Défi Wind 2023

Day 4: Nico Goyard and Sara Wennekes crowned 2023 Défi champions

After a never ending trend of 10 days of Tramontana, the wind eventually disappeared in Gruissan to give a well deserved rest to 1400 sailors, who were still hungry for more long distance racing. Besides the fun on the water and at night, adding a Défi WIND trophy to a pro’s career equals a Champion’s League title in the windsurfing world. Nicolas Goyard (Phantom / Phantom Sails / Phantom Foils) claimed a second successive victory, whilst Sara Wennekes (Future Fly Boards / Severne Sails) is a new event champion.

Defi is a unique accessible racing format combining full fleet races, rabbit starts, long distance, strong wind, whilst all at the same time gathering pro & amateurs together. This year, new rankings were introduced: foil, fin, and unlimited for those who wanted to choose according to the wind strength: 64 racers registered foil, 299 signed up for the open division, and the thousand remaining competitors opted for fin. Lohan Jules (Future Fly Boards / S2Maui) (20th) and Marine Hunter (Quatro / KA Sail) take the fin category, Johan Soe (FMX Racing / Point-7) and Justine Lemeteyer (FMX Racing / S2Maui) claim the open division, and Nicolas Goyard together with Sara Wennekes are the foil champions.

The overall result is still the main goal and giant Danish Johan Soe, who finished second and is still only 19 years old, made a clear statement of his strength in long distance: “I’m well satisfied with my result; I was not expecting to be second. I got brand new gear, board, sails, and front wing before the event. I didn’t expect to go as fast as I did. It was very special to win a race in front of Nico Goyard, who was unbeatable. I was pushing like hell to do so. Defi was a really nice experience loaded with adrenaline when you have to face so many people. I don’t trust anyone when you have to go the opposite way. I sometime did very wide jibes and you have to concentrate the whole race with so many people around you.”

Nicolas Goyard, with 3 wins from 4 races is undoubtedly the 2023 Défi champion: ”I’m coming from a month of IQ Foil training and competitions. I got a new foil the day before the event started; I actually think I can go faster as I’m not fully tuned with it. It is fast and stable. I can tune my foil for a high speed on a long run. Defi was clearly one of my goals for the season. Johan (Soe) is coming. He’s going to be a serious opponent. I wish we had stronger wind, it would have been even more fun in a solid 35-40 knots to see how far we can push the limit in front of the fins.”

Sara Wennekes, 1st lady, made an impressive performance finishing 57th overall, in front of a large group of male slalom experts: “My tactic was to try to avoid the crowd on the starting line and have a free start, and that’s not easy. I was trying to follow the big boys and learn from them. I managed quite well I guess. Jibing a mark is just trying to find your free lane and avoiding crashes into other sailors. I tried my best, Justine (Lemeteyer) and I were quite close on every race, we could see each other. We were chasing each other. I managed to do one race in the top 50 overall (including men’s). It’s super cool! I’m happy to have beaten some of the big boys.”

Men's Overall Result 2023 Défi Wind

1st Nicolas Goyard (FRA | Phantom / Phantom Sails / Phantom Foils)
2nd Johan Soe (U20) (DEN | FMX Racing / Point-7)
3rd Thomas Goyard (FRA | Phantom / Phantom Sails / Phantom Foils)
4th Pierre Mortefon (FRA | Fanatic / Duotone / Chopper Fins / Phantom Foils)
5th William Huppert (FRA | Phantom / Phantom Sails / Phantom Foils)
6th Enrico Marotti (CRO | JP / NeilPryde) Bruno Martini
7th Bruno Martini (ITA | JP / NeilPryde)
8th Amado Vrieswijk (NB | Future Fly Boards / Severne Sails)
9th Antoine Albeau (FRA | JP / NeilPryde)
10th Nicolas Warembourg (FRA | JP / NeilPryde)

Women's Overall Result 2023 Défi Wind

1st Sara Wennekes (NED | Future Fly Boards / Severne Sails) 
2nd Justine Lemeteyer (FRA |FMX Racing / S2Maui / LokeFoils) 
3rd Delphine Cousin Questel (FRA | FMX Racing / S2Maui)
4th Blanca Alabau (ESP | Starboard / Severne Sails) 
5th Marion Couturier (FRA | Starboard / Severne Sails)
6th Marion Mortefon (FRA | Fanatic / Duotone / Phantom Foils)
7th Alice Read (GBR | Fanatic / Duotone)
8th Jenna Gibson (GBR | Fanatic / Duotone)
9th Ambre Papazian (FRA | Starboard / Severne Sails)
10th Femke Van Der Veen (NED | Starboard / Severne Sails)