AXEL MAZELLA WINS DEFI SUPER STARS 2023
Axel’s superb kitefoil win in St Tropez, France, came after winning four of the event’s five races, though tight battles played out on the water in strong winds.
The Defi Wind events present an often extraordinary and fun challenge to racers. Ozone caught up with their team rider who’s pinning his hopes on Olympic success for France next year!
How many racers and classes competed at the event?
The Defi Wind events are popular kite/windsurf/wing competitions in France and run a different format to the usual Olympic class, often over much longer distances. 150 kitesurfing, windsurf and wingfoil racers entered to compete on the slalom reaching courses that all had the iconic rabbit starts with a speed boat crossing the line to launch each race.
I competed in the kitefoil class. We did a total of five races and I finished first in the overall ranking, winning four races in total.
How long were the races and how tough were the conditions?
The races were really long compared to normal racing, more like endurance racing, covering 35 kilometres with reaches across St Tropez bay and lasting around 40 minutes. We rounded seven buoys on the endurance course before the slight upwind hack to the finish line. One day was really onshore with big, challenging waves in 25 knots and the second day was more classic Mistral offshore wing around 30 – 40 knots.
What gear did you use?
Mainly my Ozone R1V4 7m with my Chubanga V3 500cm foil; the perfect partnership for slalom racing in super strong wind.
What was the most important aspect of your performance that you think brought you the win?
The key thing for these endurance style races is to manage your efforts. While racing for 40 minutes it’s important to know when you need to go full speed and when to take rest… if you can! I tried to not go full speed at the start so I could conserve some energy and then give everything close to the finish line. Racing against my Ozone team mate, Nicolas Parlier and Théo de Ramecourt, another super talented French rider, you have to be smart and keep pushing until the finish!
What is your best memory from the races?
It’s the action on the water against Nico and Théo. At some points we were so close to each other throughout the race that it really pushed us out of our comfort zone. After 40 minutes of racing at average speeds of 35 knots, we often remained just 100 metres apart, so there was never any room for mistakes. I knew I was better on straight line speed and that those guys were better on gybes, so there was a lot of overtaking going on.
AVERAGE SPEED DURING ONE 35 MINUTE RACE: 35 knots (65km/h)
TOP SPEED: 39.91 knots (74km/h)
AVERAGE RACING HEART BEAT: 188 bpm
MAX RACING HEART RATE: 196 bpm
FINAL KITEFOIL RACE RESULTS:
1 Axel Mazella (Ozone)
2 Theo de Ramecourt
3 Nico Parlier (Ozone)