JH – Hi Nicolas, congratulations on your podium finish at this years Defi Wind. How was the event this year?

NG – Hi Jamie ! This year we had 2 days of wind during the Defi but we also had 2 other windy days to train before the Defi! So it was a nice and long Defi !

On the Thursday (first day of racing), we did a first 40km race that been really challenging and friendly at the same time !
Then, 2 days with no wind and we foiled a bit..
And finally a crazy last day with an early wake up and we tried to complete 3 races of 40km ! Unfortunately, the wind fell down during the last one so it have been canceled …
But anyway, we can say that we optimized the wind !


JH – What were the conditions like this year compared to recent years Defi Wind events? And what gear did you choose to use for the long distance race?

NG – The 2 previous years (2016-2017) have not been windy at all so it was a good thing that the wind decided to join us this year ! For those who remember of 2014 and 2015, I’d say that it was a bit lighter the day we raced, so about 25-30 with gust at 35-40 knots


JH – What was your strategy throughout the race? I guess a good start is important to get ahead of the fleet…

NG – Obviously yes, a good start is the most important thing on the Defi to have a wind free of other competitors! Unfortunately, I’ve not been good at all on this part and happily, my speed was good enough to come back every time..

I couldn’t talk about a strategy as every reach was different but I’d say that I was trying to keep a center position : not to close to the beach and not to far neither…

Physically, I was trying to not be at 100% to keep some lucidity and avoid to crash and to always be able to push harder if needed !


JH – How are you finding this year’s Tabou Manta and Gaastra Vapor?

NG – It’s my first year on Tabou and Gaastra so I can’t compare to previous year, but I can tell that what I like the most is the easy speed you get with the gear! You don’t need to force like an ox, you just need to let the gear glide and that’s it!
Generally every size works really well with a few possible tweaks on a couple of sizes.
I just needed a bit of time to set the 5,6 but now that it’s done, the sail is craaazy !!


JH – Where do you usually train during the year and how did you prepare for this event?

NG – I’m living in Hyères (south of France) for my engineering studies so I usually train in Almanarre that is one of the best spot I know to train (and coming from New Caledonia, that’s not a small compliment).
Actually, I mostly train in foil and almost didn’t touched a slalom board the month before the Defi, so I would not say that I was prepared for this event ! But something let me think that foiling made me improve my slalom glide, so… there is not really an opposition between slalom and foil anymore !


JH – What are your plans for the rest of the season?

NG – I decided not to go to Japan and Korea PWA because of my studies but I’ll definitely compete on all the other World Cups in both slalom and foil !
I’ll be as well on the French tour events (AFF) and I want to participate to as many foiling events as possible !!


Good luck for the rest of the year and we wish all the best on the race course!