Record-breaking participation for the 14th edition of DEFI WIND in Gruissan. 1,000 competitors or "challengers" from 27 different countries, all here to defy the notorious Tramontane wind from the Languedoc-Roussillon region. Adding to the records, DEFI WIND is definitely the largest gathering of windsurfers in the world. An incredible success story, all thanks to a handful of enthusiastic organizers.
This first day is marked by the great round win performed by Nicolas Warembourg ahead of Valentin Brault and Sebastien Bonhomme, and also Marion Mortefon's superiority in the women's category.
At 3.00 pm the first and only race of the day is launched, with a wind at between 22 and 27 knots, or force 6 on the Beaufort scale. This is already a strong wind for the average person, but quite moderate for those who have previously experienced the anger of the Tramontane.
It can be seen as the perfect way to start the day. The pacemaker boat that marks the starting line launches the thousand contestants for a 40 kilometre race between Gruissan and Port-la-Nouvelle. The light is magnificent, the sight is spectacular. In just a few seconds, despite rather delicate wind conditions due to irregularity, the sails are trimmed, bodies tensed, each contestant springs forward like a jack-in-the-box.
This is not a time for strategy, as while the Defi Wind is a long race, it is mainly a matter of speed: you have to give it all you've got. Frontrunners are made up of old hands and the best of today's competitors - speed will soon make all the difference: Nicolas Warembourg, a big fellow from Grande-Synthe in the North and multiple French champion, Pascal Boulanger, an emblematic figure from the South, Patrice Belbeoch, last year's winner, Valentin Brault from La Rochelle and Sebastien Bonhomme.
They race towards Port La Nouvelle at over 30 knots, behind them another reality is taking shape. The pack rapidly thins out. In the wake of the super-specialists, each competitor is doing his or her own race.
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