As the 2018 edition of the Defi-Wind is approaching, our Black Sheep Team picked Andrea Cucchi´s brain for info on how it was when he won the Defi Wind back in 2014 and what his plans are for this years edition. Rumors are he´s considering competing on our AC-K or AC-X free race sails. Check out the interview here below:
Andrea, now it´s out. The winner of the DEFI 2014 will enter the Defi 2018 again. We are excited! How did this decision come about?
I was planning to go to PWA for the events of Japan and Korea, but during the event in Korea, I need in the same dates to be in Sri Lanka for checking out the new production sails. So I had to miss out Korea, and at that point, it made more sense to go to where the most slalom sailors will be the week before I need to be in Sri Lanka: Defi Wind!
There are big windsurf events at the same time, PWA in Japan and then Korea, the Defi in Gruissan and the Surffestival in Germany. Why did you choose the defi?
It was hard to choose. Each event has it’s magic. I won the Defiwind once, in one beautiful edition with 7 races, so I felt this was done already. For the PWA I was feeling fit, and was happy to support my team, and visit my distributors in those areas. Surfestival… it’s another great chance to meet with our German windsurfing clients. It’s not an easy choice, but because I like competing, and Defi was fitting better with schedule, I went for that.
You have trained hard the last months. Was that already looking at the Defi?
No, not at all. I was just getting fit to look better on the Point-7 photoshoot for next year sails. No, kidding! I like to keep fit, to be fast everyday on the water. It’s probably my most motivating fact. I like when I meet fast people on the water, and just try to be the fastest on our Black Sails. Racing is only few days a year, and if you do good it’s the ice ring on the cake. Training for Defi is very different from normal slalom training. So to say the truth.. I did not train for Defi. I will go there and suffer like everyone else.
What´s your aim when you go out in Gruissan?
When you enter a competition is to win. If you have any excuse not to do that, it’s because you don’t want to win. Defiwind is also about fun, so winning is the aim, but to have fun and to feel the vibe of windsurfing that Defi is able to give it’s unique. So everyone can aim at different goals. We will be present also with the Point-7 stand.
We assume that you will be in the top riders again with your AC-ONE. But the Point-7 slalom sails are equally all the same fast. Could you imagine to compete one race with an AC-K or even with an AC-X in very strong conditions? That would be the bang!
Defi wind is about being comfortable. So having less power on the gear, in the same conditions we are used to, is the goal to be able to do 10km in the same direction without exploding. I’ve proved in some videos that the AC-X and AC-K have the same speed as the AC-One. The racing sail has more acceleration and power to get you out of critical situation, and a higher average speed if there are big holes of wind. My dream is to compete one year PWA with the no cam sails. I know that for the light wind PWA races a no cam will have a more difficult time if the wind is on the limit from planning and not. So for example a light wind race with 9.0 could be difficult. When the wind would be more than constant, with over 12-13 knots, I believe the sail will be highly competitive. We have proved this in a video. You are now motivating me to compete Defiwind on a no cam sail, ……and see what would be the result. I’ve won Defi once, so I could go for my next challenge at Defi. What do you guys say?
Do you already exactly know which gear you will use in which conditions?
I never really train in the conditions we can find at Defiwind, but from experience I know, that it’s better not to go too big with the gear. Better to be at 90% for 100% of the race, than to be 110% for 30% of the race. For Defi you could develop and trim your gear exactly for those conditions. Locals, like in every spot, have big advantages, but this is no excuse to go there and not to push it. I know that I need to put shorter harness lines, mast foot more forward, harness lines more forward, tighten my straps more…so depower my slalom gear. I will try to borrow a smaller board than my 90 board, which is normally my smallest, but in Defi, it’s not small enough.
What´s about your personal preparation right before the race? Tunnel vision?
I did not train specifically for Defi as I was not sure of my plan till last week. You can do long resistance training for the legs, as those are the once who suffer most during the event. I’ve race biked and windsurf between work, so I hope it will be enough to have the resistance to close the gap with power the whole 40kms.
What is the greatest challenge in your opinion when someone participates at the Defi?
Depend on the goals. For some can be even to find the time, run away from work, to join this amazing event. For some can be to even make it to the starting line in time. For some going to the first mark, for some to complete the race. For some is to be top 500, for some top 50 etc… The greatest challenge is to go out with the right gear… If you go to arrogant and take a sail which is too big…you will suffer! The biggest defeat is not to have fun.
Maybe the one or the other is still considering to participate in the Defi. What do you want to tell them?
It’s an experience to have in all windsurfers portfolio. It’s the hardest race on planet for your body, but it’s just like the ironman for windsurfers… Not everywhere you can feel such a strong windsurfing atmosphere. Join and enjoy.
Thank you very much Andrea for those words. We are very curious about which material you will compete with. But mainly: Have fun and good luck from all your Black Sheep! You are the One! Rock the Defi!