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GWA Wingfoil World World Cup Leucate 2023 - Day 1

by Gemma Hamaini 6 Apr 14:15 BST 4-10 April 2023

It was an action-packed first day of competition in Leucate as we completed the full Surf-Freestyle discipline for the women, and up to the finals for the men.

We have 48 men and 18 women registered to compete at this third GWA event of the season. This year marks the 26th edition of the Mondial du Vent in Leucate, and it's clear why this location is a top spot for the World Tour. The day started early with the skipper's meeting at 7:30 am, and with an optimal forecast, it was essential not to miss a moment of competition.

Women's Surf-Freestyle Elimination

By midday, the seeding was complete, and we advanced to round 1. The strong wind conditions allowed us to push through the rounds at a solid pace. In the semi-finals, all of the top female athletes showcased high-level riding. Bowien van der Linden was fired up for semifinal 1, where she delivered an explosive performance, landing a solid array of tricks that included a Frontside 3, Toeside Frontside 3, and a Backside 3 Spin. Paula Novotna punched out an outstanding Frontside 3, scoring 6.47 points, but Bowien maintained her slight lead and took the win by just half a point.

Semi-final 2 was another incredibly close heat, where Nia Suardiaz also landed a well-executed Frontside 3, scoring 6.53 points. Newcomer Mar de Arce rode a very solid heat, looking incredibly comfortable competing against one of the top riders in the world, but Nia managed to take the win and lock down her spot in the final where she would face Bowien van der Linden.

Women's Finals

What a showdown it was for the women's finals! Nia opened the heat with a bang, stomping a 6.10 point Frontside 3. She followed it up with a solid Toeside Frontside 5. For Bowien, however, consistency was the name of the game, landing nine trick attempts and gaining an overall score of 21 points, giving her the win here at the Mondial du Vent!

"It was amazing," said Bowien. "I landed all of the tricks that I wanted to go for and I couldn't be happier. It's my first win since my shoulder injury last year. I've been training more for waves so I didn't have high expectations for the Surf-Freestyle, so it all aligned."

Women's Surf-Freestyle Results:

1st Bowien van der Linden (NED)
2nd Nia Suardiaz (ESP)
3rd Paula Novotna (CZE)
4th Mar de Arce (ESP)

Men's Surf-Freestyle Elimination

In round 1, the top seeds made a strong start to the competition, throwing down big manoeuvres from the start. Bastien Escofet scored the highest trick score of the round, earning a perfect 10 points for his outstanding combo trick consisting of a Frontside 7 into a Frontside 3 with height and clean execution. The combo trick score is newly introduced at this event.

Alan Fedit took advantage of the new rules introduced at this event, landing 3 innovation tricks in his heat. The new rules multiply all flat innovation trick scores by 1.2, and all inverted innovations by 1.3, to push athletes to perform new tricks and allow further development of the sport. Alan advanced from his heat with a solid overall score of 28.27 points.

In round 2, the pressure was mounting as athletes had to go all-in to advance over their competitors. There were several surprise eliminations during this round, with Titouan Galea being the first big name to be knocked out of the competition, as young rider Axel Gerard rode a firing heat. Bastien Escofet was also defeated by Noe Cuyala, unable to repeat his high scoring tricks from round 1. Alan Fedit gained the highest overall score of the round with a hugely impressive 36.20 points, performing 3 tricks from the innovation category. Francesco Cappuzzo was bitterly disappointed to lose his heat against fellow Italian Ricardo Zorzi by just a fraction of a point.

Men's Quarter Finals

Axel Gerard continued his impressive performance as he defeated Noe Cuyala and secured his place in the semi-finals. Xavi Corr also excelled, advancing over the current World Champion Malo Guenole with high scores in the innovation category.

Alan Fedit had another great heat, beating Riccardo Zorzi, and the last spot in the semi-finals went to Balz Muller, who had an incredibly close heat with Christopher MacDonald.

Men's Semi-Finals

Axel Gerard stormed into semi-final 1 wasting no time, and stomped a clean Backflip followed by a Frontflip. Xavi Corr responded with the same tricks, but but then on his 5th trick attempt threw down a 9.40 innovation trick and with that he nailed his spot in the finals.

Alan Fedit continued to push the boundaries of the innovation category in the second semi-final. Balz Muller, one of the most experienced athletes on the tour, was close behind him, but Alan's final score of 8.60 points was enough to secure a well-deserved spot in the final.

The wind unfortunately dropped before we could complete the men's final, which will be Alan Fedit vs Xavi Corr. There is still plenty more action to come this week as we complete the men's Surf-Freestyle discipline and move over to the FreeFly-Slalom discipline.

Tomorrow the skipper's meeting has been called for 10.30 am with a first possible start at 11.30am.

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