On The Rise

From Full-time Engineer To World Title Contender - Marion Mortefon Talks About Her Rise Through The Ranks

In 2016 Marion Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone / LOKEFOIL) found herself ranked 12th overall, but in 2015 she had already shown some of her potential with a second place finish in Alaçati, however at that stage she lacked the consistency to continually challenge for top honours. That’s when Mortefon decided to roll the dice and quit her full-time engineering job to pursue life as a professional windsurfer and up to now things have been going exceptionally well. With the time to fully focus on training the now 28-year-old has made tremendous progress - completing the prestigious overall podium in both 2017 and ’18, while this season she put her name in the running for the world title before eventually finishing the season as the vice-world champion. We recently caught up with Marion to find out more about her rise through the ranks and her aspirations for the season ahead.

Hey Marion, congrats on your best season to date on the world tour - how did it feel to finish the year as the vice-world champion and to have your brother [Pierre] win his first world title?

Super happy to finish the year like this. Winning the last event was my last chance to think about becoming world champion, I finished one point behind the title. It’s also my third time on the PWA annual podium, that’s a good sign, I continue to work to reach the top spot ;-) For sure happy for my brother, it was amazing to win an event together, it’s been a long time on the tour that a brother and sister are on the top spot at the same event I think.  

You performed excellently and consistently for the whole season - finishing on the podium at every event - how happy were you with your performance? 

It’s hard to be consistent, but for sure it’s the key. I had some trouble in Denmark, really sick all the week, I did not find the good energy to perform better, but I never gave up and managed to come back on the podium with a tight level with lots of girls pushing. So yes happy with my performance, I have to be even more consistent this year!

In New Caledonia you briefly put yourself in contention for the world title… how were your nerves on the final day? And how did it feel to win your first event on the world tour?

I was relaxed on the last day, I did the job to win the event, I had a super big lead regarding the points compared to the others. I was just praying that Lena [Erdil] and Maëlle [Guilbaud] gave their best that day, but that was not working :), Delphine [Cousin Questel] came back strong. It’s a big moment to finally win an event. Winning a race is already a good feeling, but an event with 11 races, was something big, super happy and it gave me a lot of motivation for the future, for sure you want to come back… 

Over the last few season you’ve made tremendous progress - what would you put your continual progression down to?

3 years ago I was working as engineer in a company, with normal contract, having the weekend to train, my holidays were only for competition. When I was coming back from Asia or Turkey, the day after I was back in front of my computer at 7:30am. I decided to give myself a chance to become a professional windsurfer and try to live my dream. Hard choice, but now it’s another world for training, not easy everyday with the contracts with the sponsors, but nothing else compares to spending all day long in front of a computer :) Now I can train like a real professional and give all my energy to this. It’s changed everything for me!

The start of the season is now just 6 weeks away - how are you preparing for, and feeling about, the first event of the year?

I trained for 2 weeks in Tenerife, 2 weeks in Japan for an amazing event, DEFI Wind, actually really good training in Foil and Slalom, and I’m now in Tarifa to begin a training session with the French team. So I think I have all the keys to be ready for Marignane! 

The first event of the season will be in Marignane again - how happy are you to have a French event on the world tour again?

Super good feeling to have something in France, I know this place since I’m young and it’s where one of my first competitions was. We can have amazing conditions, with really strong wind, I hope we will be lucky this year and the spot will show us its true potential!

Having finished last season as the vice-world champion what are your goals for 2020?

My goal is clear, after being two years 3rd, Vice-World champion in 2019, I can dream only for the title!
I also really want to do well in foiling as I have made a lot of progress. It will be still separate for girls in 2020, so it’s a good challenge to step up also in foil!

Thanks, Marion. Good luck with the rest of your training in Tarifa and see you in Marignane soon!