We had the chance to interview Marion Mortefon live from the Canaries. PWA world champion in foil and vice world champion in slalom 2021, discover more about her career.

🎥 To see the replay of the interview: video interview of Marion Mortefon

“Today, I’m happy with my journey and where I’ve arrived.”

Athlete file Marion Mortefon

Marion Mortefon, a champion’s destiny

Hello Marion, can you tell us more about your discipline?

Hello ! Yes, this year I am world champion in foil and vice world champion in windsurf slalom. While in slalom windsurfing we have a basic fin, in foil windsurfing we add an “appendix” under the board.

In competitions, we are divided into groups of 8 or 10. We have several rounds to qualify for the final. In each round, the top four qualify for the next round, much like boardercross skiing. At the end of the week, we have an average of the different stages completed.

How did you get your passion for water sports and how did you become a top level windsurfer?

I started sailing with optimist in a small family club in the south of France between Narbonne and Leucate: Port Mahon Sigean. It’s not a family sport, but living in the south, in a windy area, naturally led me and my brothers to it. Quickly, at the age of 10, I started windsurfing because the club had many windsurfers. Since then, I have never stopped, and I practice with my family!

What is the life of a top level windsurfing athlete like? (Time spent training, travel…)

Entraînement windsurf aux îles canaries pour Marion Mortefon
Training in the Canary Islands.

What is the life of a top level windsurfing athlete like? (Time spent training, travel…)

As a top level windsurfer, I spend a lot of time traveling to train. Generally, in winter we try to go to places where the weather is better than in France. Now I’m lucky to be able to travel to train in good conditions, whereas before I used to train in the winter in the cold…

Before the Covid-19, we used to train during the winter period from January to the end of March before the season started in April until November.

After 2 difficult years for riders, how did you handle the pandemic?  

Last season (2019/2020) was very complicated for everyone with the two months of containment. I continued to train physically and then we had some competitions but only national ones. All the world cups were cancelled.

So it was a difficult year! I had finished my 2019 season well, I was happy and this pandemic cut me off in my momentum but I still continued to sail. I also kept myself busy in other ways by creating a club and offering courses.

This year, things have picked up again with the French Championship and the World Cups, even if it is not yet a normal season. So we hope that 2022 will be better!

Marion et Pierre Mortefon lors de l'étape à Nouméa en 2019.
World Cup – Nouméa 2019

It’s even stronger because windsurfing is a family story since your brother was world champion in wingfoil, how do you both live this passion?

My older brother started before me, he was also very competitive. He is the one who trained me and my little brother. We spent a lot of time together, exchanging a lot of information. Nowadays, we can’t sail together too much because there is too much difference in speed between the boys and the girls. We still manage to exchange on the equipment because we have the same sponsors. Indeed, it is very enriching to be able to live this experience as a family, it is very important.

He must also give you some keys because he was world champion when he was young, he had an important role in your progression to the top level and in your career?

Yes it helps, but we are quite different and we did not have the same career paths. When I studied to become an engineer, it took me a little longer to devote myself entirely to my sport. My progress was slower because it was difficult to juggle several things at the same time. Today, I am happy with my path and where I have arrived.

A family passion at the origin of an itinerant surfing club: the Mortefon Watersports!

You have created a club with your brother Pierre, the “MORTEFON WATERSPORTS”, which is referenced on the SPOTYRIDE platform, can you tell us about it ?

Club itinérant Mortefon Watersports

We had this idea for a long time, so we both graduated to be able to coach. During the two months of confinement in 2020, we thought about it and we set up the structure which is called: “Mortefon Watersports“. 

We are an itinerant structure; we go around the spots according to the weather, the level and the desires of the people to answer correctly to their expectations. It is possible to come and do windsurfing and wing which is also a superb discipline.

The wing is one of the fashionable disciplines, a lot of people start to do it. Finally the wing, comes to federate all the riders?

Wing is an accessible discipline, I enjoy doing it on the side, but I’m not ready to stop windsurfing.

How is the coaching at Mortefon Watersports going with your career ?

Right now, I juggle the competition and training schedule to do some coaching when we have free time. In February, I’m going to organize a week of coaching in Tenerife in the Canaries which is a nice place to sail. Last year, we already did it at the lake of Serre-Ponçon and I keep a great memory of it.

We want to be an itinerant structure, but not only in the south of France between Leucate, Gruissan, La Palme and Narbonne. Coaching weeks abroad, in places that are familiar to us, will be offered to expatriate.

Localisation Mortefon Watersports
Localisation Mortefon Watersports

What do you like most about coaching?

I would say that the feedback from people at the end of the sessions is the most rewarding. Knowing that they are happy to have learned new things, to have progressed and to have had fun. To be able to pass on all my knowledge is really a chance.

Generally speaking, what is the level of the people you coach? (beginners, intermediates, competitors …)

Most of them are people who are already sailing. We come to bring them our knowledge to make them progress. On the other hand, I also have beginners who come for coaching without really knowing us and it’s another approach which is just as nice.

Are there any surfers who ask to be coached in wingsurf foil ?

Yes, as we are specialists, we give a lot of wingsurf foil lessons. Personally, I love foiling, it’s really cool.

Our champion is sailing towards the Olympic dream

In relation to the Olympic Games in Paris 2024, will there be the integration of foil?

There will be foil in 2024 for the Paris Olympics but it is different from the World Cup circuit that I usually do. At the Games, in the iQfoil discipline, everyone will have the same equipment and there will be only one boy and one girl representative for each nation. Especially for this occasion, I practice this event in addition to the slalom that I do in World Cup.

The cliffs of Los Gigantes – Tenerife

Marion, can you tell us about your future projects and goals?

The goal is to be world champion again next season in slalom. Unlike this year where slalom and foil were separated, next year it will be combined. This winter, the challenge will be to continue to progress in foil. My goal is also to continue training in iQfoil for the 2024 Olympic Games.

On the side of our structure Mortefon Watersports, we have the project to launch several coaching in new destinations.

What is the difference between wingfoil and iQfoil?

They are two complementary disciplines because in iQfoil there is a slalom part. On the other hand, during the world cup circuits, we all have different equipment whereas in iQfoil, everyone has the same equipment. In the end, the two are not incompatible.

What do you have planned for the next few weeks?

After the end of the World Cup at the end of November, I took a week’s vacation in Tenerife in the Canaries before enjoying my family and friends for the holidays. I continue my physical preparation to start the year on a good basis. During the month of January, I will be in Brittany and then I plan to return to Tenerife before starting the season at the end of March, beginning of April.

The schedule is not totally defined because with the Covid-19 catching up with us, plans can still change; we must continue to be flexible.

Are there many people sailing in Tenerife at the moment despite the pandemic?

Yes, many people are sailing because it is a very accessible destination without too many constraints to come.

Do you want to add anything to conclude this interview, any thanks?

Regarding the iQfoil project, Olympic discipline for Paris 2024, I am supported by the Banque Populaire du Sud which is in connection with the Occitanie sailing league so I would like to thank them.

I am also supported by a company that works in renewable energy, Qair. Independent producer of renewable electricity, they are currently working on a project in Gruissan. In the same way, they are people who help me since the beginning. The Gruissan project is all the more important to me because it corresponds totally to what I do.

To follow the news of Marion Mortefon : 

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