About Johanne Defay
Watch Johanne Defay next at the Corona Open Mexico presented by Quiksilver August 10-19.
Johanne Defay remains an unheralded hero of the Women’s Championship Tour, but with her qualification to represent France at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games, that could all soon change.
Since joining the elite ranks in 2014 she’s been a leading crusader in the push for more progressive surfing. While her big Championship Tour victories at the Vans US Open in 2015, Fiji in 2016, Uluwatu CT in 2018, and Surf Ranch in 2021 speak volumes to her threat level, her larger influence on the rest of the women’s field comes in the form of single explosive moves, like the inverted nose-pick reverse she pulled at the Roxy Pro in 2016.
Defay is dangerous in any condition thanks to her big bag of tricks and her mastery of surfing’s figure-eight fundamentals. She formulated her style at home on Reunion Island, a tiny green speck in the middle of the Indian Ocean between Madagascar and Mauritius. Her path to the pros, however, went through her birthplace in France, where she led her country to its first World Amateur Title.
Her road through the Qualifying Series was tougher. Sponsors were in short supply at the time, but Johanne’s family and fellow Reunion Island surfer Jeremy Flores, a longtime believer in her, kept her going. She finally made the grade in 2013, after three long years of grinding on the QS. Her success is even more remarkable given surfing has been banned on Reunion Island since 2013 due to the threat of sharks. While she certainly had down moments, Johanne’s sunny disposition never wavered.
Defay won the Qualifying Series in 2017 after taking two wins and has finished in the Top 10 every year on the Championship Tour since qualifying. Her No. 5 finishes in 2016 and 2018 are proof she has the tools to make a Title run. In 2021 she moved to World No. 2 after a win at the Surf Ranch Pro and would take that form into the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Women's CT 2021#2
Avg. heat score12.72
|Roxy Pro Gold Coast||9th||3,085||Keely Andrew|
|Rip Curl Women's Pro Bells Beach||5th||4,745||Caroline Marks|
|Oi Rio Women's Pro||9th||3,085||Silvana Lima|
|Corona Bali Protected - Women's||13th||1,390||Sally Fitzgibbons|
|Uluwatu CT - Women's||1st||10,000||None|
|Corona Open J-Bay - Women's||5th||4,745||Lakey Peterson|
|Vans US Open of Surfing - Women's CT||5th||4,745||Stephanie Gilmore|
|Surf Ranch Pro||5th||4,745||Carissa Moore|
|Roxy Pro France||5th||4,745||Courtney Conlogue|
|Beachwaver Maui Pro||5th||4,745||Stephanie Gilmore|
|Year||Rank||Points||Events||Heats||Max heat score||Best result|
First season2009 Women's QS
Age27 Nov 19, 1993
Height5 ft, 6 in 167 cm
Weight134 lbs 61 kg
HometownReunion Island, France