Mondial du vent: Wing foil, a new “revolution” in board sports

LFreedom, novelty and accessibility: This week, the latest boardsport, Wing Foil, will blow windsurfing and kitesurfing in the spotlight at Mondial Duvent in Leucate, southern France. And creative spirit.

Longtime windsurfer Flora Artzner never fell in love with wingfoil at a glance.

A “big crash” says a 29-year-old young woman once came to the board, towed by her hand-held inflatable wings. “You have a crazy sense of freedom, the impression of flying over the water thanks to her foil.”

Inspired by those used in America’s Cup and Vendée Globe racing boats, this aluminum or carbon accessory seems to lift the board and lift the rider.

Dozens of these highly mobile fluorescent butterflies are in Leucate at the foot of the Corbières massif as part of Mondial Duvent, a benchmark water sporting event born a quarter century ago in this highly windy region. Compete until Sunday.

More accessible

Introduced about three years ago, Wing Foil is already well known in the industry. “It’s growth is exponential and much faster than windsurfing and kitesurfing,” said Tom Hartman, head of the World Circuit (GWA) in the field.

What is the reason for such success? Partially “equipment simplicity, light weight and compactness” answers windsurfing champion Nicholas Akgassian, the owner of a school in Lafranchi near Leucate. “With two wings, a board and foil, the story calms down and fits in a mini trunk.”

Sometimes less dangerous than kitesurfing without mastering complex lines. It’s easier to set up and operate than a windsurfing board. Can be used in breeze … Wing foil attracts a new audience (allows € 2,000 for all entry-level equipment).

“I’m out of it and I’m starting to have real demand from people who are increasingly watching it on social networks and TV,” says Nicolas Akgazciyan. “It’s + Instagramable +, so every young man participates in it.”

“Still looking”

Almost 25 years old, Titouan Galea is almost a veteran of the circuit. Caledonian from kitesurfing became the first world champion in wingfoil history last year.

“It’s good to keep track of the history of sports. I’ll never be robbed of it,” he testifies. “Twenty years have passed since the revolution in water sports after kitesurfing, so it’s clearly in fashion now, but I don’t know how long it will last.”

Young disciplines are currently being contested on the world circuit using tricks in the form of speed racing and freestyle, but “nothing has been 100% resolved yet,” said Thom Hartmann. “We change the rules every year.”

“It’s still looking for itself, you’ll see in which direction it goes,” confirms Flora Alzner, who recently hosted the Roca Cup event. ..

“There is a great desire to do something different and more advanced,” she says. “We are in an era of sports where everything is possible and very creative. It is incredible to experience this, like those who have experienced the beginnings of windsurfing. “.

It was in the 1960s. She wasn’t born yet. Not so with Instagram.

29/04/2022 19:40:00-Leucate (France) (AFP)-© 2022 AFP