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GWA Wingfoil World Cup Cape Verde - Champions crowned in Ponta Preta

by Ian MacKinnon 22 Mar 11:57 PDT 17-27 March 2023

The US's Moona Whyte seized victory at the first GWA Wingfoil World Cup dedicated to pure surfing, staged on the world-renowned Ponta Preta break on Cape Verde's Sal island.

It was the American's second win in Ponta Preta waves in three days, after she took the GKA Kite-Surf World Cup.

"It's amazing. I'm really happy," said Hawaii-based Whyte. "That's two from two. The kite and now the wing. I couldn't be happier. It was pretty cool to have the event here in this world-class wave. The waves are powerful and steep. I'm glad we ran it here, because some of the girls were a bit timid about going out in these waves, but we were able to do it and it was fun."

Cape Verdean Wesley Brito saw off tough challenges to secure the win in front of adoring fans. He netted the day's best wave score and highest heat total on his path to the overall win in epic waves.

Double head-high faces

"I'm so happy. I'm stoked about it," said Brito. "It's my first win at the first wave event of the season. This is going to stay in my mind forever. Super-special. The first day was a bit slow and the wind was a bit tricky. But during the comp the waves got bigger and everything started coming together. It was a really good comp in the end."

The ground-breaking contest was the first event of a pure wave wingfoil world tour that is set to take place in Brazil and, hopefully, Morocco.

Thirty-eight athletes from 10 nations were eager to compete in the new discipline on Ponta Preta's perfect, peeling rights. The youngest athlete was Briton Leon Shiel, 13, while three-time world windsurf champion, Brazil's Kauli Seadi, was equally keen to compete.

The final day of the competition saw Ponte Preta firing, its hollow and steep wave offering double head-high faces breaking on the rocky point. A number of wings and foils came to grief on the rocks as athletes pushed the limits.

No-holds-barred clash

The women's quarter final stage threw up a few surprises. France's Flora Artzner suffered a shock exit at the hands of new-comer Elena Moreno (ESP). The Netherlands' Bowien van der Linden advanced to the semi-final before she was ejected by Moona Whyte.

The men's side of the draw, filled with watersports' legends and teenage riders was even more unpredictable. France's Hugo Marin spurred on Wesley Brito leading to the highest heat score of the day—17.80 from a possible 20.

Oahu-based Zane Schweitzer just lost out to his team-mate Benoît Carpentier in an epic clash. Neither athlete left anything on the table, risking everything in the bombs breaking on the rocks.

The men's final was no-holds-barred clash. Local hero Brito was on fire. He stamped his authority on the duel with a big wave score right out of the gate. He piled on the pressure with an air 360. Carpentier chased his rival but paid the price, ending on the rocks twice and bursting his wing.

Youth and experience

"I feel really good," said Carpentier. "It's the first GWA contest of my life and I was second to Wesley Brito who is local and really amazing. I'm really happy about it. I managed to avoid the rocks the whole contest. But I knew if I wanted to win against Wesley, I'd have to go big and took some risks. I'm still in one piece."

The women's final was a battle of youth and experience. The 16-year-old Spaniard, Nia Suardiaz, faced off against veteran, Moona Whyte. Whyte used all her surfing experience to forge a strong lead that secured the win. Suardiaz ended up in the washing machine on Ponta Preta's rocks.

"I'm so happy with my performance," said Saurdiaz. "I think I did really well here. It's my first wave event. The final was pretty good. I'm thinking of doing the whole tour. I love waves, I'm addicted to them."

On the wave tour we'll take a break and be back for the next stop in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at the beginning of August. In the meantime the next GWA Wingfoil World Tour event is up in Leucate, France, early next month. Stay tuned for updates.

Men's Results

1. Wesley Brito (CPV)
2. Benoît Carpentier (FRA)
3. Zane Schweitzer (USA)
4. Hugo Marin (FRA)

Women's Results

1. Moona Whyte (USA)
2. Nia Suardiaz (ESP)
3. Bowien van der Linden (NED)
4. Elena Moreno (ESP)

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