To Defi Or Not To Defi……….. This Time Its NOT Defi…

May 30, 2022 1:17 pm Published by 1 Comment

So as you all know we have attended Defi Wind since 2012 with Neil being a regular participant until COVID closed the event in 2020. In 2021 it held a limited Superstars event (not quite sure what it was but it wasn’t really my thing), but for 2022 the event has returned in its original format with 1000 windsurfers, 300 kiters, and now 160 wingers taking part in their own events held over 2 weekends and the interim week.


Neils Story

I had some ferry tickets available to use so rearranged the dates so I could attend Defi Wind with my dog Binky. It would be good to chill out after what has been the busiest year in Severneshops history. We set off on the Friday before the Event start on the 26th May 2022, giving me plenty of time to dial into the super gusty conditions and bed back into my Severne Fox C 95 v2. I also took a Turbo GT 5.5 and a NCX 6.0 as well as my normal wave sails and Dyno. I don’t take slalom kit anymore as it just puts pressure on me to compete rather than enjoy the event. I quit slalom sailing nearly 10 years ago simply coz I found I was not longer enjoying the sport I loved ……….. lost to the pursuit of winning etc!!

So we made good progress through France, got to the Millau Bridge to find it was closed and we were diverted through Millau town – 1 1/2 hours later we rejoin the autoroute the other side of Millau to find cars on the autoroute coming from the Millau Bridge. What!!!!! – what had happened was that we had been caught in a temporary closure of the bridge, sent through Millau which was nose to tail carnage!! – only to find they had re-opened it by the time we had got through the town!! – bloody nightmare.

Very soon after I pulled over for Diesel (in my 70 plate motorhome FYI) and parked for lunch. Once I returned to it the Fiat wouldn’t start – I called Fiat Assistance…………. and even after 14hours the French assistance had done NOTHING! – I fixed it myself and Im NOT a mechanic. Thanks to the mechanics at Greentrees Caravanstore for the excellent way they got me back on the road where the French couldn’t be bothered!!

I arrived at Gruissan the next morning and got a great spot on one of the car parks set aside for motorhomes of a high nature. The next couple of days I chilled out walking the dog and using my Ruffian bike to get into the town but didn’t windsurf……… I just wasnt really fussed about going out on the course. The Thursday was registration day and I promised myself I would have a sail – It was also time to pay my €66 security deposit on my Transponder – yes Defi wind is now using transponders. This is great as the fear of being swept away on a 40 knot offshore wind is now gone!! – well done Defi!!

I went out on my Fox 95 and the 5.5 Turbo GT to find it super gusty ( as I would expect) but super over powered in the gusts. I later found out that it was gusting 40 knots so hardly surprising I was struggling!! – but the important thing was I wasn’t enjoying myself – It felt like I HAD to be there, not I WANTED to be there.

So the Thursday lunchtime I packed up my trailer, loaded my motorhome and headed home!


Factors that effected my decision I think were the lack of help from the French roadside assistance definitely. But I think there were other factors which effected my decision to return without competing – to buy a cooked chicken and a small portion of Pommes De terre costed me €30……….. yes €30 euros!!!! Thats more than it would have cost me to eat out!! A Ceasar salad………… €15 Euros, A grotty pre packed sandwich….. €7. And the ‘Damocles sword’ that was the fact that the motorhome had brocken down and I had not so much as fixed it, but disconnected the battery and reset it, bothered me I think. All this culminated in me just not wanting to be there – The event looked good – Ben Proffit was there with Windsurfing TV interviewing all the big names, so the event certainly looks well put together. – It was just not right for me this year I think………. and Im not sure I’ll return. Maybe my Defi Winds days are passed?

What I do know is im looking forward to returning to Norfolk and getting out on my Foil, windsurf kit, and SUP on ,my local beaches which feels good to me – maybe I’m just entering a new era in my sporting life……


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This post was written by James Connor

1 Comment

  • I went to the Defi for the first time this year having raced very intensively in slalom and speed at top level 30 years ago and recently got back into the sport.
    At 105kg I took a Fox v2 120 and a Fox v1 105 as my main boards – found the boards lovely to sail but also wasn’t enjoying the severity and duration of the gusts. Did 3 race starts but each time decided to stop rather than struggle round either totally over or under-powered for much of the race. Huge respect to everyone who completed the event but I moved just down the coast to the La Palme speed course – had a lovely time with super-flat water, much steadier wind and a wonderful reconnection to the sport I love.

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