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Displaying items by tag: windsurfing

Björn Dunkerbeck added another accolade to his legendary windsurfing career by posting the fastest ever time on the water with a top speed of 103.67kph during the Lüderitz Speed Challenge in Namibia.

Ever since French windsurfer Antoine Albeau broke the 50-knot barrier, Dunkerbeck has been on the hunt for 100kph after a career that started in 1986 and has featured over 100 Professional Windsurfing Association (PWA) titles and numerous PWA Wave World Championship crowns.

Dunkerbeck's first speed record is now almost 30-years-old when he hit 43.30 knots (80.1kph) in 1992 however - as the technology to measure speed and windsurfing equipment evolved - he kept chasing the next milestone, which led him to what may be the last big one: 100kph.

The 52-year-old Dutchman knew that hitting such insane speeds on the water requires an incredible amount of skill, experience and intimate knowledge of your equipment but, ultimately, it's the perfect spot and wind conditions that would make this record-breaking run possible.

Björn DunkerbeckBjörn Dunkerbeck seen at 2021 Bora Challenge, Trieste, Italy, September 30, 2021

On Thursday, November 18, in Namibia, Dunkerbeck broke that speed barrier, hitting 103.67kph over a two-second time gap and holding an average speed of 101kph over a 100m stretch of water.

The site of the record, Lüderitz, has become famous for 'The Ditch' – a 500m long canal where the water stays flat even when the wind howls – making it the perfect place as long as you don't crash.

He explained: "No crashes. I try not to crash at that speed because if you do, your day is over."

While he had fast runs over the last three weeks, he knew he needed the perfect day to break 100kph with consistent gusts of strong wind finally allowing him to break 100kph at least five times.

After five years of attempts and months waiting around the barren, wind-blasted sands of Namibia, Dunkerbeck revealed: "We had quite a few days of wind around 35-38 knots, so the equipment was feeling really dialled. I was on a 40cm-wide AVBoard speed windsurf board, with a 19cm fin and a 5.5 Severne Mach 4 Lüderitz Speed Challenge LT sail – it all had to work perfectly to hit top speed!"

Despite his age, Dunkerbeck is fired up and now wants to maintain 100kph for over 500 metres and you wouldn't bet against him doing it.

Published in Surfing

The fourth edition of the 'Mayo Mayhem' Windsurfing Wave Competition was run successfully on the weekend of September 24th to 26th in Belmullet on Ireland's famous Wild Atlantic Way

This year's event was very special as the 2020 event was cancelled due to Covid. It had been two long years since the windsurfing community got together to compete. Full lockdowns and travel restrictions had kept windsurfing competitions off the calendar in Ireland all of last year.

This year's competition was held at the beautiful remote Drum beach on the Belmullet Peninsula Co Mayo. The new location and the third different spot in four years proving that the mobile location model works, with the event just an hour's drive from the main base in Achill.

Drum Beach was chosen as the forecast was showing side shore winds with mid-size waves. The location had easy access and enough parking for the full fleet and with great visibility for everyone to see all the action.

Mayo Mayhem Windsurfing Wave Competition had excellent, side to side onshore winds allowing most people to use 4.7 to 5.2 sails and waves maxing out at two metres

The conditions for the competition were excellent, side to side onshore winds allowing most people to use 4.7 to 5.2 sails and waves maxing out at two metres, big enough for the pros yet not too challenging for the amateur fleet.

With the added bonus of a full day of sun and dry 16 degrees temperature made for perfect conditions for the competition. A fleet of forty windsurfers competed at Mayo Mayhem 2021 with competitors coming from
various parts of Europe including Italy, France, England, Wales, Scotland as well as from all over Ireland.

Next year's event will be held on the weekend starting Friday, September 30th 2022. A rollover will take place on the following weekend in the event of not having contestable conditions.

Published in Racing
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An entry of thirteen on Saturday 23rd October was certainly not an unlucky number for Ballyholme Yacht Club's first windsurfing event, the Open Ulster Championship, as the Irish Windsurfing Association intends to include this as a ranked event in the calendar next October.

Racing for four classes was scheduled Gold, Silver, Bronze and Youth. The overall winner was Hannes Louet-Feisser who had made the long haul from Limerick (one of several who travelled considerable distances to be there).

He counted six first places and two seconds with Martin Pelican runner up with one first, four seconds and a third. First in the Silver fleet was Barry Murphy with local Andrew Gallagher second.

Barry Murphy, First Silver fleet Ulster Windsurfing Championships with BYC Commodore Aidan Pounder Photo: Catherine GunningBarry Murphy (right) first in the Silver Fleet of the Ulster Windsurfing Championships with BYC Commodore Aidan Pounder Photo: Catherine Gunning

Winds were offshore, with strong gusts and a flat sea and the fleet launched from Ballymacormick Beach on the east side of Ballyholme Bay. The club had the use of some of the car parks for the event where there was the registration gazebo and an RYA NI information tent as well as the regular coffee trailer.

Andrew Gallagher runner up in the Silver Fleet of the Ulster Windsurfing ChampionshipsAndrew Gallagher runner up in the Silver Fleet of the Ulster Windsurfing Championships

Commodore Aidan Pounder who organised the Championships was delighted with the event. "Ballyholme had about 30 people in the support team covering two Committee Boats, safety boats, overseeing the car park, and back at the Clubhouse - a mid-afternoon Barbecue. We are pleased with the compliments from the Irish Windsurfing Association and from the competitors and are delighted that this will be a ranked championship event next year".

Martin Pelican runner up in the Gold fleet of the Ulster Windsurfing ChampionshipsMartin Pelican runner up in the Gold fleet of the Ulster Windsurfing Championships

And Richard Honeyford, Chief Operating Officer of RYANI was one of the Competitors; "Ballyholme Yacht Club provided a great welcome for competitors for the Ulster Windsurf Championships. Despite some shifty conditions, well laid (and adjusted) courses allowed for eight races. Thank you to Aidan Pounder and the whole BYC team for putting it together, from set up, shore support, racing and safety. Thanks also to Ards and North Down Borough Council for their support. Everyone appreciated the effort to get good racing in."

Ballymacormick Beach on the eastern side of Ballyholme Bay on Belfast Lough will see next Saturday (23rd), the first-ever windsurfing event hosted by Ballyholme Yacht Club when the Ulster Championships competitors will take to the water.

There will be eleven races for three fleets – Gold, Silver and Bronze/Novice, in six subdivisions from Junior to Super Veteran.

The Club will have exclusive use of the Banks Car Park off Groomsport Road, and the welcome and briefing is scheduled for 1000 at that location.

The NOR is downloadable here 

Entries should be made in advance through the BYC website, and online pre-entry closes at 1200 on Thursday 21st October 2021.

BYC Commodore Aidan Pounder is enthusiastic about the event; "We have had great support from the Irish Windsurfing Association, and it is hoped that in 2022 we can host an IWA ranked event. The Club looks forward to welcoming windsurfers from all over Ireland to the Bay next Saturday".

Published in Belfast Lough

The 2021 Kona windsurfing national championships were hosted by Malahide Yacht Club on Sunday, 5th September. Under the direction of race officer Niall Gallagher of MYC, the sailors enjoyed a windward-leeward course in a 10 to 15 knot south easterly on Malahide estuary.

In the final race, Joe Galeckas of MYC dominated to gain victory over RStGYC sailor and 2020 titleholder Robbie Walker.

Fellow RStGYC sailor, Des Gibney, earned a well-deserved 3rd place whilst Damien Dion of NYC placed 4th overall and Miha Rothl came in 5th. The youth category was won by Mika Sacolax, who placed 11th overall.

After 4 races and going into the final race of the day, Walker and Galeckas were on equal points, and the title was up for grabs. A good start and excellent windward beat put Galeckas in a commanding position, and he was able to hold his lead and claim victory.

This is the 9th Year that the National Kona Windsurfing championships have been staged, with the winners receiving the Alan Harris memorial trophy. MYC sailors have dominated the event with 6 winners in the last 9 years. More recently, RSGYC sailors have challenged the MYC stronghold, winning the trophy on 3 occasions.

The sailors extend their thanks and congratulations to MYC for hosting an excellent event and to Surfdock for their generous sponsorship.

A group of the Kona windsurfers on a windward leg in 15 to 20 knot south easterly breeze on Malahide EstuaryA group of the Kona windsurfers on a windward leg in 15 to 20-knot south-easterly breeze on Malahide Estuary 

Roy Guinan is in the foreground. The Kona Fleet on a leeward leg of the national championships hosted by MYC. 

 Des Gibney of the RSGYC, with sail number 2677 finished 3rd overall in the Kona National Championships.Des Gibney of the RSGYC, with sail number 2677, finished 3rd overall in the Kona National Championships.

The fleet were challenged with shifty wind conditions at the top mark, close to Malahide villageThe fleet was challenged with shifty wind conditions at the top mark, close to Malahide village. 

David Jullo of the NYC placed 8th overall, participating in the event for the second timeDavid Jullo of the NYC placed 8th overall, participating in the event for the second time.

Winner, Joe Galeckas of the MYC, cruising to victory in the 5th race of the dayWinner Joe Galeckas of the MYC, cruising to victory in the 5th race of the day

Published in Malahide YC

This Sunday, 5th September sees the return of the Kona Windsurfing class to contest their national championships on the Malahide estuary in County Dublin.

The class has over 20 members in Ireland and is unique in that sailors of all ages and weights compete on the same course. Each weight category has a different sized sail to compensate for weight so that all competitors have equal speed. Unlike with Olympic classes, the Kona doesn't allow pumping which means racing is more about strategy and skill, and less about strength. This event is in its ninth year with racing normally held on a classic windward-leeward course.

Current national champion, Robbie Walker of RSGYC is expected to face stiff competition from Joe Galeckas of MYC who won the championships in 2019. Also vying for podium finishes this year will be Cormac O'Brien and Andrew Christofides, both of Malahide Yacht club who both previously held the title. Another favourite for this year's title is Des Gibney, of RSGYC who has narrowly missed out in previous years but has recently shown strong performance on his home waters of Dun Laoghaire.

Charter equipment is still available, and entries don't close until midnight on Wednesday 1st September. Further information on the event and entries can be found on the MYC website.

Published in Malahide YC
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After a successful 2020 event in late October last year, a fleet of 38 women and 69 men for a total of 107 windsurfers gathered on Lake Garda for the 2021 iQFOiL International Games hosted by Univela Sailing in Campione del Garda. 20 nations are represented here despite the still standing international travel restrictions.

This new one-design windsurfing class will be raced at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

Racing on Day One started around noon as the typical local thermic breeze from the South filled in to reach about 12-15 knots. The first to hit the water were the men with three flawless slalom races, followed by the women who had to face a major wind drop and could only finish two races.

The provisional ranking at the end of Day One is a French affair, they occupy all top three spots in the Men. Nicholas Goyard won all of three matches, followed by Clement Burgeois and Adrien Mestre. The defending champion Sebastian Koerdel (GER) closed the day in the fifth position with a win in the last race and a ‘dive’ in the first one.

“We had some strong wind slalom races today, and I have to admit I was a bit rusty, and in the first race I fell into the water and had to swim a bit, but then the next two races were better with a 5 and 1, so overall not a dominant performance but I am getting there. The last race was a win and I plan on continuing like that” said the German 2020 iQFOiL International Games winner, Sebastian Koerdel.

Two French sailers within the best three also in the Women fleet, outstripped by one of the only two female British boarders here, Islay Watson. Delphine Cousin capped the day in second place and fellow countrywoman Lucie Belbeoch in third.

Among the athletes coming from far away Sarah Quita Offringa, from Aruba, today tasted the still winterish cold water and cool breeze.. “It was the first day of the event and we had two good windy slaloms, I thought it was cool to start in the line with 20 women and it was exhilarating, I didn’t do too great but it was definitely a good learning experience. One of the biggest challenges was the temperature for me, I’m from the Caribbean and in Aruba when the sun is shining is 30 degrees, and I went out at first in my sleeveless wetsuit, then went back inside and wore the thick one, but no more races for the day.”

Tomorrow’s conditions won’t be as sunny with potential rain in the afternoon, and the Race Committee opted for a morning start, with the ladies going out first at 10 am and the boys following them at 10,30.

Tagged under

Kilkeel RNLI launched to the rescue a windsurfer who got into difficulty off Cranfield Point on Saturday (14 November).

The volunteer crew set out on their inshore lifeboat at 3.25pm on Saturday as part of a multi-agency tasking that also involved Kilkeel Coastguard, Greenore Coast Guard and the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 116 from Dublin.

Onshore, Kilkeel Coastguard had spotted the sail of the windsurfer just north of Carlingford Lough’s shipping channel and directed lifeboat helm Gerry Smyth towards the casualty, who had been one of a group of eight.

The other seven members of the group had made it safely to shore. In Force 5-6 winds and in a moderate sea, the casualty and his gear were taken onboard.

The exhausted casualty was checked by the lifeboat crew for injury, water inhalation and the effects of the cold conditions. He was then made comfortable and brought safely ashore. The lifeboat returned at 4.15pm where the grateful surfer was met by Kilkeel Coastguard.

Speaking following the callout, Kilkeel’s lifeboat operations manager John Fisher said: “The crew did everything in a thoroughly professional manner and we would like to wish the casualty well.

“Because of Covid-19, the crew have been restricted in their training exercises but this afternoon they demonstrated their skills with this rescue also highlighting how well multiple agencies work together.”

The crew readied to launch for a second time over the weekend at 2.15pm yesterday (Sunday 15 November) following a call that an EPIRB had been activated.

However, after an extensive local onshore search it was found that the EPIRB was faulty and was located in a boat owner’s garage.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Courtmacsherry RNLI’s lifeboat volunteers were called out at 3.50pm yesterday afternoon (Saturday 20 June) to go to the aid of a lone windsurfer who had got into difficulty just offshore of Harbour View in Courtmacsherry Bay.

The alarm was raised by concerned persons on shore that the surfer was unable to return to his base as the winds were escalating.

While the winds were beginning to blow a gale off the South West Coast, both the Trent class lifeboat and the station’s inshore lifeboat were launched under coxswain Mark Gannon and a combined crew of nine volunteers.

After conducting a thorough search of the coastline from Burren Pier to Coolmain Strand, the windsurfer was finally located as he got ashore by himself downstream of Harbour View. The crew of the inshore lifeboat approached to confrm his status and found he was tired but uninjured.

Lifeboat operations manager Brian O’Dwyer thanked all the lifeboat crew members for the quick response and carrying out the search operation in a very professional fashion.

He reiterated that it is always best to raise the alarm quickly in the event of a difficulty being spotted from shore by dialling 999 or 112 and asking specifically for the coastguard.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Baltimore RNLI launched yesterday afternoon (Wednesday 17 July) to rescue a windsurfer who got into difficulty in Baltimore Harbour in West Cork.

The inshore lifeboat launched at 2.01pm after a member of the public alerted the Irish Coast Guard that a windsurfer was being blown against the shoreline at Reengarogy.

With four volunteer crew aboard — helm Kieran Collins and crew members Micheal Cottrell, David Ryan and Ian Lynch — the lifeboat arrived on scene two minutes later to find the casualty in the water, swimming hard to keep clear of the rocks.

The casualty was brought aboard the lifeboat, along with his board, and once satisfied that he was unharmed, the crew took him back to the beach in Baltimore he had originally set out from.

While the inshore lifeboat crew were dealing with their casualty on the shoreline, instructors from Baltimore Sailing Club went to the assistance of another windsurfer who was in difficulty in the middle of the harbour and brought them safely to shore.

Weather conditions at the time of the call were blustery with a south-westerly Force 5 wind and sloppy sea.

Speaking following the callout, Baltimore lifeboat press officer Kate Callanan said: “This was a particularly fast response as the inshore lifeboat was on scene with the casualty within seven minutes of the lifeboat pagers going off.

“Thankfully a member of the public had spotted the danger that the windsurfer was in and did the correct thing in alerting the coastguard.

“If you see anyone that you think is in difficulty on the water or along the coast, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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