kickers. It’s a freestyle paradise. I’m looking to get a better result than in Gran Canaria. I’m looking to get a strong one here.”

Many of the young athletes put in strong performances. Gran Canaria finalist, France’s Axel Gerard, 15, saw off the challenge of countryman, Luca Vuillermet, and advanced deep into the contest.

Thirteen-year-old Vuillermet, who had to fight for his survival later in the day, came though with good scores and moved up the ladder along with another French rider, Clément Hamon, 15. Spain’s Xavi Corr, 16, was one of the day’s standouts, with a massive 9.0 for a Combo. Canary islander Ancor Sosa, 16, wowed the fans on the beach with a “first”, a Toeside Front Flip that earned him 7.83 and a heat win.

But the old guard was not giving up without a fight. Italy’s Francesco Cappuzzo took a heat win to go forward with one of the higher trick scores of the day, 8.10 for a Radiculo 7. Balz Müller (SUI), in the same heat, had to fight again later but withdrew with a neck injury.

The dreadlocked Frenchman, Alan Fedit, was his usual irrepressible self on the water, advancing with one of the day’s bigger heat scores of 25.30. It included 8.60 for a Corkscrew Frontside 7 and 8.77 for a Back Flip-Frontside 3 Combo.

But once again it was Chris MacDonald who topped all-comers with the day’s biggest heat and trick scores. He romped away with 26.17 that included 8.87 for a Combo and 9.50 for the Frontside 10 that he is beginning to own.

“The conditions here [in Sotavento] are petty similar to Pozo,” said MacDonald, before the competition. “Let’s see what we can do. I mean this is definitely not an easy spot. The wind’s pretty shifty, but I think it’s going to be a good competition and the forecast looks good.”

On the women’s side Nia Suardiaz made short work of rivals, while Orane Ceris (FRA) advanced easily, scoring an 8.0 for a Back Flip and 7.53 for a Combo. The Dutch rider Bowien van der Linden could not put such big numbers on the board, but still won her heat and progressed.

“We’ve had a couple of training days here and it went pretty well,” said Van der Linden, before the contest. “I landed my first Back Flip, so it couldn’t have gone better. In Pozo it was survival sometimes. But here you have little waves, so it’s a little like a skate ramp park.”

- Christopher MacDonald (USA) and Nia Suardiaz (ESP) win the Surf Freestyle discipline
- Further podium places for France, Spain and the Netherlands

23.07.2023 - 28 men and 12 women from 14 nations competed for world ranking points in the surf-freestyle discipline on the island of Fuerteventura. The wave acrobats were driven by winds of up to 35 knots (65 km/h).

The men's competition was dominated once again by 17-year-old Christopher MacDonald from the USA. He had already won the surf freestyle classification at the previous World Cup off Gran Canaria. The US American was also victorious on Fuerteventura. However, the second place of Jerome Cloetens, competing for Spain, can be considered a big surprise. With his last jump at the end of the final, Cloetens not only catapulted himself into the skies above Fuerteventura, but also edged past Frenchman Malo Guenole, the reigning world champion, in the points standings. Guenole had to settle for third place overall.

Like MacDonald, 16-year-old Spaniard Nia Suardiaz had also won the previous event on Gran Canaria in surf freestyle. Now she again proved unbeatable in the women's competition on the neighbouring island of Fuerteventura. In a top-class final, she defeated her rival Bowien Van der Linden from the Netherlands. France's Orane Ceris took third place.

The GWA Wingfoil World Cup in Fuerteventura will continue until 26.07.2023 with the FreeFly Slalom discipline.