By Jana-Mari Smith
It’s that time of the year again …. ocean speed junkies have converged in Lüderitz – Namibia’s official adrenaline water sports capital. It is estimated that the 2014 race will be a potential record breaker of note, with wind forecasts predicted to boost times with the help of speeds of 40 – 45 knots during the competition.
This year’s windsurfers and kitesurfer race is the eight consecutive Speed Week since the launch in 2007. The event attracts scores of men and women driven to squeeze every bit of speed out of prevailing conditions in order to break established records from around the world.
Each year, this spirited, wind driven competition has attracted more and more of the world’s best wind and kite surfers, putting the Lüderitz man-made speed channels on the map.
The highlights from this week so far are as follows, noted down by event organiser and participant Sophie Routaboul
- Today the wind was 20-25 knots average with stronger gusts of up to 30-35 knots. The angle improves when the wind gets stronger. The race opened at 1pm but the wind was still light. A couple of riders went down the channel to get the feeling and adjust their gear.
- The Dutch windsurfer Jacques Van der Hout who is leading the GPS ranking this year reached on his very first run on the Lüderitz channel 41 knots. Then Remo Diethelm from Switzerland went fastest with 42 knots.
- After a period, Anders Brindal reached 45.5 kts and finished with the best speed of the day for Windsurfer with 45.47 knots checked (the speed are first average when they are timed and then checked a bit later).
- Patrik Diethelm came close with 45.15 knots on his last run.
- 2 National Records has been recorded today:
- Andrew Redfern from Fiji with 36.15 knots
Martin Toth from Czech Republik with 39.96 knots.
- The Austrian Windsurfer Franz Grabner is really close to achieving his national record, reaching 42.09 knots with the current record at 42.78 knots.
- Lena Erdil, from Turkey is still adjusting to her new equipment reaching a top speed of 37.85 knots today.
- On the Kitesurfing side, Ole Kjaer from Denmark clocked 43 knots knowing the channel from last year. Sylvain Hoceini, the 2014 French speed Champion who has been in Lüderitz for the 2008, 2009 and 2010 edition of the Lüderitz Speed Challenge, when we were still racing in the Lagoon, achieved 44.5 knots finishing the day with the second best time
- Sébastien Cattelan, twice World Record Holder, who built the channel, managed a 50.07 knots on his 2nd run.
SEE THE VIDEO OF THE FIRST DAY PREPERATIONS