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Wing Foil Surfing - GWA Tarifa Wing Pro 2020

Womens Finalists, runner up Laura Rudolph (left) and winner Eva Wyss (right)
Womens Finalists, runner up Laura Rudolph (left) and winner Eva Wyss (right) © Michelle Chaplow

GWA Tarifa Wing Pro 2020

After a successful first GWA Wingfoil World Tour event in Jericoacoara, near Fortaleza, Brazil in November the second event of 2020, the GWA Tarifa Wing Pro, is now taking place in the wind capital of Andalucia, Tarifa, Spain from 27th - 30th December 2020.

The Tarifa Wing Pro 2020 consists of two different competitions.  The main one is the Surf-Freestyle discipline with a total prize money of 10.000€. There is also a Surf-Race competition as an exhibition discipline to develop the format to be introduced officially in 2021.There are 19 men and 4 women competing in separate divisions.

The event is taking place at the southern end of Playa de los Lances Sur in front of the El Balneario Chiringuito (beach bar), close to the causeway and the old town of Tarifa.

The race location usually offers offshore flatwater with small waves rolling in from the southwest. If conditions are not suitable, the competition switches to the second competition area on the other side of the causeway, Playa Chica. This was the case on Day 2.

Event Report - Day One

Sunday 28th December was one of those sunny and almost windless days in Tarifa. The Seafront promenade was busy with local residents.  Those looking down at the beach and seeing the flags and hearing the music may have been wondering what the event was? The competitors were waiting patiently for news from the skippers' meetings taking place every half hour and each announcement rescheduled the event back by another half an hour. Many onlookers were saying that there would be no sport today.  However as predicted, late in the afternoon the wind changed to Poniente (westerly on shore) and started to pick up strength. By 16.45 hrs it was just suitable for the competition to start. The organisers decided, given the narrow daylight window, to stage the two heats and two finals necessary to complete the Women's Competition.

In the first heat Olivia Piana from France, a three times SUP champion was competing Wing foil for the first time and against Eva Wyss from Switzerland. Eva showed some impressive tricks including a backwing 360 giving her the advantage over Olivia who was delighted to land her first 360, and earning her a place in the final.

In the second heat, favourite of Paula Novotna from the Czech Republic, a kitesurfer who had competed in the previous GWA competition in Jericoacoara, near Fortaleza, Brazil was drawn against Swiss rider Laura Rudolph. Paula had gone paragliding in the dunes of Bolonia and without knowing was out of mobile coverage. She rushed back to the competition zone and entered the water breathless half way through her 7 minute heat. Laura meanwhile, showed plenty of talent performing an air 180 amongst her tricks and not surprisingly advanced to the final.

Laura Rudolph and Eva Wyss came face to face in the final. Eva had more variety in her tricks, landing a toe-side air gybe and a backwing 360. She won the championship with this strong performance.

The mini final (to decide on 3rd and 4th place) was won by Olivia Piana, she had slightly more variety over Paula Novotna.

Event Report - Day Two

Due to the strong 30 to 35 knots wind the organisers  moved the event site into the more sheltered Playa Chica. By 12.00 hrs the Mens Round 1 was complete. Those winning their Round 1 match advanced directly to Round 3. This was Gregorio Pugliese, Fernando Novaes, Francesco Capuzzo, Balz Muller, Michael Naf, Maxime Chabloz, Abel Lago and Titouan Galea.

The remaining riders took part in Round 2 heats. Those winning these matches also moved on into Round 3, namely Zdenek Maryzko, Michael Rossmeir, Jerome Cloetens, Noa Legier, Fabian Muhmethaler, Basri Halim, Ricardo Zorzi, Guillaume Chovaux.

The eight Round 3 winners were Zdenek Maryzko (Czech Republic), Fernando Novaes (Brazil), Francesco Capuzzo (Italy), Balz Muller (Switzerland), Michael Naf (Switzerland), Maxime Chabloz (Switzerland), Abel Lago (Spain) and Titouan Galea (Numea, New Caledonia). These Wind foil surfers then competed in Round 4 (Quarter Finals). (The four winners who advanced into the semi-final are marked in bold type). 

In these rounds Maxime Chabloz  landed some perfect backflips, and showed great general style, fluidity and variety.  Titouan Galea, who won the previous event in Fortaleza, Brazil, rode with great flow and style, adding height and speed in his tricks. Balz Müller iwas a trick machine, and his performance did not disappoint, proving once again that he is a true pioneer in this sport.

In the first semi-final a superb performance from Balz Müller, landing an impressive backflip, and his signature trick - a toeside 720. He earned a well-deserved spot in the final. During the second semi-final we saw two F-one team mates - Titouan Galea and Maxime Chabloz - face each. It was a very close heat, but Titouan managed to knock Maxime out by landing a huge back roll, and rode with such speed and amplitude that he earned himself the much desired place in the final. 

The wind speed was still increasing as the horn sounded for the Tarifa Wing Pro finals. It was Balz Müller of Switzerland facing Titouan Galea from New Caledonia. Balz landed a perfect Toeside Rad 7, which is a very technical trick, followed by a clean back-flip. Titouan rode smoothly with lots of style, but there was a bit too much repetition in his trick repertoire during the final, and this gave Balz the advantage he needed to clinch the win at this event. 

By 16.00 hrs the championship was decided: 1st Balz Muller, 2nd Titouan Galea and 3rd Maxime Chabloz.     

Full championship results can be downloaded here

Event Report - Day Three

The organisers are currently preparing the course for a surf race. The wind speed increased in the early afternoon, and by 3pm the conditions were suitable to compete, starting with a wing foil race. 

19 participants took part in the triangular course surf-race, that included a downwind surf leg, in difficult, choppy conditions. Titouan Galea shot through the start line and kept a consistent lead. Maxime Chabloz managed to hold the 2nd spot throughout. Olivia Piana showed some solid racing experience, and was close behind them until she crashed, recovering to finish in 8th overall position. 

The final results were:
1st Titouan Galea
2nd Maxime Chabloz
3rd Balz Muller
4th Francesco Capuzzo

8th (1st Woman) Olivia Piana
 
After a short break, the action continued with an 'expression' event. The judging criteria was overall impression with both surf and freestyle counting.

The first men’s heat saw Titouan Galea, Maxime Chabloz and Michael Näf advancing to the final round.  

In the second men’s heat Balz Müller took the lead by landing clean array of tricks throughout the 12 minute heat. Fernando Novaes showed great skill in the surf category, riding with smoothness and style. He advanced to the final together with Francesco Cappuzzo. 

In the final, all six riders performed an amazing combination of tricks with speed, height and amplitude throughout. All six contenders put on an incredible performance, showing us just how fast this sport is evolving.

The results for the expression session are:

Men 1st Titouan Galea 2nd Maxime Chabloz 3rd Balz Müller

In the women’s expression competition we saw Olivia Piana, Paula Novotna, Eva Wyss and Laura Rudolph head out in the choppy waters and push themselves to perform their tricks in the challenging conditions.

Women

1st Olivia Piana 2nd Eva Wyss 3rd Paula Novotna

Event Report - Day Four

There was no wing foil surfing on Day Four since the weather had permitted championship freesyle and exhibition race and expression competition to be completed in three days.

The award ceremony was brought forward from 17.00 to 14.00 on a beautiful Tarifa sunny winters day, the beach was very quiet.

An hour after the ceremony all the dignatories, race officials, and surfers had left, the workment were quietly dismanteling the compound. Balz Müller, Eva Wyss and Laura Rudoplh were already back in the ocean practicing for the next years's tour; this must be why they are champions.

Media handles and hashtags are @globalwingsports @tarifawingpro #GWAwingfoilworldtour #GWAwingfoil #Tarifawingpro #wingfoil

Location

The event took place on the beach infront of El Balneario Chiringuito, close to the causeway and old town of Tarifa.

Admission

As a beach event it is open and free to all