Defi WIND Twenty24

Event Preview: One start line - 1,500 windsurfers - 1 rabbit - 20 knots minimum/up to 50 - a 40km course - 10km reaches - 4 gybes - Any catapults? - Finish - Celebrate - Drink - Party - Repeat. Welcome to the Defi WIND!

Exciting, right? Well… we are sorry, it’s too late to join, it’s all sold out!

If you want to push your windsurfing boundaries and race with your idols, it happens in Gruissan, south of France. And that’s this weekend. That's Defi WIND, but you’ll have to be patient for another 12 months, this year’s edition is full with a new record of 1,500 entrants!

There’s a well known saying in France from a popular businessman stating that if you do not have a Rolex at age 50, you screwed up your career. We say that if you did not take part in a Defi at 50, your windsurfing experiences are incomplete. As a pro sailor, it’s even harsher. You may be world champ, national champ or local hero, if you do not have a victory at the Defi, your prize list lacks a key element. But is that what attracts so many riders to the same spot?

You’ll want to beat your mate, be quicker than your son/daughter or dad/mum. You’ll want to complete the 40km distance at least once or finish all races, face 40 knots for a marathon, or just start a race with another crazy 1,499 windsurfers at the same time. Australians, Chinese, Uruguayan, Canadian, Mauritian, Gruissanais, Germans, Londoners, and many others, kids, veterans, families, all 1,500 racers have a different goal. Which one will be yours?

For Nicolas Goyard (Phantom / Phantom Sails / Phantom Foils), event title holder, adding another victory to his trophy room is his simple ambition. Goyard who’s running for the France 2024 Olympic games is fully hooked in and would not miss a Defi even some weeks before trying to secure a gold medal. Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Severne Sails) and Blanca Alabau (Starboard / Severne Sails), the glamorous 2023 PWA slalom world champions, are also lining up to try to overcome the largest fleet of their racing careers. Shall we expect Amado Vrieswijk (Future Fly / Severne Sails), a former PWA Freestyle world champion and the 2023 PWA Slalom vice-world champion to be the strongest to beat the violent Tramontana? 

Foils and fins are mixed but there will be winners in each categories, which means those who opt for the fin can still shine. That’ll be the goal of fin expert Jordy Vonk (Duotone / Duotone Sails), who currently runs a Defi clinic with more than 60 enthusiasts from the Netherlands in Gruissan. Or will it be the coup of a dark horse? What about young waterman Liam Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne Sails), happy to use his gliding knowledge to target the top 50 amongst the giant racers? Who’s going to take the sail designers challenge between Ben Severne (Severne Sails), Peter Bijl (North), Andrea Cucchi (Point-7) and Monty Spindler (Loftsails)? Windsurfing legend Antoine Albeau (JP / NeilPryde), young gun Johan Soe (FMX Racing / Point-7), the Mortefon siblings, Maciek Rutkowski (NeilPryde), Taty Frans (Future Fly / Point-7) and plenty of others, well known or amateurs, are all excited with anticipation for the 2024 Defi WIND, which starts today!

Newly elected PWA president Nico Prien (JP / NeilPryde) will also be racing and will be one to follow on the course and on his social media. Ben Proffitt (Simmer / Simmer Sails) and Windsurfing TV are in Gruissan as well to cover the madness of the largest fun board mass start of the world. And the cherry on the cake, this year’s edition will be live on the Defi YouTube channel! Parties, French food & local wine, live music, exhibitors, the wild Tramontana, and the 1st ever Windsurfing Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be at the Defi WIND, to be held from May 9th to 12th.

You can follow live the Windsurfing Hall of Fame induction ceremony on the Defi Wind youtube channel at 6pm (GMT+2).

Words: Franck Roguet