KITEFOIL AROUND FRANCE – Matthieu Girolet
Watch the movie about this world first, the kitefoil around France
→ 24 stages from Dunkerque to Nice | 2401 km|1296,5Nm | 36 days.
The movie relate in its entirety the remarkable performance of mathieufrom the birth of the project till the achievement. Sharing the experience, the emotions, the day to day living of the team this is a movie about a human story
Starring : Matthieu Girolet, Team: Linares Romaric Christophe Rousseau Guy Mercadier Cedric Haricot
Direction : The Apertures (http://www.theapertures.net) Cameramans : Arnaud Mps Raphael Sauze Drone : Raphael Sauze Kohala Clement Puig
Production : La compagnie des mers du sud Support by : Entreprendre Lafontpressetv Club nautique du Pradet la Garonne Creps de Montpellier STORM Kitesurfing Ketos Foil.
You have done world premiere with a tour de France on a strapless kitefoil. Big up for this 2400 km adventure from Dunkerque in the Channel to Nice on the Mediterranean Coast. Could you introduce you ?
Hi, I’m 45 and father of a boy. After law school and a first career in banking, I came back to my sailing passion and spent the last 12 years sailing, mostly offshore solo handed races.
I started kiting few years ago and kitefoiling about two years ago with this long distance project in mind.
We can easily imagine that it was a thorough organization. Tell us more about the supervision of such a long trip.
Well, I started the prep about one year before, Training specifically on and out of the water, planning things, working on weather forecast, recruiting crew. I also had incredible chance of getting full support from Lafont Presse since the beginning of this adventure.
You have a solid background in yachting, what is your prize list, so far this year ? How these experiences have helped you to take up this challenge ?
I sail since my young age and was lucky to compete in great classes like 6.50 and Figaro circuit with consistent results. All of this gave me the needed abilities in both sailing, weather forecasting and project management for this project wich is quite more a sailing project with a kitefoil than a kiting thing.
About the meteo and sailing conditions, in which part of the trip was it more difficult ? Atlantic, Mediterranea ? By the way should I say trip or race ?
We had planned to start from Dunkerque just after the big tides of May, not too soon in the Atlantic spring and not too late for Mediterranean thermic breezes. The idea also was to have the 3 weeks before the next big tides to get out of the Brittany difficulties.
This spring weather didn’t obviously helped us in this part of the journey with lot of thunderstorms and quite unusual conditions. But we managed to get through it and that was a very interesting « cat and mouse » game with the elements.
Then we had good stages, joining Brest to Bordeaux latitude in 4 days with some more than a hundred Nautical miles daily rides.
Then I kited to the Spanish border and crossed by van to the Mediterranea, which as usual was tricky with strong winds and small breezes…
We can’t say it was a race but the goal was clearly to sail as fast as possible, making the most of the weather conditions and drawing the nicest line on the map.
Now you have done the groundwork, is this kind of challenge could be done in the future by competitors on the same model as the Tour de France à la voile, race between several crews on a monotype Diam 24 (7 meters trimaran) ?
The challenge could be really interesting but it would face many safety issues to have a whole kitefoil flet offshore. You can see that the new Tour de France formula with the Diam24 doesn’t go offshore any more and stays closer to the shore and the public.
But the knowledge we now have is certainly giving us new ideas.
Let’s have wild thoughts, if we imagine to cross the Atlantique in a kitefoil race, what would be the main obstacles to this challenge ?
That would be huge! And the biggest issues would certainly be safety again, and funding, obviously.
You choose to ride strapless around France on a Ketos foil, why and what was your gear set up ? Who are your other sponsors ?
The main goal was not to sail 30 knots for minutes but comfortably around 20 knots for hours ( up to 8 hours some days), so comfort was my priority and that’s why I chose to ride strapless.
Ketos foils were an obvious choice of quality and durability and we had zero issue during the whole trip with these.
I also chose inflatable kites which were the good choice for this long journey with launchings from the rib, changing weathers, many way overpowered rides and some solo landings on rocks. My Storm kites appeared to be perfect for this.
I was also helped by the Creps de Montpellier which opened it’s training facilities to me, the CNPG my long term yacht club. And, once again, the enthusiastic support from Entreprendre-Lafont Presse media group.
Your adventure was daily filmed by The Apertures Production, when will the movie come out ?
The movie will be released on social networks around Christmas and on TV in 2019.
A project for 2019 from your bucket list ?
Yes, many projects with the same great team. We’re working on them and I Hope to be able to tell you more about them soon.
Anything to add ?
This whole kitefoil around France project was such a great experience that I feel deeply grateful to life, my team and partners for it.
Long distance kitefoil is such a great game. Hope you’ll come play with us.
Thank you Matthieu, we’ll be with you at the line-up !