Catch-up on the first rounds from the inaugural GWA wingfoil freestyle event at Fortaleza that took place Wednesday 11th November
Update: Kate Chandler / GWA All photos: Svetlana Romantsova
FORMAT: 5 minute heats / 3 minute heat transitions CONDITIONS: 15 – 20 knots and small waves
The judges were looking for perfect execution and technique, freestyle tricks, stylish surfing and plenty of variety. As this is the first competition of its kind for the Global Wingsports Association (GWA), riders have an open book in which to leave their mark.
Balz Müller demonstrated that he’s a master, not only freestyle, but also filling time in-between tricks, with non-stop flowing dance-like moves on the water. The young athlete may come from a landlocked country, but today he proved that riding waves is no problem for the Swiss. He performed outstandingly in both waves and freestyle, landing tricks he’d invented just days before. Riding toeside, he throws the wing and then adds a 720 at the end, perhaps he’ll name the trick after his Instagram handle, ‘Radiculo’.
Balz placed in first position during the qualifiers with a score of 25.67 and a 5 point lead.
The second position went to Titouan Galea, who also demonstrated his vast WingFoil skills, looking relaxed and comfortable on the water, only just missing out on landing a backflip during his heat. (Like Maxime Chabloz, Titouan is also competing in the GKA’s kite hydrofoil freestyle event that’s also running in Fortaleza this week!)
Maxime Chabloz, the all round athlete, took third position. Coming from a freestyle twintip, kitesurfing background, Maxime has taken to WingFoiling fast. He almost landed a back flip during his heat having only learnt them two days previously. The race is certainly on to see who will be the first rider to land one during the SuperFoil 2020 event! (See Jeffrey Spencer’s first one landed on Maui, here!)
Michael Näf deserves a mention for surviving the biggest wipeout and crash of the day, which occurred in the gnarly shore dump that arrived with the higher tide.
Former windsurf world champion Kauli Seadi already has smooth and stylish WingFoil skills. The Brazilian rider caught some nice waves during his heat securing him 4th position.
Another Brazlian rider with transferable skills is Fernando Novaes, the surfer turned foiler showed judges the smoothest of turns and commitment in the waves, even if they were small during his heat. He added some stylish toeside air threes and finished in a well deserved 5th place.
Here’s a video of the scene from yesterday – more action to come in the upcoming highlight videos from the next few days, so stay tuned!
The GWA Wing Foil Super Grand Slam Brazil runs 10-14 November. Due to logistical limitations for events this year there won’t be a livestream, but the liveticker on the GWA Live Event Page will be updated with results, format news and more as and when it happens.
WSW is a hub of useful equipment and technique features / videos for wingsurf and other hydrofoil related board sports.