Le Défi: The windsurfing and kiteboarding marathon in numbers

May 5, 2018 | Windsurfing
Défi Wind: 1400 windsurfers battling the Tramontane wind | Photo: Canigou

Hailed as the largest wind sports events on the planet, the Défi Wind and the Défi Kite are a sum of impressive facts and figures.

Every year, between April and May, the windy waters of Gruissan welcome thousands of windsurfers and kiteboarders for a unique, exhausting challenge.

They are all invited to face the elements along the beautiful beaches of Occitania, and complete a 40-kilometer sailing marathon.

The gigantic event was created by Philippe Bru, in association with the local authorities and Wind Magazine.

"The goal is to finish in the highest place possible, but everyone comes here to participate, do his or her race and measure himself," explains Bru.

The Défis also look like a festive gathering where everyone can share their experiences, discover the gear exhibited by the brands, enjoy a big party in front of the beach."

Gruissan has the raw and unlimited resource any wind sports enthusiasts hope to find: the wind.

Some riders complete the 40-kilometer race in 45 minutes; others will need up to three hours to cross the finish line.

But the feeling of accomplishment when you conclude the journey cannot be put into words - it's unbelievably invigorating and fulfilling.

So, if you're a passionate windsurfer or kiteboarder, plan a trip to France, and join the Défi tribe. There's an incredible atmosphere waiting for you here.

Le Défi | Facts & Figures

57,000,000 spectators worldwide
50,000 visitors
10,000 m2 of sailing village
1,800 participants
1,400 windsurfers
400 kiteboarders
320 kilometers of races
250 organizers
150 regatta officials
50 exhibitors
50 regatta buoys
40 participant countries
40 kilometers per race
30 artists and live performers
13-72-year-old competitors
17 editions
15-kilometer length racing area
6 months of preparation