Interview with Pro Windsurf Champion Gonzalo Costa Hoevel

Name: Gonzalo Costa Hoevel

Age: 38

Citizenship: Argentinian

Home spot: Tarifa, Spain – these days.

Sponsors: Starboard, Severne, Starboard Foils, Chopper fins

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Windfoil Zone had the chance to catch up with Gonzalo Costa Hoevel after his victory at the 2018 PWA (Professional Windsurfers Association) world championship final in Sylt. We get his views on foiling and the importance of the PWA for the development of windfoil equipment. Check it out!

Windfoil Zone: Hi Gonzalo, could you give us a little glimpse into your personal life?

Gonzalo Costa Hoevel: I am originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, but I am based in Tarifa now, south of Spain, with my wife and baby.

I chose this place as the conditions are very good for training. I spend a lot of time in the water not only training slalom and foil but also developing all the products that I use.


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WZ: Tell us about windfoiling. When did your windfoil journey begin? Are you only windfoiling now or can we see you still from time to time out on a slalom board?

GCH: Hahaha, exactly, I spend most of the time foiling these days!

I actually first started with kitefoiling. Some years ago at an event in Silvaplana where I competed in Formula, there was a kitefoil event at the same time. I was shocked at how little wind they needed to fly and how fast they were passing me in the water.

So that winter, I went back to Argentina, where it was summer there and learned to kitefoil. I had all the racing stuff, foil kites, etc… When foiling came into windsurfing, I had some experience already and got it straight away.

WZ: You recently won the first PWA world title in windfoil, congratulations! How do you feel after this victory? Has it changed your life, your goals, or your vision?

GCH: Thanks!! Yes, I am really happy of course!!

Becoming a world champion is very special of course and being the first one in history on a foil makes it even more special!

Foiling came strong in almost every sailing discipline and is clearly a game-changer, it is the future. Being part of the beginning of this “foil era” and developing products for it is really enjoyable.

WZ: Kitefoiling has been around for a few years now. In your opinion, why did it take so long for windfoiling to emerge?

GCH: Not sure why exactly…

It was great that Antoine Albeau put his interest in it some years ago and got a lot of us interested as well.

Then some kitefoil brands started doing some windsurfing designs, like F4.

After that, many brands started developing. I guess that it needed some more R&D, bigger foils, and a bit of interest from some key people and key brands.

WZ: It seems like The PWA focuses on racefoiling while the mass market is more interested in freeride/freerace foiling. What do you think about this observation?

GCH: I think that it is super healthy to race and to develop fast things. It’s very new and we want to explore how fast we can go. We’ve seen in other sailing classes that the improvement in speed is huge when on foils. So we want to see where we go with it.

In the PWA, we are a showcase for foil. With competitions, we get media and we get a lot attention worldwide. People that see us racing on foils straight away want to try it. I think it is really cool to watch and is super cool to do it.

I’ve seen a lot of people that had stopped windsurfing a while ago, back again and super hooked to foiling. It is actually bringing people back and getting new people in as well. And all these people are not necessarily buying race foils, they just want to have their experience of foiling.

I think now, there is a good range of foils that all windsurfers can choose from and what they want to do, from racing to freeriding, to freeestyling or to waveriding.

WZ: You are working close to Starboard’s R&D team. Without giving everything away, could you tell us what we can expect from the Starboard foiling range in the future?

GCH: Yes, I’ve been working with Starboard, Starboard Foils and Severne for a while now. As you mentioned before, not everybody is ready to go 30 knots on a foil. Going on big wings, shortboards, and small sails, and foiling at lower speeds is super cool too.

We’ve been doing some designs that have extremely early take off and are super easy to handle and it is a lot of fun. Now with these easy foils, you can go and hit waves or start doing freestyle tricks. A whole new range of foils is coming up and will open the spectrum of what you can do with it.

WZ: Windfoiling is still very young. How do you see the evolution of the sport going forward?

GCH: I think that it will enable a lot of people to go windsurfing on super light wind days. It will attract a lot of new people too. I think that we will also manage to go faster and faster. (Read also How fast can you fly on a windfoil)

Now we are able to go on waves and to do freestyle tricks…it seems like it enables us to do all these cool things with much less wind.

WZ: Is it just a fad or a real revolution of modern windsurfing?

GCH: I think is a real revolution, I barely go slalom sailing these days, I get a lot more adrenaline going foiling. Even if it’s 25 knots plus, I go foiling… and every time I talk to someone foiling, they tell me they are addicted to it. I think it is here to stay!

WZ: Gonzalo, thank you for answering our questions. The last word is yours. Do you have anything to add to close this interview?

GCH: Thanks for the interview! If you haven’t tried yet, go for it, the foils which are available now are much easier to learn with than the ones we had three years ago…

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