Défi Wind Superstars
The “Black Tramontana” cleared to leave clean sunny blue skies this Thursday over Gruissan for the 3rd day of the Défi Wind Superstars: conditions became much easier to read, compared to the days prior, with a much steadier wind allowing the completion of 2 extra races on a smooth silk run made for speed. Foilers were again on display with an incredible amount of riders flying high over the Mediterranean waters - giving the Défi Wind a new dimension. Helle Oppedal (Duotone) still leads on the women’s side, but the Goyard brothers (Thomas & Nico) were the performers of the day. Foil World Champion - Nicolas Goyard (Phantom Windsurfing) - demonstrated all his abilities on a foil thanks to his drag race speed leaving no chance for his opponents. Nico simply won both races of the day with a comfortable lead. With 4 races in the bag, the discard ponders the uncertainty of the tricky conditions of day 1, but two equipment failures on day 1 mean the young Goyard is relegated to a disappointing 11th position overall. On the other hand, his brother - Thomas Goyard (Phantom Windsurfing), RS:X king, shows consistency to claim the leadership over Antoine Albeau (JP / NeilPryde) with only 1 point separating the two athletes.
Thomas Goyard, who currently heads up the men’s ranking: “I wasn’t expecting to be leading a Défi Wind ever in my career, especially the one with all the Superstars. I don’t have much preparation exiting the Olympic Games with my new body shape and 10 extra kilos. My sailing is pretty clean despite seaweed on the course and tricky equipment choice. I’m happy with my speed. I did lots of slalom when I was a kid back in New Caledonia. During my Olympic campaign, I sneaked in some slalom and foil sessions with my brother, but I honestly think Nico should be leading the event instead of me if only he hadn’t lost his foil in the first race. We all know his potential. I also started training for IQ Foil where we have some reaches too with pressure in the harness. So far, with the wind we had here at the Défi, it is all quite easy, easier than the RS:X or even than slalom on fin which shakes up your body. Endurance on foil with light to medium wind is relatively energy saving. The wind didn’t really show up yet and I think tomorrow will be a different scenario. I still think it’ll be doable on foil for those who masters small front wings. I’m equipped for strong winds, which means I’ll push on a foil until 30-35 knots. It is quite funny to be ahead of all the top PWA riders but that’s the game. I think with Phantom we are months ahead of the market on the foil development”.
The new generation of powerful slalom sailors; Maciek Rutkowski (FMX Racing / Challenger Sails), Enrico Marotti (JP / NeilPryde) and Bruno Martini (I99 / Challenger Sails) currently complete the top 5.
On the women’s side, position don’t change much with the impressive young Norwegian - Helle Oppedal - controlling her foil from start to finish. Right on her tail, the Spaniard Blanca Alabau (Severne/Starboard) shows determination in her eyes and feels confident looking at the forecast of the last day of Défi Wind Superstars. The best races are set to battle in out in Tramontana winds of up to 30 knots - the real Défi conditions, which is going to give an excellent mix of fins vs foils battles.
Blanca Alabau : “This is my first Défi, I always wanted to come but I never made it. This year I got the opportunity to sign in. I was on RS:X before a 5 years break, and I’m now following the PWA tour on both foil and slalom. I’m better on foil since I started before all the girls and I’m light. I am now focusing on fins for the upcoming events and next year. The hardest part of the Défi is to remain focused on the speed throughout whole the length of the course. It is very easy to distract yourself on the physical and mental aspect. I am fit, I can tell you my training is harder than the Défi races, at least with what we did so far. The gear I have is super comfortable with a wide range and makes it much easier whatever would happen. I’m lucky too, to have chosen the right options. I’m in second position tonight. The conditions on foil suited me. It should be different on fins tomorrow if the wind picks up stronger than 30 knots. Helle Oppedal doesn’t do fin, that could be in my favour to take the lead if it kicks in as it is forecast. I’m looking forward to it!”
Men’s provisional ranking after 4 races (1 discard) - Défi Wind Superstars
1st Thomas Goyard (FRA | Phantom Windsurfing) 6.7 pts
2nd Antoine Albeau (FRA | JP / NeilPryde) 7.7 pts
3rd Maciek Rutkowski (POL | FMX Racing/Challenger Sails) 11 pts
4th Enrico Marotti (CRO | JP / NeilPryde) 13 pts
5th Bruno Martini (ITA | I99 / Challenger Sails) 17 pts
Women’s provisional ranking after 2 races - Défi Wind Superstars
1st Helle Oppedal (NOR | Duotone) 50th overall
2nd Blanca Alabau (ESP | Starboard / Severne) 56th overall
3rd Delphine Cousin Questel (FRA | FMX Racing / S2Maui) 67th overall
4th Justine Lemeteyer (FRA) 71st overall
5th Marion Mortefon (FRA | Fanatic / Duotone / LOKEFOIL) 72nd overall