Gawd, were we pumped to find out that this brand new event has actually managed to pull off it’s first edition during covid-times and travel restrictions! And even more amazing was to see how committed these 23 athletes were to make it down to Southern Spain just before the new year – many of them having having competed at the SuperFoil Fortaleza in Brazil just a few weeks before!
They arrived from 9 different countries, including Switzerland (which was half the podium for each of the girls and the boys), France, Italy, Spain, Czech Republic and even Brazil. Amongst them 2 Foil World champions and the Swiss First Couple of Wingfoiling: Balz Mueller & Eva Wyss (watch our exclusive interview with Balz as well). Sunday, the 27th of December was a gorgeous sunny day with bright blue skies, and the city of Tarifa, as well as the event’s organisers, were ready for them to arrive on Balneario Beach, a super spot for this kind of waterspouts tournament. The camaraderie amongst the crowd was ever present, many of them having known each other, and competed against each other, for years. All the athletes, event organisers and press had a PCR test before entering the event bubble, so that everything was above board regarding covid regulations.
Once competition rules were explained to everybody on the first day, it was straight to business in the afternoon. The tournament was to be competed in three categories: Surf Race, Freestyle and the Expression Session. These kind of competitions are always depending on wind directions on the day, so more often than not, it’s wait and see! A strong Poniente wind coming from the Atlantic was most desirable, and as expected on day 1, the Levante wind of the morning changed to Poniente in the afternoon. That meant the heats were on – excellent!
Day 2 was a different ballgame altogether, so for the Freestyle part of the event, it meant to decamp the athletes to Playa Chica on the Mediterranean side of Tarifa, in less than comfortable conditions: a Southern wind of 35 knots bringing hefty waves, rain came too and it was properly cold. Hat off to all the guys who were just fierce out on the water. It was spectacular to see those backflips, jumps, spins and turns by a determined team of athletes, who were just not going to give in.
Day 3 saw the wind change yet again, so all back to Balneario Beach for what was a perfect day of Poniente wind and seriously choppy waters. Order of the day: the surf race and expression sessions were to be fought out. 19 Athletes took part in the surf race in total, amongst them Olivia Piana for the girls. She is literally fearless – competing against the guys, she managed to overcome landing in the water and actually finished 8th! Olivia, we salute you 🙂 The action on the water continues with the expression sessions. Heats out of the way, Titouan Galea and Olivia Piana shone the brightest and walked home with the 1st prize. Unbelievable what was these two pulled off out on the water, landing on the top spot of the podium for their relevant sexes in both the surf race and the expression session categories.
Day 4, and it’s time for the prize giving! The relief on the athletes’ faces was completely visible and so everybody was just totally pumped to pick up their trophy and celebrate into the New Year with friends and family, as well as a great sense of achievement. Congrats and a very well done to all the athletes who took part so impressively! The event organisers and the city of Tarifa produced a brilliant tournament, about which Jaime Herraiz, the man in charge, said, that there will be many to follow. And we cannot wait…see you in Tarifa next time round!
GWA WINGFOIL WORLD TOUR CALENDAR 2023:
- 03 -11 March: Tauranga/NZL – Surf-Freestyle & Surf-Slalom
- 17 – 25 March: Sal/CAP VERDE – Wave
- 05 – 10 April: Leucate/FRA – Surf-Freestyle & Surf-Slalom
- 13 – 18 June: Rhodes/GRC – Surf-Freestyle & Surf-Slalom
- 23 – 30 June: Crossroads/MDV – Surf-Slalom & Wave
- 04 – 08 July: Lanzarote/ESP – Surf-Freestyle & Surf-Slalom
- 10 – 16 July: Gran Canaria/ESP – Surf-Freestyle & Surf-Slalom & Big Air
- 21 – 26 July: Fuerteventura/ESP – Surf-Freestyle & Surf-Slalom
- 01 – 09 Aug: Rio de Janeiro/BRA – Wave
- 26 Sept – 01 Oct: Dakhla/MAR – Wave & Surf-Slalom
- 11 – 14 Oct: Tarifa/ESP – Surf-Freestyle
- 15 – 19 Nov: Taiba/BRA – Surf-Freestyle & Surf-Slalom
- 12 – 17 Dec: Capetown/ZAF, Surf-Freestyle & Surf-Slalom
Wingfoiling: The Latest in Board Sports
Wingfoiling, also known as windfoiling, is a brand-new sport and has to be one of the coolest surface water sports ever! It consists of a wing, that is not attached to a Hydrofoil board, being carried or held by the rider, whilst having to maintain their balance, steering the board with the wing. It is an exciting and demanding sport, requiring strength and stability. Although it can be practised on either land or water, not much wind is required for this sport, therefore its popularity has grown massively.
However, countries with great wind conditions, such as Hawaii, Brasil, Portugal and Spain, have seen the practice of this sport soar to lofty heights. Hence, the GWA (Global Wingsports Association) was born, with the aim to provide a safe and exciting community to globally promote wing sports. TA-DAH.TV sent their team to Southern Spain to cover the GWA’s first ever Tarifa Wing Pro event, staged on the city’s Atlantic side of the Strait of Gibraltar. The prospect of wingfoiling having been included in the Paris Olympics in 2024 promises as super exciting future for this sport on a global level – the only way is up!
Tarifa Wing Pro Event
Tarifa is known as the wind capital of Europe, a fantastic environment for wing sports. So, it is no surprise that the GWA decided to host their first ever Tarifa Wing Pro event on Balneario Beach on the beautiful Costa de la Luz – the first of many to come, they promise.
That the competition was even possible in the first place was utterly awesome, as it also drew a close to the end of a year troubled by many cancellations of sports events in general – and it was the perfect follow-up from the Superfoil Fortaleza 2020, the first event by the GWA Wingfoil World Tour held in Brazil. Riders were arriving from all over Europe (including Switzerland, France, Spain, Italy, Poland), as well as Brasil, and even the Southern Hemisphere was present with a participant from New Caledonia.
Staged from the 27th and 30th of December, the event was non-stop from day one, consisting of various competitions. With the Covid-19 pandemic having delayed their other events in 2020, this competition took place according to covid-19 guidelines, so all participants and press were asked to take tests before entering the secure bubble of event attendees. The competition saw a turnout of 19 men and 4 women from 9 countries battling it out head-to-head in the water, a turnout the organisers hail a great success, considering all the travel restrictions throughout the year.
Across 3 days, both groups of men and women went out onto the water to compete in the two disciplines of Wingfoiling; Surf-Freestyle and Surf-Race, as well as an additional Expression Session. On day 2, weather conditions were not that great on the Atlantic coast, requiring the organisers to change beach to the Levante side of Tarifa.
There, the strong wind conditions certainly made this event an artistic spectacle, with all athletes giving an exhilarating performance full of tricks, jumps, twists and turns, whilst displaying their ability in the water. Towards the end of the action packed few days the last day was designated for the prize giving. The mood amongst riders was one of total relief, an incredible sense of achievement, and well-earned pride!
It was really impressive to see the commitment by all participants to make it down South and be part of this historic event. The city of Tarifa was certainly an excellent host, committed to staging an unforgettable, but most of all, safe event on the Spanish shores.
Competitors included the current Foil Freestyle World Champions Balz Müller (men) and Eva Wyss (women), as well as Titouan Galea, Maxime Chabloz, Fernando Novaes, Halim Basri, Abel Lago and Francesco Cappuzzo, amongst many others.
Congratulations to all of the winners, as well as to the rest of the riders, who made the competition such an exciting one!
The event was a huge success and great fun for all involved! With the support of the Junta de Andalucia, the Diputacion de Cádiz, the Ayuntamiento de Tarifa, Duotone/Fanatic, Red Bull and Balneario beach Club, Tarifa has once again proved itself to be the perfect host city with a perfect location for wind and water sports. Why not plan your next beach holiday there?
Wing Foil World Tour
2021 was the first tour for international wing foil events and is not to be missed by lovers of wing sports! With 5 of the best locations across the world set in their events calendar, there is a lot to look forward to throughout the new year in this sport. From Portugal to Brazil, the GWA have gone all out in setting up this world tour to be a display of skills from the best pros around the world. They have stated the event is open to the public with limited spaces for pros to register. The event, unfortunately, will be subject to change in relation to the pandemic. We are looking forward to this event, and many others as the success and popularity of wingfoiling continues to grow across the world.
Foiling at the Paris Olympics 2024
Foiling as a branch of windsurfing is growing year on year, and just to prove it, it has been introduced as a new discipline for the Paris 2024 Olympics! Many see this a transition from windsurfing, as foiling beings to explode across Europe. Placing foiling onto a global stage such as the Olympics is a great way for this electrifying sport to be introduced to 100s and 1000s of fascinated young people interested in learning new sports. It will be thrilling for both lovers of wind sports and newbies to see this developing sport take centre stage in Paris.