Ozone team kitefoil racer, Axel Mazella, left the Defi-Kite and Defi-Wing fleets to pick up the remaining places after a display of pure class in Gruissan, France this week. Powered by the R1 V4 and Edge V11 kites, the Fly V1 wing and the all new speed machine – the Flux V1 – then did the business for him in his first ever wing competition! In ten race starts, no one crossed the finish line ahead of the Frenchman in either discipline!
The Frenchman was joined on the Defi-Wing podium by his countryman, amateur racer, Arthur Mathieu, 31, who stormed his way to third using the new Ozone Flux V1!
Defi event photos: Jean Souville and Jean Marc Cornu
Axel Mazella, unstoppable!
The Defi-Wind is a very unique event in windsports due to the long nature of the races that usually run in very strong Tramontana winds. Starting in 2001, popularity as a windsurfing race event grew massively, now with over 1000 windsurfers still showing up to the racing line. The kite discipline was added to the event in 2013 and now the wingfoilers also get their own time on track, too.
After six back-to-back days on the water competing in two events, Axel knew all about the challenge of this event!
“The main part of the Defi is to fight against the Tramontana wind and we certainly had that this week, up to 45 knots! Also with 350 other riders in the kite and wing races, it was full on this week!
Adding to the event’s unique appeal is the unusual ‘rabbit start’ that sees races begin once the official boat has crossed the start line and riders can then power down the course passing as close to the back of the boat as possible to get ahead.
First up were the kiters:
Defi-Kite: 12 – 14th May
Defi-Wing: 15 – 17th May Defi-Wind: 18 – 21st May DEFI-KITE
Axel won five out of five races (each consisting of two laps of a 20 kilometre course!) against fleets of up to 350 racers (he discarded entry to the sixth and final race as he’d already won the event).
Finishing most races with impressive leads, Axel was frothing afterwards:
“Two laps of 20 kilometres each race, it’s full gas all the way and really intense! I was swapping between my 9 and 7m R1V4 kites with 11m lines, and then on the last day of the kite event it was really, really strong, so I used the 5m Edge with 20m lines. I have built a lot of confidence with these kites for a few years, so I can almost ride them with my eyes closed and it was just a great experience!”
Ozone’s pro kite racer Axel Mazella (3 x KiteFoil World Series Champion & 3 x European Champion) secured a sensational win in the kite division at this hugely popular and prestigious wind event in the south of France. Mazella is revered as one of the world’s best kite racers and is currently training very hard for the 2024 Paris Olympics DEFI-WING
Axel then also powered to complete his total domination of two disciplines at the Defi, taking all five wing race wins too at his first ever wing competition!
“This was my first wing competition ever, so I came to the Defi-Wing without any objective, but when I finished the first race in front of World Champion, Mathis Ghio, I was really surprised. It was like, ‘Oh my god, what’s going on?!’ I expected to be fast, but to take all five bullets in the Defi-Wing, it’s unbelievable. Thanks to the massive wind range and stability of the Fly V1 and then the Flux V1 on the last day, I just found I had so much control and speed in these super challenging, gusty, offshore conditions!”
Read more on Axel’s gear choices for the Defi below in this feature.
The Frenchman was joined on the podium by his countryman, amateur racer, Arthur Mathieu, 31, who stormed his way to third using the new Ozone Flux V1 wing . Surely a name to look out for in the future, Arthur is a ski and kitesurfing instructor by trade and also a very competitive kitefoil racer (having won previous Defi-Kite races).
However, when he lined up for his first Defi-Wing race here, he’d unbelievably only had six previous sessions on a wingfoil, ever!
“I’m really happy with third place, that wasn’t easy. I did two 5th places on the first day and after that I worked hard to keep pulling the results up. I took the Fly wing first because I’d ridden it before, but once I got more confidence in the event I came in and switched to the new Flux. I was riding my small hydrofoil that I usually use for kitefoiling and suddenly the Flux felt much better suited to it, with loads of power handling and amazing upwind angles. I took places ahead of Mathis Ghio, who is a World Champion, and that’s amazing for me. On the last day I took two second place finishes, which gave me third overall!” ARTHUR MATHIEU
Arthur and Axel, powerful pairing!
Using a smart watch, Axel recorded the following speeds, always using his 500cm² kitefoil:
Kite: 35 knot average speed around the courses, with a top speed of almost 40 knots. Wing: 30 knot average speed around the courses, with a top speed of 32.8 knots. Flux wing: In a speed test that Axel did before the final race, Axel hit 35 knots using the Flux 3.6m AXEL MAZELLA FURTHER THOUGHTS ON THE GEAR HE USED FOR THE DEFI-KITE AND WING RACES
AXEL: “I swapped between my 9m R1V4, to the 7m with 11m lines, and then the 5m Edge with 20m lines when conditions were far stronger. The R1V4 foils kites are really stable in these difficult conditions,produces good power and I can control them really well.
“When the wind was even stronger I turned to the Edge tube kite because on the really small sizes like this, when the wind is hitting pretty much 45 knots, you have to search for security as well and the Edge was really the best weapon for that race.” WINGS:
AXEL: “This was my first ever wing competition. I spend almost every day training on the kite foil because the level is so high now, but I took time to do this event to refresh my mind and do something other than just training. So I came into it more relaxed and with an open mind, plus I had the opportunity to test some more Ozone gear a couple of days before coming to the Defi Wing. It was my first time riding wings with a harness and with my kitefoil gear, so I did two sessions at home and straight away felt the potential for great speed on the wings, using the harness in strong winds with proper loads and fast foils.
“I didn’t want to come to my very first wing event on new gear; I wanted to race first with something that I know, that I can control and that I can trust, which is why I did the first four races on the Fly.
“It’s the same with the foil – I was wing racing with the same 500cm hydrofoil I use for kite racing. I’ve known it for four years so am really confident with it.
“I tried the Flux for the first time on the windiest day of the event, when the races were actually cancelled because it was so strong! The stiffness of the wing is incredible. It was gusting 40 knots and the wing remained super stable. It has so much potential!
“But I was competing so well on the Fly 3m in the survival conditions, so I continued. The Fly’s accessible performance, even when taking a big gust, meant it remained stable and didn’t feel as if it was trying to shoot up or down in my hands. It still flies forward with good power, so the Fly’s wind range feels really nice.
“After the first day’s racing, when I finished in front of everyone, lots of riders came up and said, “Hey, you finished in front of Mathis Ghio who is a World Champion wing racer, and Titouan Galea, too.” I was like, ‘Wow, it’s crazy. I can’t believe I was that fast.’ There were proper wing racers here who I respect and I’m super happy to win five races in front of them!
“I decided to take the Flux for the final, longer wing race – the full Defi-Wing style race, after having won all the previous races and was assured of the event win.
“The Flux is crazy. Even in super strong wind the performance remains so good. It’s more efficient and powerful than the Fly, but has the same stability. I could feel the step-up in performance and managed to win this last race by nearly a minute in front of Arthur in second, who was also on the Flux and my nearest competitor. So yes, the Flux is really fast!
Video above – Axel winning the last race handsomely on the Flux, ahead of Arthur, also on the Flux…
“I think after this event my wingfoil gear will go back into my garage because I have to train hard to keep on top of the kitefoil series rankings. It’s hard to do everything. I keep in mind that maybe i’ll do some wingfoil international racing one day, but now i’m focused on the Olympics and kiting first.”
FLUX IS FLYING ALREADY!
In the only two race events that Ozone riders have used the brand new Flux V1 wing, (the Pacific Coast Wingfoil Championships in San Francisco in April, and now the Defi Wing this week in France), Johnny Heineken and Axel Mazella proved unbeatable, while Ken Adgate and Arthur Mathieu took third positions respectively! Congrats all, and the Flux hype continues to build it seems.
Official Ozone Flux V1 public release coming early June… No one wants to get left behind! #madeforthis