Johanne DEFAY

France FRA

Surfing

  • First Olympic Games
    Tokyo 2020
  • Year of Birth
    1993
Olympic Results

Biography

Johanne DEFAY

Is it thanks to her father that Réunionnaise Johanne Defay is surfing today.

Born far inland in France's mountainous Auvergne region, Defay began surfing on the overseas island of Réunion, where she now lives. Her father, a keen catcher of waves, wanted his daughter to follow in his footsteps out into the ocean. She initially showed reluctance, so he patiently waited until she had turned eight and when he tried his luck again she obliged.

Once Defay began competing from the age of 10, things quickly accelerated for the young surfer. After outgrowing the competitions on Reunion Island, Defay moved back to France to uncover what other rivals might be capable of. By 14 she surged above the rest and was selected for the French national team. A year later, she won her first Junior European Champion Title (the youngest to win at the time) and participated in her first World Championship.

Defay’s journey to the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) was littered with struggles. At the time the regular-footed surfer was trying to progress through the Qualifying Series, her sponsors dropped her, leaving her in grave doubt as to whether she could continue. With the support of her parents and fellow French surfer Jeremy Flores, Defay finally made it to the elite league in 2014, three years after beginning her qualification grind.

So far, the world championship title has alluded the French surfer, but that does mean to say she is not consistent. Defay has four CT wins to her name, and at the back end of 2018 and 2016, Defay bagged top-five overall finishes.

France's backhand surfer had a career year on the 2021 CT. On the four-stop Australia leg of the tour the 27-year-old made three quarter-final appearances and came in as a runner-up. At the end of June, Defay leap-frogged into second place in the tour rankings after winning the Jeep Surf Ranch Pro. She finished 9th in Tokyo, losing out to Yolanda Hopkins of Portugal in the heats.

Olympic Results

More results
Olympic Results
Results Event Sport

Tokyo 2020

#=9
Women
Women Surfing