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Björn Dunkerbeck Hits World-First Windsurf Top Speed of 103.67kph

23rd November 2021
The 52-year-old Dutchman in action in Namibia
Record breaker - The 52-year-old Dutchman, Björn Dunkerbeck, in action in Namibia

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 Team

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