I thought it was time I visited the now famous Defi Wind
in Gruissan south of France as this is the largest participation windsurfing event in Europe.
So James Dinsmore and myself loaded the NWF bus, full of kit and caught the overnight Ferry from Portsmouth to Le Have and after a 12hrs shared driving journey through France, we arrived last night at 2000hrs greeted with heavy rain and little wind, after weaving through the other vans/camper etc we eventually found a parking spot which was just made for a mercedes sprinter, well I made it fit on the seafront and close to the action… Errm maybe too close to the action as the band played till the early hours and scheduled to do so over the next 4 nights. I was pretty relieved the van made it, well to be exact the tyres, after all they are mostly cosmetic, the van looks good on their 50 profile and not sure they are rated to have that sort of load/weight and even over inflated them by 15psi to ensure they didn’t look too flat to the local french constabulary… And strangely enough the van attracted a fair amount of attention….
Day 1 Registration and Race Brief
For those of you who are not aware of the Defi Wind it attracts sailors from around the world and a good following of pro riders too, double World Wave Champion Phillip Koster and Jurjen van der Noord who himself broke the 51knots barrier at Namibia and our own Brit Robbie Swift are just a few who support this classic off shore wind flat water location with this year 805 registered riders…. I was keen to visit the event as this event gave me a lot of inspiration in the early days to develop the NWF….
The event site is located on the outskirts of Gruissan and is supported by the local community and at this morning initial brief, with glorious sunshine and no wind which was opened by the Mayor of the town, they have an open air stage with the parties each night, good support from the trade with their associated stands on the beach, but not as big as the NWF which did surprise me, but then on the other hand this region is renowned for its 45knots winds so thats probably a good reason why there isn’t much trade on the beach.
There is representation from 36 countries so excellent international support but due to the conditions would suggest that the intermediate level is higher than the NWF and after all this is a long distance race right, well of course I knew this before signing up but wasn’t quite expecting each race would be over 2 laps and a distance of 24miles, yep you heard me right…… With 2 scheduled races per day and the forecast unlike today forecasted from 25 knots to 45knots over the next 3 days so I reckon an early night in order with associated ear plugs…..
There is a good representation of Brits here, namely the Royal Navy bringing a strong team, god thought I had done my fair share of racing against the navy during my army service, no seriously its all good as there is certainly a buzz and strong vibe in the air, we also have Neil Greentree here on his European road trip and heading off to Tarifa next week. To entertain the crowds in the very light wind this afternoon we had tow in windsurfing.
OK thats the end of todays NWF view on Defi wind, hoping to write a few lines tomorrow eve after a pretty full on day….. Must admit I reckon could get used to the participant rather than the organiser, only joking this years NWF is well on schedule.