Défi Wind Superstars


Défi Wind Superstars just started this Tuesday in Gruissan, South of France, with its traditional format of mass starts on long distance courses. This year’s Défi is carrying a special flavour with COVID-19 restrictions forcing the organiser to limit the amount of racers: instead of 1400 competitors fighting together, a restricted fleet of ‘only’ 200 riders are set to battle for victory. 100 of the world’s best windsurfers will be competing against 100 amateurs who just qualified last weekend over 3 demanding races.

The entry list gathers a stunning amount of champions, from slalom experts such as Pierre Mortefon (Duotone/Fanatic), who is the current PWA world champion, Matteo Iachino (Starboard/ Severne) and Antoine Albeau (NeilPryde/JP), to foil masters like Nicolas Goyard (Phantom) or William Huppert (Duotone/Fanatic), currently 1st and 3rd in the 2021 ranking. The ladies are also showing a strong opposition with local slalom sailor Marion Mortefon (Duotone/Fanatic) defending her home ground against Delphine Cousin Questel (S2Maui/FMX Racing), Lena Erdil (Starboard/Point 7), Maëlle Guilbaud (Patrik/Loft), and Sarah Jackson (Duotone/Fanatic). Just to name a few, the IQ foil world champion Helene Noesmoen, the Norwegian Helle Oppedal (Duotone) or the Spaniard Blanca Alabau (Severne/Starboard Foil) are potential threats for victory.

If Défi Wind is a long distance race, Défi Superstars is about special courses for special riders, in an XXL format. Racers will be pushed to their limits, and sometime beyond their boundaries as Gruissan often delivers strong to howling winds. That is what is expected for the next 3 days with local Tramontana blowing around 30 knots and more. That offshore wind creates the perfect playground for high-octane races on flat water. Speed is one of the keys, but one of the major factors will be endurance over 40km courses. Slalom sailors who are used to their 3 minutes sprints of the classic slalom format will have to switch to economy mode if they want to survive.

The full fleet rabbit start is another moment of high intensity racers will have to deal with. Timing and vision are decisive elements when the rabbit boat opens the starting line at full throttle, a moment that remains as spectacular as scary for all.

With an almost complete PWA starting list, the Défi Superstars will be a very interesting laboratory with the mix of fins-foils racing together. If day 1 stayed quiet, the forecast is ideal for the upcoming days with a solid Tramontana kicking in from Wednesday November 3rd.

Authors: Super User

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