FreeFly-Slalom discipline gets underway at Mondial du Vent

  • Day two of competition in Leucate got off to a late start as the wind only picked up at 5:30 pm, allowing us to commence the FreeFly-Slalom discipline.
  • We completed one full elimination for the women of the FreeFly-Slalom discipline won by Nia Suardiaz, and reached the finals for men which need to be re-run due to a protest

What is the FreeFly-Slalom?

The GWA Wingfoil World Tour has introduced a new discipline called FreeFly-Slalom in Tauranga, New Zealand, replacing the Surf-Slalom category at all eight events for the 2023 season.

The head judge, Álvaro Onieva, said that this new format reflects the evolution of wingfoiling while remaining connected to ordinary riders and the industry that serves them. The FreeFly-Slalom discipline gives more priority to the FreeFly sections and is more inclusive than highly-specialized racing, making it more of an ‘expression’ than pure racing. It is also less reliant on technical gear, making it more accessible to ordinary people. Completing the FreeFly sections requires technical proficiency, efficient gear, and good control.


In the first women’s elimination of the GWA Wingfoil World Cup in Leucate, we had 16 women ready for FreeFly-Slalom action, which is the highest female participation we have ever seen in this division. Nia Suardiaz started strong and took the first win for this elimination, building upon her good performance in the FreeFly-Slalom discipline in New Zealand. Paula Novotna had a good start but had a close call with Nia at the first mark and settled back into second place, where she remained until the finish line. Coming in third was Bowien van der Linden, showing her strength in the FreeFly-Surf discipline as well as taking the top spot in the Freestyle-Surf discipline. Orane Ceris finished fourth.

The second elimination for the women was started but not completed due to the dropping wind conditions.

“Things went well for me today,” said Nia. “The conditions were gusty, and the course was really long with a lot of upwind. I managed to make it through the FreeFly section and finished in 1st place. I’m really happy!”


In Men’s Elimination 1, 45 men were split into four heats for the first round. The top six in each heat advanced to the semi-finals. All of the top seeds made it to the finals without any surprises, however due to a protest it has been decided that the final must be re-run today.

As the wind died down, the competition was concluded for the day, and no more eliminations were run. The forecast for Friday afternoon looks positive for finishing the Surf-Freestyle Men’s Finals and continuing with the FreeFly-Slalom discipline.


Leucate-La Franqui, France

Words: Gemma Hamaini

Photos: Lukas K Stiller

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