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GWA Wingfoil World Cup France 2022 Day 3

by Holly Keenan 29 Apr 10:52 PDT 26 April - 1 May 2022
GWA Wingfoil World Cup France 2022 Day 3 © Samuel Cardenas / GWA

After nearly three days of no wind at the GWA Wingfoil World Cup France, competitors are hungry to take center stage and go head to head with their rivals.

While riders physically and mentally prepare themselves for an intense three days ahead, it is also critical for everyone to understand the race/ freestyle formats planned for the GWA Wingfoil World Cup France in Leucate.

This morning we spoke with GWA Wingfoil judges and race directors Juan Antonio Aragon Diaz, Alvaro Onieva and Rui Meira, who combined, have over 30 years experience in judging/race directing. We were able to thoroughly decipher the Surf-Slalom and Freestyle Wing disciplines.

What is the format for Surf-Slalom?

For the GWA Wingfoil World Cup in Leucate, the Surf-Slalom format has 72 riders entered which is a record number of competitors for the GWA. The format will be four heats with 18 riders in each heat. The top nine from each heat will advance through to the next rounds, by the end there will be 18 riders in the final.

The competitors will commence at the start line, marked by two race boats. They then race down to the first marker and go downwind around the other five markers. After the first heat has gone, the following heat will proceed one minute after. The start of the race requires extreme focus as riders must play their tactics right if they want to cross the start line in the first position.

"The most important part for the riders is the start. The start, in particular, will be tricky as it will be very crowded. We have more people competing in slalom than expected, there are usually 12 riders, but now we have 18." Juan Antonio Aragon Diaz (head race director).

The challenge with this event is that judges need to obtain a result, but judges are limited on time as the wind has not been playing ball over the last few days. So, to get a result across all the disciplines the judges will do one elimination round in men's and womens' Surf-Slalom,and this will be enough for a result. In an ideal world, the race officers would like to run 6-7 races (elimination rounds) but this is time dependent.

There will also be a Principal Race officer monitoring the start line. He has a lot of responsibility as he has to make sure the flagman raises the flag right on time and nobody crosses the line before the start. If this does happen then, the race would have to be re-run. Principal race officer Rui Meira explains.

"Being Principle Race Officer can be extremely stressful as often riders will dispute saying they didn't start early, but I have to go with what I see on the line." If one person crosses the line we have to completely restart the race, so naturally, riders become frustrated. You make a lot of friends doing this job."

What is freestyle wingfoiling?

Freestyle wingfoiling has evolved from a combination of windsurfing, foiling and kitesurfing. Riders use the apparent wind that the foil generates to catapult themselves into the air. The sport is evolving rapidly, and wingfoilers are already pulling off crazy aerials, backflips, front flips and 720 rotations. Freestyle Wingfoiling is idyllic in strong conditions with big waves or choppy waters. It can be performed on oceans, lakes and even snow.

What is the format for freestyle wingfoiling?

The format for Freestyle Wingfoiling at the GWA Wingfoil World Cup in Leucate will be a dingle elimination ladder. Those who win their first heat will go straight through to round three, and those who come second or third will go through to round two. This allows every rider a second chance to perform their tricks if they lose in the first round.

The heats will be seven minutes long, with overall scores consisting of 80% tricks and 20% overall impression. Riders must complete different tricks from the different trick categories to achieve the highest scores possible. For example, riders might perform a front 360 and a backflip to score in various categories.

When performing tricks, judges are looking for: technicality of the trick (how difficult it is), speed in and out of the trick, how high they went and finally, the execution of the trick. Then, when it comes to scoring the overall impression of a rider's heat, the judges are looking for how fluid the heat was, the variety of tricks and if they were connecting all aspects of foiling.

Tomorrow we are looking forward to seeing riders throw down their best moves as the wind is looking like it will finally make an appearance. Although there was no wind today, riders still had a blast teaching some of the local youngsters how to wing!

"Today we got to teach an amazing group of local kids how to wing for the first time and honestly, this is my favorite part of sport. Getting new kids into the watersports, teaching them, bringing them into the watersports community, and having fun with your friends, so I am really happy we got to take advantage of the no wind here today." Fiona Wylde

The forecast is looking promising for tomorrow so we may finally be able to get the riders out on the water, doing what they do best!

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