Here Comes Defi Wind 2011!

Duncan Slater
Defi Wind 2010, all images by Jean Souville
Defi Wind 2010, all images by Jean Souville

It’s that time of year again – Defi Wind 2011 returns to Gruissan in the south of France for world’s biggest mass-participation long-distance racing spectacular. In this 11th year of Defi Wind, on 2-5 June 1111 windsurfers will be defying the Tramontane. Which will definitely mean daily press releases defying the laws of English grammar as only the French know how! So, with a week to go to the big meet, here’s a picture gallery of Defi Wind 2010 courtesy of Jean Souville – followed by the first two pre-event press releases in all their unadulterated Franglais glory!

Girl power attitude, more than 20 nations represented and yet beautiful battles to expect between professional and amateur windsurfers! “


A “Girl Power” group …

Powered by Naish, an initiative was set up by women pro riders to the attention of other girls who take part in the competition. Thus, champions such as Karin Jaggi, Sarah Hebert, Valerie Ghibaudo-Arrighetti, Fanny Aubet, Marion Raisi, Delphine Cousin or Marion Mortefon will officiate as “coaches” to provide the best advices and settings for all other competing women. Marion Raisi said: « The purpose of this initiative is to involve the girls in a competitive situation, to recreate a close relationship between pro and amateur riders by providing our expertise and expérience ». A good news for all “sisters of the wind”: enjoy this unique opportunity and join this women’s gathering, like Christine Couturier who is one of the few women to have competed in every edition of the Défi for 10 years. She is still in the race this year!

More than 20 nations represented on the Défi!
Incredible edition this year with more than 20 countries represented! Germany, England, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Holland, Luxembourg, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Switzerland, Senegal as well as Tahiti and the USA. Most represented are Belgium and Italy with over 25 participants for each of these two countries! There will even be a woman representing Peru!

Nice fights in perspective …
If it remains difficult this year for many professional riders who must join the World Cup Slalom in Costa Brava that happens in the same time as the Défi, the fact remains that there will certainly be some big fights to expect between some other participating pros. Will we see again a new dual between Mortefon (winner last year) and Toselli (2nd)? Bieuzy Mauffret (3rd in 2010) is again on the favorites list this year while Slovenian Tine Slabe (6th) will certainly be fighting against Gerald Pelleau (8th). We wish the best to Nicolas Warembourg (9th) and top speed rider David Garrel while we welcome again the “old” fans who never missed an edition of the Défi: David Lledos – hot local from Gruissan, Fabrice Couturier, Franck Malmasson, Ponrouch brothers, Olivier Alard and all other teamriders … They will still be there, ready to defy the strong Tramontana!

Manufacturers ready to take the challenge …
He’s been a challenger on many stages of the World Cup in the 80’s before launching his own Windsurfing brand, RRD. For the fun, Roberto Ricci will be on the Défi this year and will be back on the competition by aligning the starting line alongside other great names such as Monty Spindler, Loft Sails designer, or Patrice Belbéoc’h, creator of the brand of Exocet. Simmer and Neil Pryde will also be presenting their latest gear on the site.

Windsurf amateur film festival …
There is still time for fans to send their best windsurfing production on DVD (6 min max) to be selected for the “windsurf amateur film festival” sponsored by Oxbow this year, which will be held on the evening of June 3rd, in Gruissan. Best producers can win goodies offered by Microsoft, some Oxbow wetsuits and a VIP place for the Wind & Snow Trophy in Chamrousse ! Oxbow will also introduce an exclusive preview of the new great movie « Walls of perception » with the presence of Jason Polakow and Levi Siver!

“Youth Power, pros’ best tips, incredible”Jam Sessions”to launch the «Night & Day» trophy and the New York Times in Gruissan! “

Youth Power on the 11th Defi Wind!

Ok, even if windsurfing will celebrate its 42nd anniversary this year, the sport keeps attracting many young people. On this 11th edition of the Defi, almost a 100 – all aged under 20 years – will be on the starting line! While some will even travel from Germany, Switzerland or Portugal, French kids such as Arthur Arutkin, Julien Bouyer, Mortefon and Cousin families or Olivia Piana and Steve Laubaney will be there to battle against the “old guys” . And among the 10th participants coming from Portugal, we had the opportunity to chat with Martim Monteiro, 19 years old : “I come from Carcavelos near Lisbon. I know the Defi Wind by our friends who came in 2008. I especially like to be in the largest concentration of windsurfers on earth. This year is the 2nd year I join. My main goal is to make the top 50. I know it will be very difficult, but I’ll give my best. I just stay very happy because it’s one of the best week of windsurfing of the year !

The pros give you some tips …

We asked some champions so they can share with you some advices that might help to enjoy your sailing and your stay in Gruissan. Here are their tips.

Fanny Aubet (7th PWA slalom women ranking 2010): “Good settings are important for a comfortable and fast run because the races are very long, but have fun with your mates… The evening is a little more to relax, so enjoy ! “

Gerald Pelleau (8th on the Defi 2010): Do not innovate in settings or in gear for the Defi. Go with the gear and settings that you know and that you adjust on the spot, On D-Day, sail 10/15 minutes 1/2h before starting to tune up your settings and locate the starting line. Come back to the beach for 5 minutes and drink, and then quietly sail away 20 minutes before the departure by placing you close to the beach, ready to reach the line.”

Bieuzy Mauffret (3rd on the Defi 2010): “Managing your time before the race and then find a place sheltered from the wind between the two races, to be in top form at Nasser’s concert on Saturday night!”
Pascal Toselli (2nd on the Defi 2010) : “I think it’s good not to change your usual settings. You’d better enjoy it as a normal session and get used to your stuff not to have any pressure. (ps: do not abuse at night without some serious preparation throughout the year !!!)”

Concerts ready to rock the « Plage des Chalets »!

Beware, there will (also) be a lot of sound! And yes, because the Defi is also about “afters.” After many efforts on the water, there will be a great music program as about 12 local groups will play live from Friday afternoon. You want names ? Ok ! Nasser, Batucadas, Smoky Joe Combo, Trafiko, Modjo Band, but also pro windsurfer and singer originally from Bonaire, Ruben Petrisie accompanied by Pintos. Will the decibels be stronger than Tramontana?

The “Night & Day” trophy by Soöruz: still in!

Not to forget is the unavoidable other Trophy, the famous “Night & Day”. A trophy that can crown not necessarily very valiant competitors on the water but also very active ones… at night! Powered by the brand Soöruz, always ready to bring the beach on fire in one way or another on every edition of the Defi, the “Night & Day” trophy will be in again this year. So let’s have fun, but with moderation!

A photographer from the New York Times on the Defi!

Commissioned by the New York Times, the famous American newspaper, photographer George Steinmetz (www.georgesteinmetz.com) will travel to Gruissan to remember the good memories of aerial photographs he took during the stages of World Cup windsurfing in Hawaii late 80’s. Redirected to the Defi event by the magazine Windsurf Mag U.S. when he sought to find again “this special atmosphere with all the colorful sails scattered on the sand,” George Steinmetz will certainly impress and there is no doubt that his superb shots will be well exported beyond the Atlantic!

Next PR on May 30th, at just 2 days before the opening of the event !

More infos on our website : www.defiwind.com and our facebook page : www.facebook.com/LeDefi

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