The Defi Kite village opened its doors Friday, May 24, 2014 in Gruissan, France. 2014 welcomed the second edition of the three-day contest bringing together close to 150 kite surfers, both professionals and amateurs on a single long distance racecourse.
The wind picked up on Friday afternoon with a vengance. After Philippe Bru’s briefing reminding everyone of sand bank positions and the difficulties of the race, competitors were confronted with a violent wind that forced them to revise equipment choices at the last minute. The start was given with winds between 35 and 40 knots on very rough waters.
The high winds were no problem for most but some amateurs dropped out for lack of small enough kites for the conditions. On the water, as the wind seemed to get even stronger, positions were quickly established. Alex Caizergues, abandoning his foil at the last minute for a well-used speed-crossing board, rapidly built up a significant lead within the first leg. He finished well ahead of his two direct rivals Nicolas Parlier and Maxime Noché, who both suffered throughout the course but still managed to end up on the podium. Many contestants fell, some more than once, and at the finish all were in agreement on the difficulty of the wave and spray-ridden race. Smiles prevailed, however, as taking on the elements is part of the challenge of kiting.
The Defi Kite 2014 edition ended on Sunday with an awards ceremony in Gruissan. Alexandre Caizergues carried the event among the pro men, ahead of last year’s winner, Nicolas Parlier, and Maxime Nocher. For women, his companion Marie Desandre-Navarre took home the Kite challenge for the second year in a row. Ariane Imbert ranked second and Fabienne d’Ortoli third.
In the mens’ amateur category, Tilman Heining came in first followed by Mayeul Riffet and Jérôme Serny. On the womens’ side, Eugénie Harb-Vasseur took home the gold, beating out Mélanie Carle and Catherine Delquié.