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Defi Kite Racers Head to Port Nouvelle

Kitesurfers are notorious for talking about busy beaches; there’s nothing worse than rocking up to your favourite spot only to find that the water’s already teaming with kiters.
But if you think you’ve seen busy, think again; you ‘ain’t seen nothing yet’ ‘till you’ve seen Defi!

230 kiters on the water, all racing at the same time!!!!!!!!!!

Talk about crazy; in all our years following kite surfing ExPix have never come across so many kitesurfers competing at the same time in such a small area. Sure we’ve covered a fair few down winders and whilst there are always a larger number of riders, the emphasis is on covering the distance and not racing.

But once you throw racing into the mixture, it’s a totally different ball game. Forget riding in a group of similar ability riders as some down winders will have you do and forget staying at the back of the start line to keep out of the rush; it’s not about going the distance or the best time; this is a race and being first past the post is all that matters.

You have to be in it to win it, you need tactics and you need balls. Getting past the start line in one piece and with your kite in the air is the first hurdle, navigating your way through the masses is the next, and when you’ve managed that, you’ve got to turn round, tacking back to the finish line. This is not a race for the faint hearted!

The countdown for each race begins 1 hour before the start, giving the safety crews, finish line, start line and media crews time to get in position. It also allows the riders time to make any changes to their set up.

Then it’s the build-up … tacking back and forth vying for position trying to hit the start line at the correct moment as the boat goes past …too soon and not only do you false start but the boat could hit you; too late and you’re left behind! All the lines and close proximity to each other also makes it tactical as kites brush against each other looking for the clean wind. Once in a while there is more than just a brush, lines tangled, kites flapping and rider’s being catapulted through the air as control is lost. It’s exciting to watch but probably for the newer racers it can get a little nervy!

Once across the line then it’s a diagonal course to Port Nouvelle and back again. If there’s time for more than 1 race the course can change with figure 8s and multiple laps making it even more technical. For the spectators, unless you can drive along the beach, it’s all about the start and finish line. That’s where you’ll see most of the action.
Nico Parlier, Axel Mazella and Maxime Nocher, 3 young riders are taking it to the limits. These three are by far the best riders in France and using their foils, (a board  attached to a hydrofoil) they can reach amazing speeds in quite choppy water without being buffeted by waves. An efficient and effective way to race over open wate,r the foils are developing technically very quickly.
Nico Parlier took the win at Defi Kite with 3 firsts but there was little distance between the three all day.
With categories open to all ages and gender, Defi Kite is very inclusive; veterans
Male, Female, Junior Pro and Amateur classes, it’s quite a site to see children as young as 15 compete against pro riders. It’s classed as a privilege and an honour to race against the top and who knows … someone might just sneak in under the radar and give these top names a fright!

From an organisational point of view Defi Kite has to be a logistical nightmare. But you wouldn’t think that if you saw Philippe Bru and the crew who put together this amazing event; laid back; horizontal more like. This event couldn’t be any more chilled!

From the moment the ExPix crew arrived at the event site, the vibe was great. Whilst it might be serious on the water, and looking at the size of the safety crew you can be pretty sure safety is taken just about as seriously as you can get; on land and the event has a festival feel; a true beach lifestyle fiesta.

And the event site is attractive, creatively and artistically put together to add to the ambience. Porta cabins are clad with wood to soften the look and as for the mandatory porta loos, well they’re something else; no plastic, no smell, just lovely wooden eco cabins, decorated with paintings and fairy lights, oh and a barrel of sawdust and a soup ladle to ‘flush’ the loo!

Whether you’re into kitesurfing or are a suffering partner, Defi Kite has it all; plenty of action on the water, trade demoing their wares on the beach and in the trade village, plenty of restaurants and bars at the site and tons of places to stay. But if you prefer to stay in your van, that’s not a problem either; with plenty of parking spaces, toilets and drinking water and shops close by, you have everything you need for a weekend away.

1)    Nico Parlier
2)    Axel Mazella
3)    Maxime Nocher

Foil Womens
1)    Alexia Francelli
2)    Louise Delorme
3)    Mimi Cler

Non Foil -Men
1)    Seb Cattelan
2)    JeroMenme Serny
3)    Sebastien Queney


Non Foil Women
1)    Marie Desandre Navarre
2)    Ariane Imbert
3)    Marie Gautron


Jerome Serny
Euginie Evrard Vasseur

Youngest rider

Anthony Picard

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