As we know,the current world speed record on water is held by kitesurfer Rob Douglas who broke Sebastien Cattelan’s already impressive record with an astonishing 55.65 knots (103.06 km/h) at the Luderitz speed trials in Namibia. Windsurfing still trails kitesurfing but speed trials are constant in an effort to break the 50 knot curse.
The current world windsurf speed record is held by Antoine Albeau, who, in 2008, reached 49,09 knots, (90,91 km/h), on the canal which was specially built for record attempts at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer in the Camargue, South of France. At the age of 36, Antoine Albeau dominates the sport. He has 11 world titles to his name and an innumerable collection of national titles.
Kitesurfer versus Windsurfer
photo courtesy of Team Genetrix
Anders Bringdal from Sweden has come the closest so far this year. At Luderitz last month he achieved a respectable 48.03, but on a 100m run did even better – 49.46 knots. Australian Craig Spottiswood was not far behind. His best to date is 47.12 knots. However, windsurfers are still hoping to up the ante.
The PKRA is in full swing. It started the year in Dakhla, Western Sahara, moved on to France and then Mexico:
MINI Kiteboard Word Tour – Mexico
(as in MINI COOPER – not a ‘small’ event!)
The U.S. dominated the Mexican event with John Heineken, Bryan Lake, and Adam Koch taking the top three podium finishes.
Next up is the O’Neill Kite Surf World Cup 2012 The Hague and the competitions continue throughout the year culminating in the Luderitz Speed Challenge 2012 in November and December. It has taken the Organisers almost 2 years to prepare for the 2012 event to ensure that the sport of speed sailing continues to progress and higher speeds are achieved. A new tried and tested canal will bring new speed sailing records for both windsurfers and kitesurfers.
In 2011 a huge project was undertaken to dig a canal 300 meters away from the lagoon and a private event was held that year to see whether the canal was going to produce the goods … or not. As a result of this, modifications were made which improved the speeds and safety. The result was faster times in less wind, and the following improvements:
- Competitors can race anytime of the day as the canal is no longer dependent upon tide.
- Valuable time and energy is not wasted having to beat back upwind to the start, as a shuttle is provided at the end of the speed strip.
- The water depth is maintained throughout the length of the run, which is a requirement of the WSSRC for official ratification.
2012 Luderitz Speed Challenge
Sebastien Cattelan and Sophie Routaboul have long realised that operating in a void is no good for any sport. It’s all very well being the fastest kitesurfer, or for kitesurfers to be the fastest ‘sail’ on water, but how fast would a hydrofoil go over the same stretch of water and the same distance? And what about a windsurfer too? Each sport relies on a form of kite, a board or form of board, water and wind…. And so Luderitz is being groomed to become the iconic spot for the 3 sports to battle it out.
BREAKING NEWS: It was tweeted today that Doxis Milidakis from Greece has broken the 50 knot windsurfer barrier with a speed of 50.2. More on this later…