Défi Kite 2016: the event had 50 knots of wind | Photo: Jauffroy/Défi Kite

Axel Mazzela has driven his foil to victory at the Défi Kite 2016, held in Gruissan, France.

The Tramontane showed its teeth. With winds blowing between 35 and 45 knots, staying up and riding was the ultimate challenge. The 4th edition of the Défi Kite had 292 participants, and small wings were the only reasonable choice.

Local kiteboarders proved it is always an advantage to know the playing field. In the third race, Geoffrey Mascarell managed to beat the 55-knot gusts and crossed the finish line in first place.

But with a win in the second race, and two runner-up finishes in the remaining races, it was Mazzella who took top honors. The 18-year-old kiteboarder has a bright future ahead of him in the foiling division.

"This edition of Défi Kite will be remembered in the history of kitesurfing. The event allowed us to show the kite foil performance in extreme conditions. Foiling is the future," said Mazzela.

In the women's division, Alexia Fancelli led her foil to victory. She finished 56th overall and was followed by Marie Gautron and Nadine Poncept.

"I am so happy to win the Défi Kite! We had hard conditions, but we did it. 292 kitesurfers and 31 women! Big up to my friends Axel and Theo for their podiums and to my teammate Julien," expressed Francelli.

Défi Kite 2016 | Top 3

Men
1. Axel Mazzela
2. Theo de Ramecourt
3. Alexandre Caizergues

Women
1. Alexia Fancelli
2. Marie Gautron
3. Nadine Poncept