The tiny French Caribbean island of St Barth is making quite a name for itself in the nautical world. And one of the events to keep an eye on is the annual Saint Barth Fun Cup, a windsurfing competition that draws a handful of top pros as well as serious amateurs. Held January 28th to 31st, the 2016 Saint Barth Fun Cup was no exception, with top professionals like Antoine Questel, Pierre Mortefon, and Alexandre Cousin placing first, second, and third, respectively.
Delphine Cousin, Maëlle Guilbaud and Marion Mortefon were the top female competitors.
The only thing missing this year was the wind. It was so light that races could only be held on two days, limiting the event. Conditions were best on Thursday January 28th, with winds averaging 15 knots and the first race got underway by 9am. Race director Anthony Rigaut had already laid out the itinerary for 53 competitors who faced choppy, challenging seas.
In the first race, French champion and island native Antoine Questel beat Pierre Mortefon and Alexandre Cousin. In the next race, which was modified due to a sharp decrease in wind, it was once again man-to-man between Questel and Mortefon. But it was Mortefon, the 2015 world slalom vice-champion and a regular at the Saint-Barth Fun Cup (this was his fifth time at the event) who led the way to victory. Questel was second with third place going to Tristan Algret. After these first two races, the organizers brought the windsurfers back to the beach for lunch and a well-deserved rest.
The battle continued between Mortefon and Questel in the third race of the day, which kicked off around 3pm with winds again at 15 knots. Questel took the lead and did not allow anyone to pass him, taking his second victory of the day. Still on the heels of our St. Barth rider, Mortefon and Algret competed for second place. Algret had the last word, even though he fell after crossing the finish line.
On Friday morning, gusty winds and rain showers made it difficult for the race director to get the races started. For a few hours, the windsurfers were cooling their heels on standby. Finally, two races were launched but they didn’t last long. After passing the second buoy, the race director was forced to cancel each of these races. On Saturday, a light breeze allowed the kids class to enjoy three races, while the adults remained stranded on the beach once again.
The awards ceremony took place on Sunday on the beach in Saint Jean, with Nils Dufau president of the Saint Barth Territorial Tourism Committee, various sponsors, the race organizers, the competitors, and a large crowd to cheer on the winners!
Ellen Lampert-Gréaux lives in Saint Barthélemy where she is editor-in-chief of Harbour Magazine.