Defi WIND Twenty24

Day 1: Windsurfing Hall of Fame first ever induction ceremony

DEFI Wind, which started with a warm summer day and barely any wind to welcome the 1,500 participants, was the place to be to witness the first ever induction ceremony of the Windsurfing Hall of Fame, in association with Surf Magazin.

The event known as the world’s largest watersport meeting was not blessed with Tramontana this Thursday but emotion reached its climax when legends of the sport came on to the stage for a very special evening. DEFI gathers a mix of amateurs and pros, from all around the world, all actors of their passion, sharing the same vibe for the sport and the wind. There was no other location than the DEFI to celebrate and honour the remarkable people of windsurfing, those who made history, developed the sport and made us dream.

The Windsurfing Hall Of Fame ceremony is the Oscars of windsurfing. Founded by Jonathan Weston in 2021, the who’s who of our favourite sport is now at its 3rd class. TV producer and Executive Director of WHOF Cliff Webb hosted the first ever induction ceremony on the main stage of the DEFI, in front of a large crowd that touched windsurfers of all ages. Riders, world champions, craftsmen of the sport such as sailmakers and shapers, innovators and pioneers, who made significant contributions to the development of the sport, made the journey to Gruissan to be honoured.

Multiple world champion and US National champion in freestyle in the 80`s Andrea Livingston opened the celebration with sail designer Willem Blaauw. Inductees from class 1 Rhonda-Smith Sanchez, Fred Haywood or Robby Naish, who couldn’t attend the ceremony, sent warm video messages. Former racing world champ Nancy Johnson from the USA followed on stage with Michiel Boumeester who has been windsurfing for over 51 years.

Industry members Bruce Wylie, sail designer Monty Spindler from Loftsails and shaper Peter Thomen, famous for his F2 shapes, also inductees shared their emotions on stage. Ken Winner, world champ and innovator of many concepts such as the adjustable boom and top wave sailor Pete Cabrinha made the trip to France to collect their WHOF commemorative plaques.

The highlight of the ceremony came with no surprise with Nevin Sayre and Brian Talma’s speeches. After a long career, innovations and many trophies, Nevin still shows amazing energy on stage as much as on the water. Brian Talma, who shared his positive vibe presented the Beach Culture World Tour, and stamped the DEFI Wind as part of the concept of community, culture, environment and sport.

Sharing together 67 world titles, legends Antoine Albeau (JP / NeilPryde) and Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne Sails) closed a ceremony loaded with emotion and souvenirs.

Words: Franck Roguet