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GWA Tarifa Wing Pro 2021 Day 1 - Surf-freestyle discipline

by Gemma Hamaini 28 Dec 2021 02:16 PST 27 December 2021

It was a rainy and early start for Day One of the Tarifa Wing Pro, with a 7am start time for crew and athletes.

All participants were required to take a PCR test in order to be allowed into the event area, allowing us to complete the Tarifa Wing Pro in the safest manner possible.

There were a total of six women and 31 men registered to compete in the Surf-Freestyle discipline here in Tarifa, for this second edition of the Tarifa Wing Pro. Balneario beach is once again the perfect chosen location for this final GWA World Tour event of the season.

World title scenarios

Coming into this event, Bowien van der Linden from the Netherlands has already claimed the 2021 Surf-Freestyle World Title for the Women, due to her significant lead in points, but the Men's result remains an open fight for Titouan Galea, who will need to finish in fifth place or above in order to become Surf-Freestyle World Champion. If Titouan finishes in 9th position or lower, the door would open for Camille Bouyer to become World Champion.

Women's elimination

The Women were first on the water this morning with wind conditions ranging from 10 to 13 knots. Rounds 1 and 2 were completed, with no riders being eliminated, however in Round 3, things heated up. Orane Ceris, Olivia Piana, Flora Artzner and Bowien van der Linden all secured their spots in the semi-finals.

Olivia Piana advanced over fellow French athlete, Orane Ceris, in an incredibly tight heat for semi-final 1, allowing her to lock down her spot in the final. She was joined by Bowien van der Linden, who defeated Flora Artzner in semi-final 2.

Orane Ceris faced Flora Artzner for the small final in the fight for third and fourth position. It was a close heat with both Women pulling out trick after trick and gaining close scores. Orane Ceris performed a nice Frontside 3 that scored her 4.43 points but it was Flora who managed to grab the lead by just a fraction of a point, with her 4.93 Frontside 3, allowing her to claim the third podium position, a repeat on her result from our first event of the year in Leucate.

The final was a true battle between Olivia Piana from France and Bowien van der Linden from the Netherlands. Although Bowien has already claimed the 2021 World Title, her mission today was to also claim the win at this last event of the season. Olivia however, was not about to make it easy for her. Olivia rode solidly, landing a clean Frontside 3 scoring 4.77 points, but Bowien responded with one of her own, topping her score with 5.97 points. Both women landed almost every trick attempt, but it was Bowien who finally claimed the win with an overall score of 14.5 points, over Olivia's 13.03 points.

"I'm crazy happy, it still feels so surreal," said Bowien. "I just went to Leucate to try out competing, and now look at the result! I think wingfoiling is going to be really big. I'm amazed at how fast it is growing. People can enjoy it everywhere, you don't need 20 knots, you can ride in almost anything. That's what makes it so great."

The final results for the Women's Surf-Freestyle discipline are:

1st Bowien van der Linden (NED/RRD)
2nd Olivia Piana (FRA)
3rd Flora Artzner (FRA/F-One)
4th Orane Ceris (FRA/Airush)

Men's Surf-Freestyle Discipline

Men's Round 1 was completed by 5pm, and with 31 men registered for this event, competition was tough from the very start.

We saw some stand-out performances for Round 1, where a mix of local athletes, young up-and-coming riders, and experienced competitors all faced each other, each one searching for the opportunity to advance directly to Round 3. Lucas Rouget is a young local rider, who showed how comfortable he was performing here at his home spot. He beat French rider Chucho Nonnot in Heat 2. Julian Salmonn also put together an impressive heat, where his Frontside 3 scored him 6.3 points, one of the top scores of the day. Francesco Cappuzzo proved that he is an experienced competitor, and he gained two top scores during his heat, where he impressed the judges with his Frontside 3 and Toeside Frontside 3. One of the youngest riders on tour, Malo Guenole, rode a fabulous heat scoring 17.5 points, with his Frontside 3 giving him 6.33 points, but it was Maxime Chabloz from Switzerland who gained the highest trick store, and highest overall heat score of the day with 17.67 points, and his impressive opening trick was a Backflip which scored him 7.6 points.

"I'm super happy with the first day here in Tarifa," said Maxime. "I'm bummed I wasn't able to attend the last events, as I have seen that I can do really well. Let's hope for some good wind to get this event completed."

All riders advanced through Rounds 1 and 2, and were seeded into Round 3. This is where the eliminations from the competition will start. Just as Round 3 was started, the AP flag went up and competition was called off for the day. The action will continue tomorrow as the Surf-Freestyle discipline will be completed, and the Race Discipline will get under way. The wind capital of Europe will hopefully dish up some optimal conditions to allow this final event of the year to be completed in the best way possible.

The skipper's meeting has been called for tomorrow morning at 10am, with the first possible start at 10.30 am.

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