Defi Wind 2023 goes into the history books as the biggest windsurfing event the world has ever witnessed.
A whopping 1406 windsurfing enthusiasts, amateur racers, and pros alike gathered in Gruissan, a beautiful town located in the southeast of France to form the epicenter of windsurfing between the 18th and 21st of May.
Images by Defi Wind
This yearly windsurfing “pilgrimage” connects windsurfers from all across the world for four days of high wind racing across a 40km long marathon course, but that’s not all. Many stars of windsurfing including SEVERNE rider Bjorn Dunkerbeck frequent this event, giving participants a chance to mingle with their idols. Topped with giveaways, presentations, concerts, and parties, there are festival vibes that attract not only the windsurfers who take part in the event but also many others who come to enjoy the great atmosphere.
Whether it was live on the water, or on the big screen at the center stage, spectators got to see incredible “rabbit” starts along the nearly kilometer-long start line and nerve-wracking action as the fleet defied the strong tramontana winds on both fin and foil.
Severne rider Sara Wennekes was the shining star of this year’s event. Her key decision to race on the foil also made her the fastest woman on the 40 km long course, and 57th in the overall category – beating a big portion of the race-experienced big boys.
Apart from hardcore physical training and mental preparation, the young and clever Dutch adds: “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. Gybing 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.”
XTENDED RANGE IN ACTION
This year’s Defi Wind was also amongst the events where SEVERNE’S new Xtended Range products got to be tested to their full capacity. All of the new Mach 6 and HyperGlide 6 sails are designed on this new framework that facilitates a much simpler choice for the rider by providing bigger gaps between sail sizes. On the Mach 6 range, for example, there is now a 1m2 gap between each size, and there are four sizes in total.
Danish rider Mikkel Asmussen (DEN-3) completed all four races on the new Mach 6 6.5 in a large variety of conditions. Mikkel went on to finish 16th overall on the fin ranking and had this to say: “I started out doing the first race on the 6.5 and immediately felt at home. The bottom end of the new Mach 6 surprised me and gave me the confidence I needed to stay on the same sail even in tricky conditions. When the wind increased I was just as comfortable, so my sail choice was a no-brainer throughout all races.“
On the foil, the choice was also clear for Danish rider Kurosh Kiani. Despite the variety of conditions the contest days offered, Kurosh finished all races on the HyperGlide 6 5.0.
“The 5.0 did it all for me. It was an easy choice as I am comfortable with the low end of the HyperGlide 6, and I know that I’ll be able to easily handle gusts and stronger winds as well. This gives me the ease of mind to focus on racing rather than worrying about sail choice!” says Kurosh who hasn’t been on the racecourse since 2019.
SEVERNE FOX HAS DEBUT
The fans, participants, and visitors of the Defi Wind were able to check out the latest Severne gear and get a preview of what is to come in 2024. The Severne booth was packed with all of our newest products in the range, including the Fox, Mach 6, and HyperGlide 6.
The all-new Fox also had its first race ever; Dutch rider Thewes de Boer completed the four races on Fox 95, 105 and 115, often right on par with riders on full race gear.
THE PLACE TO BE
The SEVERNE booth was packed with superstars at this year’s Defi Wind. Each evening “after surf” sessions were planned for anybody to pass by and mingle with the likes of Sara Wennekes, Bjorn Dunkerbeck, Matteo Iachino, Blanca Alabau, Cedric Bordes, Amado Vrieswijk, Karo van Tonder, Liam Dunkerbeck and more.
The keen visitors were also able to see a presentation on the current and upcoming technologies, as well as, the latest sail and board development projects by the SEVERNE brand. Those who stuck it out until the end of the presentation also got a chance to get hold of the official SEVERNE t-shirts, caps, and stubby holders.
Ultimately, the Tramontana trade winds allowed for a total of 4 races to be completed, resulting in 160km of windsurf racing spread over 4 days. Severne rider Sara Wennekes then became the winner of the Defi Wind women’s category, and French Nicolas Goyard took the trophy of the men.
Women’s Overall Result 2023 Défi Wind
1st Sara Wennekes
2nd Justine Lemeteyer
3rd Delphine Cousin Questel
4th Blanca Alabau
5th Marion Couturier
6th Marion Mortefon
7th Alice Read
8th Jenna Gibson
9th Ambre Papazian
10th Femke Van Der Veen
Men’s Overall Result 2023 Défi Wind
1st Nicolas Goyard
2nd Johan Soe
3rd Thomas Goyard
4th Pierre Mortefon
5th William Huppert
6th Enrico Marotti
7th Bruno Martini
8th Amado Vrieswijk
9th Antoine Albeau
10th Nicolas Warembourg
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