Wingfoil World Cup Fuerteventura 2023
Back to back Canary Island events
Just two weeks after the epic Pozo World Cup, GWA returned and had riders head east to compete on another one of the beautiful Canary Islands, Fuerteventura. At the GWA event site in the town of Sotavento, riders were met with the iconic white sandy beaches and crystal blue water that the Canary Islands are famous for, and most importantly, wind!
The conditions during the event were tough. The wind was cross offshore, extremely gusty, with even lighter wind conditions closer to the shore, and rather big shorebreak for good measure. This meant that riders’ gear choice was critical. Too big of a wing and riders would be overpowered in the gusts, while too small of a wing would potentially leave riders stuck in the shorebreak. This event rewarded knowing your gear and being skilled in handling unpredictable conditions. The riders tackled the conditions head-on, persevered, and put on an amazing show!
In this article, we will fill you in on the two GWA disciplines completed at Fuerteventura: SURF-FREESTYLE and FREEFLY-SLALOM, and the ENSIS TEAM riders’ performance in each. At the end of the article, we cover TEAM ENSIS, an unfortunate accident with Balz, and chat with Eva Nora Wyss about the event.
Riders are scored for three tricks, and each trick type can only be scored once. They are allowed seven trick attempts. The conditions were ideal from day one, and the freestyle was wrapped up quickly, completed in two exciting days back-to-back. Although the wind was gusty, it was powerful. Paired with the swell, it made the perfect playground for some epic and large tricks. The level of women’s freestyle is rising rapidly, with backflips and frontflips-attempts being seen frequently. These are exciting times!
Balz Müller was the first ENSIS rider to compete for the day and was leading the heat up until the very last trick attempt. Balz, the master of innovation as always, had spectators and other riders entertained and puzzled, impressing with a clew-first (trailing edge of the wing into the wind) backflip while simultaneously flipping the wing back around. Balz finished strong with an impressive score of 18.7. We will elaborate further in the article, but Balz was unfortunately injured and could not compete in his second heat.
Giulio Gasperini competed in the next heat, executing a frontside 720, followed by a front flip and a massive back loop. With a score of 18.57, he secured second place in his heat. Unfortunately, the ENSIS Italian young gun had a tough second heat and was ultimately eliminated from the competition. However, not before adding a huge back loop and a toeside 360 to his score.
Eva Nora Wyss, the first ENSIS team rider in the women’s freestyle category, faced challenging wind conditions in her first heat. The wind varied greatly, with lulls reaching 8 knots and gusts peaking at an impressive 36 knots. Undeterred, Eva showcased her skills with a frontside 360 and a stylish toeside 360. Her performance earned her a second-place finish, securing her spot in the next round. In her subsequent heat, Eva continued on, executing a flawless toeside 540 and frontside 360. Her performance pushed her into the semi-finals! We chat with Eva about the event towards the end of the article, be sure to check it out.
Wing foil racing, but with the twist of having a pump section where riders have to completely depower their wings and hold on to nothing but the leading edge handle to pump their hydrofoils and cover the distance until the next mark (nicknamed freefly). On Day 1 and 2, the event organizers strayed from their usual course setup of downwind marks and added a triangle buoy setup midway through the course.
This required riders to tack upwind before continuing downwind. The course had a total of 8 marks, with one length being the freefly section. On Day 3, the course was changed, removing the upwind section and adding 2 freefly sections. Riders had to complete pump sections on both regular and goofy foot stances.
A total of 36 men and 10 women competed. The racing was exciting, and the new courses added technical difficulty, pushing the riders to their limits. Unfortunately, there was one rider collision during the race, resulting in damaged gear. However, both riders were thankfully okay. Accidents happen, so take this as a reminder to prioritize safety and make sure you have the correct safety gear and understand the right of way rules when wing foiling.
Giulio Gasperini, wearing the number 58 bib, finished 10th overall with a very consistent and impressive score sheet.
We want to take a moment to say thank you to all the ENSIS team riders. They put on a great show and put in 110% effort at every event they attend. Keep it up!
Accidents and Safety
Unfortunately, Balz Muller had an accident in which he fell headfirst into his wing and injured his neck. Uncertain of the severity of his injury, Balz ultimately decided to withdraw from the competition. We believe that Balz made the best decision, as being healthy and fit to compete should always be the top priority.
We are all enthusiasts and passionate about foiling, and we believe it is important to emphasize safety. Helmets, windows on the wing, and impact vests all help contribute to your safety as well as the safety of others. Accidents can happen, so always push and try maneuvers within your capabilities. Make sure to understand the right of way rules and be aware of other water users. Let’s make the water fun and safe for everyone.
Eva Nora Wyss
Eva made it all the way to the semi-finals, huge congratulations! We took a moment to catch up with Eva and hear her thoughts about the location, conditions, performance, gear, and the woman’s fleet.
What was the event location and conditions like?
The water is amazingly warm and blue! Last time I was here I was windsurfing. Now that I am foiling, and above the water. I appreciate it even more. The wind was strong and extremely gusty, the waves also broke right on the shore making it challenging to get out, but once out of the shorebreak the conditions were great.
You put on an amazing show. What was your personal favorite trick?
That is difficult, but it probably has to be my toeside 540. With the strong wind and small wing, you spin around so quickly. It felt amazing.
You mentioned small wings. What gear were you on, and would you make any changes after the event?
Tiny wings! I was either using the 2.2m or 2.6m ENSIS SPIN. I used the ROCK’N’ROLL 47, which was the perfect board choice and helped me deal with the conditions. For the foil, I used the INFINITY 1100, but I probably should have used a smaller front wing.
What are your thoughts on the current women’s fleet? What is it like competing with them?
I attended one of the first GWA events in Tarifa, and there were only 4 women competing. Now, there are 12, and the level is crazy. It is great being on the water with them. It doesn’t feel like you’re competing against each other. All the women push each other and cheer for each other when they land their moves. It is a great experience
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Media by GWA Wingfoil World Tour