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Nia Suardiaz: meet the 16 years old girl GWA Vice-World Champion!

If you follow the GWA Wingfoil World Tour circuit, you could not have missed her name: Nia Suardiaz. At 16, this young girl is Youth Wingfoil World Champion 2022, and GWA Vice-World Champion of Surf-Slalom and Surf-Freestyle 2022. On the international circuit since 2021, Nia’s progress has been dazzling, taking place on the podium of all events quickly and lastingly. Originally from Tarifa, this talented rider has been in the water since she was little, whether surfing or windsurfing, but the wingfoil has been a revelation for her. Winner of the first stage of the GWA 2023 in New Zealand, the future looks bright for Nia Suardiaz! So before she is, perhaps, crowned world champion at the end of the year, we wanted to know more about this young wingfoiler supported by Fanatic and Duotone: her journey, her gear, but also the place of young people and especially girls in our sport.

Nia Suardiaz / GWA Cape Verde 2023 / Fanatic Sky Surf – Duotone Unit 2023 D/Lab / Photo : @rossi256.tricktionary

Hello Nia! So tell us, how does it feel to be Youth Wingfoil World Champion, and GWA Vice-World Champion of Surf-Slalom and Surf-Freestyle at only 15 years old?

Yes I was 15 by then. I turned 16 on the 14th of feb this year. It is amazing. It all went so fast, that I can’t really believe it.

Nia Suardiaz / GWA Taiba 2022 / Photo : @romantsovaphoto

What is it like to compete internationally and win against adults? In the end, does age matter in wingfoil since it’s a recent sport?

At the beginning it was very strange, because I was really the only girl with all the adults and I didn’t feel so comfortable. That got better with every competition and I started to have more fun and know everybody more. There are quite a few boys on the Tour, but still no younger girls. That is why I was very happy in New Zealand to get to know Aimee and have also a girl my age in the competition.

Nia Suardiaz / Fanatic Sky Surf – Duotone Unit 2022 / Photo : @nmcreative.tarifa

What is your history with watersports? Did you start competing directly in wingfoil?

I started Windsurfing & Surfing when I was 4 years old. We were a lot on the beach and both of my parents Windsurf and Surf since a long time. I took part in 2 Spanish Windsurf Competitions with 12 and 13 years. I always really liked it but last year, I started to learn to Wing Foiling and everything changed for me.  After a few tries I started flying and this sensation was just incredible for me. I got hooked up almost immediately and I could hardly wait until the next day to get on the water again and improve. My first competition was the Spanish Wing Foil Competition in December 2021 and after that I got a wild card to join my first World Cup in Tarifa.

Nia Suardiaz / Fanatic Sky Surf – Duotone Unit 2023 / Photo : @enzo360_photos

How did you join Team Fanatic/Duotone?

As I liked it so much from the beginning and Bernd, the owner from the Adrenalin Kite Area Tarifa School is a friend of my parents, he let me use equipment from his school many times to help me improve. Then they were talking to Jaime from WET one day and he knew already how much I liked it and that I was on the water all the time. He directly offered his support and I got my first new, own equipment. I was so happy and excited and even more motivated.

Nia Suardiaz / GWA Rhodes 2022 / Photo : John Markantonis / Andromedas Sfakianou

What is your favorite gear from the brand?

I love the new UNIT DLAB wings in waves and for racing. For Freestyle I normally use the UNIT 3 wings and my favorite size is 3.0 and 3.5. My favorite board for waves is the Sky Surf 4.4 35L and for Freestyle the 4.6 with 45L.

Nia Suardiaz / GWA Cape Verde 2023 / Fanatic Sky Surf – Duotone Unit 2023 D/Lab / Photo : @lukas_k_stiller

You come from Tarifa, a bit of a mecca for wind sports, what are your favorite spots and conditions?

I really like strong wind and I love waves. My favorite spots in Tarifa are Playa Chica and Punta Paloma with Levante. And I really like Wing Foiling with Poniente and waves in Arte Vida.

Nia Suardiaz / Fanatic Sky Surf – Duotone Unit 2022 D/Lab / Photo : @nmcreative.tarifa

It seems to me that Spain is one of the countries that know best how to promote wingfoil for young people, like with the Spain Wingfoil Tour, clubs, camps… Is this true? I have the impression that there are a lot of young riders on your spot?

Yes here in Tarifa it is great fun to be on the water with all the other Youngsters. There are definitely hardly girls and I am happy that 2 of my friends started and they are also enjoying Wing Foiling. The Spain Wingfoil Tour is great and we are all enjoying the Spanish Events. Last year WET, Duotone & Fanatic organized the Young Blood Camp for the young generation, we had strong wind and so much fun every day. Would love to have more of it.

Nia Suardiaz / GWA Taiba 2022 / Fanatic Sky Wing – Duotone Unit 2023 D/Lab / Photo : @romantsovaphoto

As for the girls, unfortunately, there are not many in the young categories… What do you think should be put in place to open the doors of this sport to them so that they come and join you in the competitions?

I think this will come. Every time more girls are coming in from other watersports or any other sports, they start enjoying it and getting motivated to join a competition. I always try to motivate other girls I see and get to know and the other girls on the Tour are the same.

Nia Suardiaz / GWA Taiba 2022 / Fanatic Sky Wing – Duotone Unit 2023 D/Lab / Photo : @romantsovaphoto

And you, what would you say to them to convince them to get started?

I think the hardest part is to go on and overcome the stage where it is a big physical effort and you can start enjoying. And I have the feeling that girls often prefer the easy way to learn things. To convince them to start is maybe to join a Camp and do it really for a few days in a row and improve and suffer together ūüėä

Nia Suardiaz / GWA Tauranga 2023 / Fanatic Sky Surf – Duotone Unit 2023 D/Lab / Photo : @georgiasphoto / @plateauproductions

Finally, you started the year well with two victories in New Zealand in Surf-Freestyle and Freefly-Slalom, well done! How was it ?

It was incredible. I was so stoked to start the competition year like that. It was the first time that I went without my father or my mom to a competition and I am so thankful that there were so many people helping out and being there for me. I also met a lot of nice young guys my age which was great. The only bad thing was the long travel, it felt like being on plane forever.

Nia Suardiaz / Fanatic Sky Surf – Duotone Unit 2023 D/Lab / Photo : @dave.mody

Thanks Nia for your time and your answers, and see you in Leucate !

Follow Nia Suardiaz :
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More about Fanatic :
Official website / Instagram / Facebook

More about Duotone :
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About the Author

Laurie Montagner

From SUP Racing to wing foiling, through windsurfing, wakesurfing and surfing, you will always find Laurie somewhere in the South-West of France. Passionate about watersports, Laurie spends her time surfing, whether on the wave... or online! Laurie is indeed a specialist in social media marketing and web development, from writing lines of code to making professional videos. Very much a competitor, you've probably already met her on one of the SUP and wing events all over France!

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