Defi 2016

May 13, 2016 4:40 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Defi Wind 2016

As the Severne bus made its way from sunny Norfolk to Gruissan in the south of France driven by fellow Severne rider Neil Greentree and myself. We were due to take part in world’s biggest mass participation race, which is Defi Wind. Over the years the event has grown in popularity and now for 2016 will host a fleet of 1300 registered windsurfers from all around the world all heading for this unique location with it’s strong off shore Tramontana winds which average 35 to 50+ knot winds over a course which is 40kms in length. With 2 races scheduled a day this is pretty hardcore as far as your average windsurfing race goes.

We set off eagerly on our long drive to Defi looking at the forecast knowing that the Tramontana (dominant wind) would be blowing hard up till the competition, we wanted to arrive early and gain some local on water practice as it’s not every day you get to sail in such strong off shore winds on reaches of 10km.

On arriving at Defi, we were not disappointed and I continually sailed for the next 3 day on my Severne 4.7 Gator in the lovely offshore winds with the sun beaming through.

However, on the day of the event started, the wind dropped and changed its direction to onshore! With the wind slowly building but sadly insufficient wind to race on Day 1. However, this gave us time to meet many of the professional windsurfing stars from all brands and look at the various trade stands. It was great to see Severne taking pride and place amongst the leading brands in the beach exhibition area. Then it was the big welcome party that went on till the early hours…

Then Day 2 arrived with the wind increasing, would it be enough to race in? Sadly the direction was still on shore, which are certainly not your classic Defi conditions.

This produced some interesting shore break that the organisers said were too difficult to arrange a typical race as getting 1300 windsurfers off the beach would be carnage. Instead, they arranged a fun race in the challenging conditions a good number of the competitors participated. However, many struggled to get even off the beach and there were many wipeouts and kit breakages in the prevailing conditions.
The conditions were more suited to wave equipment so we thought it would be rude not too and broke out our kit and didn’t stop us having a cheeky afternoon wave sailing though accompanied by a few wipe outs of mine own!

Sadly the Tramontana winds never materialised for Defi 2016 and on the 3rd day, the organisers decided to end the event early as there was no wind forecasted for day 4 but torrential rains instead.
So it was time to pack up and head home in the Severne Shop Team bus.

While it was a great shame, it hasn’t dampened our enthusiasm for the Defi and many of the sailors already have it in their diaries to return for Defi 2017. If you have never been to Defi, it really is something to put it on your ‘must do list’.

If you don’t believe me check out YouTube, there are many Defi Wind videos and you will realise what all the hype is about…
image1IMG_1896IMG_1878Defi pic

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This post was written by Steve Chatten (Team Rider)

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