DEFI Wind Twenty24

Day 2: Vonk’s clinic riders are ready to battle to out

DEFI Wind is a unique concept mixing professional windsurfers and recreational sailors. Both fleets need one common thing to express themselves and perform, wind. Day 2 of the DEFI Wind didn’t get lucky with the key element of windsurfing. Despite lots of activities on site, we found some time to catch up with Dutch slalom sailor Jordy Vonk (Duotone), who ran popular DEFI clinics prior to the event.

Clinics to improve your windsurfing skills are popular all over the globe, but there’s one kind of clinic you can only find in Gruissan, the DEFI Clinic, to better your racing abilities and facilitate your DEFI experience on a marathon course. Jordy Vonk together with Surfcenter set a clinic in Gruissan for the third year in a row that became so popular that they had to multiply the number of coaches.

Jordy Vonk: "The clinic exploded this year, we had more than 60 riders! We started three years ago with 8 participants, 18 last year, and this year it went crazy. I had to expand the number of coaches. Nico Prien became involved together with Blanca Alabau, speed sailor Twan Verseputt and Femke Van Der Veen. We’ve had more than 15 nationalities from Australia to Puerto Rico, Argentina, USA, and a hell lots of Dutchies. We had very good days on the water including a practice race. It couldn’t have been better. The goal of the clinic is to make the DEFI as easy as possible. For lots of people, it is a big step if you don’t know how it is, how to deal with it. But when you arrive, you feel that open community, everybody is helping each other. There’s no wind, but i can only see happy people. We are having fun, we check all the racing details and we have amazing parties, we are making good memories. In the end, it’s all about good vibes."

Why do you like so much the DEFI and what makes it so special?

JV: "I’m a DEFI addict because the race is amazing! I get goose bumps every time. It doesn’t matter how many times I did it, when I see the start and so many people, I get goose bumps. There’s no other feeling like that. It is a pro-am, amateurs only see you online the whole year, and here they get to know you. Sometime on Instagram you see comments and you see that people follow you, it’s cool, but then here every 5 minutes they talk to you, they make pictures with you, you really feel like what you do is worth something. You realise, even if we are a small sport, you get the recognition when you walk around here."

At DEFI, you have to chose a category at registration: Fin, foil, or unlimited. You are one of the only 2 racers who won a slalom elimination last year on the PWA tour. Fin is back for its own ranking this year on the World Tour. Did you sign up for fin?

JV: "When i was practicing on a foil during the clinic, I realise I was actually fast on a foil! I was wondering if I should change my registration as I subscribed for fin. I’ve been training 80% of my off season on foil and I start to look better on a foil. There’s a fire burning in me, I want to show that I can pretty damn fast on a foil as well. I’ve been pushing the foil a lot, that’s where I had a lot to gain. I don't want to say that I focus on fin, but I’ll be there. It’s good that the PWA split up foil and fin. I was fighting on a fin, but to fight on a fin against 40 other people on a fin is a lot more fun. I can’t wait to be on a fin with all the fast guys and prove myself again instead of let’s say being lucky that the fin has the preference over the foil on some course. I think it’s cool if Matteo [Iachino] who knows to be fast is on a fin, Pierre [Mortefon] as well, or Taty [Frans] and then winning. It’s gonna be a great show. It’s going to be tough on the water but the more I foil, the more I realise fin is for real men, Jesus it’s so physical! Fin sailing is awesome too!"