Rob Douglas: fastest man on water

Rob Douglas, the fastest man on water, has been nominated for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards 2011. The US kiteboarders has set a new outright world speed record in 2010, in Luderitz, Namibia. Douglas was one of five kiteboarders to break the previous record, held by the trimaran L'Hydroptère.

Douglas did so by the biggest margin, more than four knots, setting a new record of 55.65 knots or 103.1 kilometres per hour. The flat water of the 3-5 metre wide, 750 metre long trench and the regularity with which Luderitz produces wind in excess of 40 knots makes it the ideal location for speed record attempts.

The enormity of the physical and mental challenge that it takes to exceed 50 knots on a kite board should not be underestimated. The skill and fitness of the athletes involved is truly outstanding. There are only a handful of people who have achieved this benchmark speed, and Douglas' record sets him above them all.

Douglas is no stranger to being the fastest human under sail. In 2008, he claimed the world speed record with a speed of 49.84 knots becoming the first kiteboarder to hold the title. His position was short-lived as the 50 knot barrier was broken in the same year, but Douglas' phenomenal effort in 2010 has eclipsed the competition once again.

The winners will be selected by the ISAF Member National Authorities (MNAs), the national governing bodies for sailing around the world, who are now invited to vote for the one male and one female nominee who they believe most deserves the Award.

The winners will be announced at the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards presentation and dinner, which will take place on Tuesday 8 November 2011. The venue for the event is the Barrio Ballajá in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.