Défi Wind Superstars
What an explosive finish for the Défi Wind Superstars! The real Tramontana eventually kicked in, in Gruissan in a brilliant manner with up to 35 raging knots. It is no surprise to see big boy and the hugely experienced - Antoine Albeau (JP / NeilPryde) - claiming once again victory, together with Blanca Alabau (Starboard / Severne) winning on a photo finish for the overall results of the ladies.
The day started with 25 knots for race 5, increasing to 30 knots for race 6, and rising up to 35 knots for the final race, which was the cherry on the cake of a fantastic week of racing. Superstars and qualified amateurs all came out of the water with a large smile after struggling with the elements. Nicolas Goyard (Phantom Windsurfing) was clearly the most impressive sailor of that Défi, completing all of the races on his foil, most of them with indisputable domination. Unfortunately for the New Caledonian, 3 racing incidents deprived him from winning the event. Nico was flying through the course at an incredible top speed of 35 knots in rough seas far out by the fish farm of Gruissan. Today’s courses were made for fins, windy, long open reaches on wild chops, all kind of criterias we love at Défi Wind. And Nicolas was still out there on his foil, challenging every single sailor of the world’s best windsurfing race scene. There is a global expression of respect from all the competitors toward Nico for what he achieved on his foil, opening the path for the future of windsurfing.
On today’s 3 XXL slalom courses, Nicolas Goyard won the 1st exchange by 500 meters ahead of the fleet, and Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Severne) was the first to win a race on fin before Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone) in the final run. And as often, at the end, it is Antoine Albeau who takes event victory. In the ladies category, Blanca Alabau was hoping for strong wind to overtake Helle Oppedal (Duotone) and she got what she wished for to eventually pip Oppedal to the victory by just 1 point. After 7 races and a tight battle, the top 3 girls end up the week in 62nd, 63rd, and 64th position with Delphine Cousin Questel (FMX Racing / S2Maui) closing the podium. “It was scary but good,” said Oppedal after finishing all her races on her foil and big IQ foil board, including the windy ones. That is when Alabau overtook the Norwegian on a fin.
The concept of the Défi Wind with a mass rabbit start on long distance courses was rapidly adopted by the pros stepping out of their sprint routine and out of their comfort zone. More than just slalom experts, the results of such a competition show the best watermen, the ones able to stay in control whatever the conditions are, from light to strong.
Emotions on the podium demonstrated the intensity of racing with Albeau (JP/NeilPryde), Rutkowski (FMX Racing/Challenger Sails) and Marotti Enrico Marotti (JP / NeilPryde) pleased to have tamed the wild Tramontana and 200 other racers. Such a result will boost confidence and credibility of the racers, including the new generation of the U21 riders, with Benoit Merceur (22nd), Michal Polak, (21st), and Johan Soe (11th) beating some of the best PWA riders. The foil revolution is on, led by Nicolas Goyard. This event, in addition to the PWA slalom tour, shows a major change in the sport with high-wind foil slalom being possible and impressive. The whole industry down to recreational sailors will benefit from what has been achieved in this Défi Superstars.
Men’s results after 7 races (1 discard)
1st Antoine Albeau (FRA | JP / NeilPryde) 23.7 pts
2nd Maciek Rutkowski (POL | FMX Racing / Challenger Sails) 30 pts
3rd Enrico Marotti (CRO | JP / NeilPryde) 33 pts
4th Matteo Iachino (ITA | Starboard / Severne) 34.7 pts
5th Thomas Goyard (Phantom Windsurfing) 40.7 pts
Women’s results after 7 races (1 discard)
1st Blanca Alabau (ESP | Severne / Starboard) 62nd overall
2nd Helle Oppedal (NOR | Duotone) 63rd overall
3rd Delphine Cousin Questel (FRA | FMX Racing/S2Maui) 64th overall
4th Marion Mortefon (FRA | Fanatic / Duotone) 67th overall
5th Sarah Wenekes (NED) 77thoverall
Men’s U21 results after 7 races (1 discard)
1st Johan Soe 11th overall
2nd Michal Polak 21st overall
3rd Benoit Merceur 22nd overall
Women’s U21 results after 7 races (1 discard)
1st Helle Oppedal (Duotone) 63rd overall
2nd Justine Lemeteyer 84th overall
3rd Mae davico 112th overall