HomeNEWSGran Canaria repeats as the only venue for the World Wingfoil Big...

Gran Canaria repeats as the only venue for the World Wingfoil Big Air Championship

After being the first place in the world to debut the Big Air discipline with wingfoil, Gran Canaria will once again proclaim the world champions of the class for the second consecutive year, this time at Salinas de Tenefé from July 9 to 13 during the GWA World Championship of Gran Canaria. This marks the second time the island is part of the Wingfoil World Tour of the Global Wingsports Association (GWA). “An event that once again places Gran Canaria at the pinnacle of global sports,” declared Manuel Martínez, president of Club Deportivo Canakite Experiences and organizer of the event alongside the Royal Canarian Sailing Federation.

Sponsored by the Tourism and Sports departments of the Cabildo of Gran Canaria, with the collaboration of the Santa Lucía City Council and the Government of the Canary Islands, the event gathers the world’s best wingfoil athletes to compete for the Big Air World Championship. This championship returns to the Spanish island of Gran Canaria for the second consecutive year after the spectacular debut of this discipline 12 months ago. “The best 35 riders in the world are ready to compete for the GWA Gran Canaria Wingfoil Big Air world titles (men’s and women’s categories) at Salinas de Tenefé, a reference spot located near Pozo Izquierdo, where it was held last year,” added Martínez.

According to the organizer, this world championship will have a relatively short competition window of five days for a Big Air contest. “But Salinas de Tenefé has ideal conditions in July. In fact, last year’s finals enjoyed gusts of up to 47 knots, so this year we will celebrate the wingfoil world championship alongside the last stop of the Big Air Kite World Championship, the Qatar Airways GKA Big Air Kite World Championships Gran Canaria 2024,” explained the club president.

Among the participants, the world champions and winners of the first Big Air titles, Frenchman Julien Rattotti and Spaniard Mar de Arce (from Tarifa), are already prepared on the island to defend the crowns they spectacularly won during a day and a half of exciting action last year in Pozo Izquierdo. “Rattotti won the competition right at the end of the dramatic final, with incredible jumps of 11.1 and 11.2 meters, the last of which earned the Frenchman a score of 9.47 out of 10 possible points,” Martínez commented.

But the Big Air discipline is not just about height; it also involves technique. The evaluation criteria will award 70 percent of the score for height, including power, commitment, and amplitude, and 30 percent for technical difficulty. In the first edition, it was specifically last year’s runner-up, German Benjamin May, who impressed the judges with his committed and well-scored front loops, although his jumps were not as high. Therefore, May is expected to make another strong showing this year, along with GWA Surf-Freestyle world champion, American Chris MacDonald.

Local riders competing for the Wingfoil Big Air crown

Among the competitors representing Spain, Ancor Sosa, a local rider from Fuerteventura, stands out. At just 16 years old, he has already positioned himself among the world’s best in wingfoil. Recently, the young athlete became champion of the Spanish Wingfoil League and the GWA Wingfoil Qualifying Series Gran Canaria Air Battle, where he conquered the Wingfoil Surf-Freestyle and Freefly-Slalom disciplines of the GWA qualifying series at Las Burras beach. Alongside Ancor, Spain will also be represented by Xavier Corr from Tarifa and Jeremy Rodríguez from Gran Canaria.

In the women’s category, in addition to the current champion, Mar de Arce, who is now based in Gran Canaria where she lives and trains, another favorite is Nia Suardíaz from Tarifa, the queen of wingfoil and runner-up in the first edition of this world championship last year in Pozo Izquierdo. Lastly, another possible surprise from Fuerteventura is Elena Moreno, who recently won her first event of the GWA Wingfoil World Tour in the Waves discipline in the season’s first competition.

Salinas de Tenefé, the perfect spot for a sustainable wingfoil event

Gran Canaria, famous for its excellent wind conditions, especially in July, finds in Salinas de Tenefé the perfect spot for kitesurfing. With winds of over 30 knots and ideal northeast swells, along with a water temperature of 24 degrees, it is a prime location for year-round training. In addition to kitesurfing, the event will highlight the Salinas de Tenefé Museum and conduct a beach cleanup on July 12, promoting sustainability with the participation of brands like 7up from Ahembo and Spar Gran Canaria, and collaborations such as with Diario AS.

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