What is the future of surf foiling events? (GWA Cape Verde)

I’ve just watched the highlights of the Cape Verde GWA wing surf foiling event, it’s the first time I’ve watched the GWA.

I’m blown away. These guys are ripping on critical down the line waves. Doing things in sections I thought were a few years off. I’m not a winger (or a fan of it) so I may be a little unaware of their skills in waves and other events.

There’s so much to discuss and I have a slow work day today so and I though some of you might weigh in with your opinions…

  • Are the best prone foilers currently wingers?

  • Would the best “prone focused” foilers compete with these guys if they chose to enter? (Bennetts, Hayes, Kane DeWild, Oscar)

  • Would the wingers in this event would surf even better if they were able to ditch the wing at the take off?

  • What is the future of surf foiling? Wing, tow-in assist, or crazy prone take off skills?

  • Do top level surf Foiler’s need to start entering more critical surf line ups to progress? Or find their own spots…?

  • do the GWA need to ban/not score the 360 style chip hops? They look shit. The airs in the critical sections look great tho.

I’m hoping that you’ll do a podcast about this event and the future of surf foiling / foil competition’s. Could be an interesting chat.
Surf, Wing Surf, Wing freestyle, Wing Slalom and Downwind. Maybe a foiling “decathlon” one day.


This contest was pure surf. No use of the wing to do tricks on the wave. While I like it I think it’s a bad limit. Look at what cash did in his highlight instagram. I’m not sure he got scored for that lipslide manuever since both hands were on the wing and it was supporting his weight. So they haven’t fully figured out how to incorporate the surf part.

@KDW is a top level everything Foiler. So he could compete at that level if he chose to I’m sure. The best foilers are currently wingers might be a better statement. But they’re all different disciplines so really hard to say. The biggest difference between the prone riders you mentioned and wingers is straps. Austin Tovey vs Cash might be a better comparison.

Ditching the wing at the start would limit the riding. I think powered wave riding is the future. That’s what Balz and River and Chris Mcd were going on about in the live chat anyway.

Yes, foiling waves is surfing. It’s the new shortboard revolution. That’s the problem with prone foiling. There aren’t any new surf spots. So it’s hard to progress pure prone foiling since surfers are hostile towards foils in the lineup.

No, you don’t need to ban the chop hop style airs. That’s how you learn and then you progress after you learn that. Put straps on anyone and they can do the chop hop style airs. Same as snowboarding. The judges need to reward what they want to see.

The winglife podcast is doing GKA episodes. Here is the preview for the season.

many good points there @Hdip
“hostile” is a very PC way to put it. :rofl:
Thanks for the link. I’ll check it out.
There’s certainly an exciting future.

Adam, Oskar and Zane (and for that matter the rest of the aussie foil rippers) all have access to consistent exceptional line ups but that is the point of foiling in that in our part oft the world it has allowed them and the rest of us to foil away from those lineups and the avoid the shit culture of traditional surfing. In fact that is why we all get on so good because we have in common the fact we choose foiling as a way to avoid traditional crowded surf line ups.
The rate of progression is very safe with these guys and the greater foiling community in Aus and probably the rest of the world. So many unknown rippers as well and so much towing going on in waves with power.

I’m with ya boss, I tuned in for a quick look on day 1 and the level of riding kept me there. I was going crazy when Cash started dropping 10’s like hundreds at a stripper pole :smile:

I was and still am questioning why the foiling forums I look at aren’t blowing up on this event. The standard of riding was exceptional and I am struggling to think where i have even seen as controlled foiling in such critical waves. I can only assume the tow foil crew are throwing down lines like that and we just don’t see it captured.

For me it was inspirational stuff. I also loved how Malo and Cash were both superb but also both had very different styles, those flowy airs off the lip Malo was doing were just sick and slick at the same time!


Because prone surf foilers are still surfers and can’t accept any other form of surfing where you hold something in your hand. Whether that be a wing or a SUP paddle. Once people open their eyes and stop playing in the kiddie pool near shore, that’s when the real fun begins.

Thankfully I keep seeing the highlights getting posted in different whatsapp groups. So maybe it’s slowly changing.


Haha, I fear you may be generalizing a little there :slight_smile: I think folks just were’t paying attention to this event and I wouldn’t blame them, I thought the GWA was a bit of a joke till this got streamed.

Would love to see a cross discipline event at that location - ride what you want, winner is the one that innovates and breaks the norms, would be pretty cool.


In my opinion foiling is like skiing. There are many disciplines; park(winging), cross country(DW), slope style(prone), Big country(big tows), ect.

Some have crossover some don’t. Right now, foiling is relatively small and just doesn’t have the base for every variation to have that many fans.

While there may be an element of that, I think its more “I prone, therefore I want to watch prone”. Once foiling categorizes itself more then I think we will start to see more contests and discipline specialization.

When you were a surfer how much did y’all actually keep up with pro surfing vs watching youtube edits/social media posts?

Can anyone find out the score for that lipslide wave that cash had?

The event at this same spot last year was very good too. No one followed this tour back then either. Some of the other stops aren’t as exciting.

When I surfed I watched all contests. I still stream wsl in the background while I work. Winging is much more interesting to me than watching guys at sunset though.

“Are the best prone foilers currently wingers?”. No, because they aren’t prone foiling, they’re winging. Adding straps and a wing fundamentally changes how you can approach riding waves and, in my opinion, makes it essentially an entirely different riding discipline from the prone riding of Bennetts and others. Not saying one is better than the other, just that they have some significant fundamental differences.

If I were to make an analogy, I’d say it might be like making a direct comparison between wakeboarding and wake surfing. Both are fun, but each enables and requires a different approach.


I agree with you 100% that wingers are blowing the top off the sport. They get much more time on foil and 100x more waves and are on the whole younger and apparently crazier and importantly have actual competitions to push progress.

No offense to them but all the “best prone foilers today” will 100% be no-names (or company reps) in five years, probably even sooner. They are just the best of the early adopters, soon to be passed by the new-school. Happens in every single sport, particularly jarring in one evolving as fast as this.


Very True. Like any surf contest in slop, its not very entertaining.

The need for good swell and the right direction and strength wind make it very hard to pull off a good wing surf event. The sport is certainly in its infancy and it’s good they had the budget to stream this one.

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I’m not saying these wingers are better than the current crop of prone foilers. I just asked posed the question. They are certainly very close tho, they would both compete very well in a prone/tow comp. The top in each discipline have certainly pulled of some moves that the others have not.

The next gen of groms will certainly push things.

Absolutely, many fundamental differences more so than skills, as you say straps are a big part of this, also the wing handling doesn’t enable you to wrap turns like prone or twist in the air as freely like the wake guys. And as @Hdip said the powered lip slide was impressive too. I think a move the like could be achieved without the wing in hand, cash did a “Foil slide” :man_shrugging: under the lip in an earlier heat.

I’d hate to see Jetskis encouraged into the line up but I think in waves being able to ride the wave without the wing would be great too see. Cash was certainly trying to ditch his.

Could they use sea anchors and paddle back out in the future?
or maybe a tow boggie assist :rofl: ? (collision injury/insurance nightmare)
or is it possible for the best prone guys to take off on waves like this?

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Must be an American thing. So many prone foilers are also wingers here and probably most. They also have a paddle in their hand for dw sup foil. Maybe the US foiler demographic is completely different than the Australian one.

What these guys are doing is certainly impressive and particularly cash and as a winger and proner I can appreciate the crazy level they are at but those waves would be better served on traditional equipment.

While impressive and interesting to me it doesn’t show case what wing waves is all about because the waves are so critical it is in itself limiting. Cash pulled off a great move and spent the rest of the time on the rocks and retrieving. Sort of like foiling nazare, after the shock value it gets old for us spectators real quick.

Skateboarding never embraced the straps and maybe neither will any form of foiling by the majority of the underground foiling community.

Lots of factors at play. Maybe foiling is just art and shouldn’t be judged too much.


In answer to the original question I’m pretty sure if there was a World Tour prone event right now the top 3 wingers at the Cape Verde GWA event would for sure be in the top 10 and that’s including riders like Bennett’s, KDW, Oskar etc.

Those 3 are foil wizards have a look at some of Malos vids and Nathan is one of the top DW foilers in the world as well as amazing on prone.

The kids are taking over foiling as they have no fear, don’t care if they wreck their bodies or gear and with foiling unlike surfing,windsurfing kitesurf wave knowledge doesn’t matter so much as the foil allows you to move around the break so easy so it doesn’t take years of knowledge to be able to take off in the right spot.
13 year old Kids are ripping after only 6 months foiling it’s mind blowing :exploding_head:


It’s all fun and games until you get a foil to the face/neck/artery, which is only a matter of time.

I saw some of the heat videos of these guys going over the falls with all their gear and I’m just waiting for someone to come up holding their face or eye.

No different to any other extreme sport. Look at what they are doing in mountain bike, go wrong there it’s death not just a cut :flushed:


I think the GWA’s requirements for qualifying, amount of long distance travel for events, limits on number of competitors all restrict who we see competing. I’m not an expert in the subject, but I don’t think their structure is actually causing it to be a competition of all the best- certainly some of the best are there. I think GWA could improve it’s structure, and suspect it will or will become obsolete. I also prefer to watch their broadcasts on mute, terrible commentary.

I’m pretty sure if you are a top rider you can compete n the World Tour. Nate got invited due to his videos and rightly so.
The qualifying series is to stop people who shouldn’t be there turning up at world tour events, it was getting silly having 50 people turn up for the freestyle.

Not sure what you mean by too much travel?
The Wave tour is Cape Verde, Dakhla and Brazil not that much compared to a lot of sports

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