2021 GWA Wingfoil World Tour Disciplines

2021 set to be the biggest year yet on the GWA (Global Wingsports Association) Wingfoil World Tour with 6 events currently in the pipeline and prize money in the region of €60.000!
For the 2021 GWA Wingfoil World Tour, there are two official disciplines in which competitors may compete: Surf-Freestyle and Surf-Race. We will run pro divisions with a limited number of competitors and also amateur divisions at certain events. An explanation of each category is below!


The Surf-Freestyle discipline includes the expression format where competitors surf waves or swells and perform air and surface tricks using the given water conditions. It is a mix of both wave riding and air tricks.


In the Surf-Race discipline, multiple competitors ride around a course with a start and finish line that combines jibes, tacks and parts of pumping or surfing without wing assistance. The Race Director sets the course according to the given conditions in the competition area. It is called Surf-Race because it includes upwind racing with surfing/pumping downwind.


In addition to the two official disciplines, an event may host an expression session format. An expression session is a non-official show format that does not count towards the world ranking. During the expression session, the athletes compete in a special format that is chosen depending on the conditions to provide a spectacular show (for example Best Trick, Best Wave, Highest Jump, Team contest, etc.)

We asked Tour Manager Tom Hartmann a few questions about the events:

  • What are the judges looking for? 
    For the Surf-Freestyle category: Judges are looking for speed, power and flow when surfing waves/swells as well as technical tricks and risk factor when riding the wave. For the air tricks, judges are looking for amplitude, technical difficulty, clean landings and innovation.

  • What will help a rider win? What are the different technical aspects involved with each? 
    When surfing, wave selection will help the rider score higher because bigger and longer waves offer higher scoring potential. Riding critical parts of the wave and performing tricks while riding will increase the rider’s score as well.
    For Air Tricks, it will help a rider’s score if they get a lot of height. Also landing clean tricks that are technical and showcase new and unique skills will prompt a higher score from the judges. We want to see the sport progressing.

  • How do the elimination rounds work?
    In the Surf-Freestyle discipline, the riders compete in a dingle elimination, which means that they are riding in heats of three athletes in the first round. The first placed rider of round one advances straight to round 3 and the second and third will go to round 2. From round 2 on, there are only heats of 2 riders with the first place rider advancing until we have a winner.
    In the Surf-Race discipline, multiple riders (with a maximum of 10) compete against each other in a heat. The five top-placed riders from each heat advance to the next round until the final. There can be multiple eliminations run like this within an event.

The GWA will be crowing a world champion in each discipline (Surf-Freestyle and Surf-Race) as well as an overall champion.

For more information about the Wingfoil World Tour

About the Author

Laura Desmit

Étudiante en école d'ingénieur et passionnée de sports de glisse, Laura est une nageuse à la base et a découvert le Stand Up Paddle en 2019, qu'elle a tout de suite adoré. Aujourd'hui, elle mixe les sports de glisse (surf, SUP, pirogue) avec sa passion pour la natation en faisant du SwimRun.