Ludovic Jossin and Yuki Sunaga win inaugural Défi Wind Japan

March 3, 2019 | Windsurfing
Défi Wind Japan: the first edition took place between Yonaha Maehama Beach and Kurima Island | Photo: Défi Wind

After three days of fun races, the wind was finally strong enough to run three official races on the last day of the Défi Wind Japan.

Three different winners excelled on the downwind course that brought a smile to the pros and amateurs alike. In the end, Ludovic Jossin and Yuki Sunaga won the first Défi Wind in the Land of the Rising Sun.

As every windsurfer knows, the wind can play tricks on you. The pro-am concept of the Défi Wind involves waiting for conditions in which everyone can enjoy themselves before official races are launched.

And even though the first three days of the event allowed the organization to sail and complete five fun races, all riders were waiting for the real deal - real wind conditions, real races, and full speed planing.

Fortunately, and in the end, the patience of the competitors was rewarded.

With 14-20 knots of wind blowing from the south, the stretch of water between Yonaha Maehama Beach and Kurima Island offered the perfect regatta field for a downwind course, with start and finish taking place right in front of the spectators on the beach.

If there were any problem at all, it would have been the color of the water, which was unbelievably blue in certain places. Focus and concentration were required in order not to be dazzled by the beauty of the surroundings.

Défi Wind Japan: the event had winds of 14-20 knots | Photo: Défi Wind

Like a Cannonball

And it took more than that to throw Andre Cucchi off his game. Starting like a cannonball in the first race, the winner of the 2014 Défi Wind in Gruissan led the race from start to finish.

Ludovic Jossin finished second, while Nicolas Warembourg completed the podium. The Italian was already dreaming of adding the Défi Wind Japan to his list of victories, but the second race proved to be fatal.

Sitting comfortably in second behind Jossin, Cucchi forgot to sign in for the race and was disqualified, following the Défi Wind rules.

Sarah-Quita Offringa shared the same fate while she was fighting for a place in the top 6-7 overall, and leading the women's division. From then on, the path to victory for was open for Yuki Sunaga (8th overall).

In the men's division, the fight for first place continued until the last race.

Already a winner in Gruissan and Bonaire, Warembourg was aiming to complete his grand slam in Japan and was not hiding it. He won the third and last race of the day, but Ludovic Jossin didn't shake.

By crossing the line in second place, Jossin kept his lead in the rankings ahead of Warembourg.

A final round on a long-distance course in the lagoon was tried in order to push everyone to their limits, but once again a huge squall came to disrupt the wind, and the start was not completed.

As a result, Ludovic Jossin and Yuki Sunaga were crowned champions of the inaugural Défi Wind Japan.

Défi Wind Japan: the windsurfing event ran five fun race and three official races | Photo: Défi Wind

The Young Guns

It is also important to underline the fine performance by the young Japanese rider Tomonori Anami, who finished third and climbed the podium.

Anami had already shown with a foil he was one to reckon with, and he confirmed that in the official races.

Tahitian Mathieux Michaud won first place in the youth division by taking the 20th place overall, and above all, he had the pleasure of crossing the finish line of the second race ahead of living legend Björn Dunkerbeck and multiple-time world champion Philip Köster.

In the late afternoon, Ludovic Jossin and Yuki Sunaga to lifted their trophies in the shape of shisas, the emblem of Okinawa Prefecture.

With five fun races and three official races, the first Défi Wind Japan kept its promise. Even though the story has only just begun, the first chapter has set the tone.

From now on, all eyes will be on the Défi Wind in Gruissan, where Yuki Sunaga and Anami Tomonori have been invited to join the action.

Ludovic Jossin will be back to defend his title in Miyako from February 27 to March 1, 2020.

2019 Défi Wind Japan | Top 3

1. Ludovic Jossin (ESP)
2. Nicolas Warembourg (FRA)
3. Tomonori Anami (JAP)

1. Yuki Sunaga (JAP)
2. Ayako Suzuki (JAP)
3. Horuna Ozaki (JAP