Steve Palier of Open Ocean Media presents the first edition of ‘Defi Mag’ as the long-distance racers arrive in Gruissan for Defi Wind 2011… All photos by Jean Souville.
Gruissan, ‘Chalets beach’, official site of the 11th Défi Wind. The sun is not that bright, flags are flapping, the sand is flying. Anemometer blades are going crazy and we can already hear the noise of the sails ready to be rigged for a first warmup. Even if the Official Competition only begins on Thursday, many competitors are already there to face the local tramontana.
You’ll find in this “Défi Mag 1” a word of the organiser Philippe Bru, a few interviews of amateurs met on the spot and a couple of news and good stories with a selection of pictures of the day.
Tomorrow evening, you will get the next “Défi Mag 2” with all the news of the first day of race.
A word from the organiser Philippe Bru.
This is the 11th year for the Défi with more than 25 countries represented and more than 100 teenagers registered. The biggest challenge was to reorganize totally the village in a dynamic way. More than 850 participants registered so far and since the very first edition, we scored about 2850 competitors. This is a world record in the history of windsurf event organization.
ZOOM Sea Rescue Staff
Over 40 knots on the water this morning. Perfect warm up for the competitors and for the security staff as well. Pascal Pena is in charge of the security on water. He says that the biggest trouble is when the tramontana is not steady. If the wind is not perfectly oriented, the competitors are having a hard time coming back to the beach, so in that case we have to help them. This year, Sea Rescue on the Défi is about 130 volunteers available, 50 rescue boats, 11 jetskis and 200 gallons of gazoline for the first day only.
Most of the challengers were already registered via the net or postmail and this morning they gathered at the meeting point to get their lycras and Neil Pryde bags with all the goodies given by the Defi Wind partners. They had to get in line but always in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. The JP/ Neil Pryde stand was getting ready to welcome tomorrow the first amateurs missing some gear or eager to get some good tips. More than 30 boards and 50 rigs will be available with the support of a professional team.
Camille Bouyer (France) “I’m just getting out of the water with my 2.5, and my slalom board; is was strong and gusty but damn good !! I love the Défi for its endless runs full speed, close to the beach. Unfortunately I can’t register for safety reasons because I’m under 13 but I’ll be here next year for sure.”
Sergei Makarenko and Denis Okulov (Russia) “We drove more than 3000 miles to get in there. We came here because this event is open to everybody and it is a very good way to train for other races. At home not far from the Black Sea we are never more than 200 people on competitions. So racing with 1000 other windsurfers is an incredible experience !”
Michael George (England) “This is my first Défi. I trained yesterday and the spot is just amazing…. and so windy ! Here the runs are 15 times longers than on the lake I use to sail not far from London. There is already a good atmosphere and I can’t wait to be on the starting line even if I have a bit of pressure.” There will be 15 brits on the run and 7 are members of the British Navy, all windsurf addicts.
Ugo Saligari (Italy)
“I come from Genova for my fourth Défi. I’m just getting out of the water. Even if the wind was strong, the spot is still so good. This event is a must, the concept is unique, the organization is on top and there are more and more italians joining this challenge.”
TOMORROW FIRST POSSIBLE RACE!
If the registrations are still on until 10am tomorrow, the champions in charge of the “Girl Power” group have a first meeting at noon with all the racing girls in order to give them the best sailing tips.The first possible start is planned at 3pm while at 7pm everybody is expected for the opening ceremony.