Sebastien Cattelan

The third annual Lüderitz Speed Challenge will begin in less than two weeks.  This time last year, speed sailors shattered the previously unbeatable 50knot barrier (93kph), setting a string of world and national records in this “Formula One of Sailing”. Throughout the month of November many of the world’s top kitesurfers will once again descend on the remote Namibian town of Lüderitz to compete against each other and the clock to prove what is the world’s fastest wind-powered craft.

Last year’s challenge saw the kitesurfers take over many of the top slots in the international rankings for speed sailing, contested by sailboats, windsurfers and kitesurfers. Alex Caizergues of France set a new outright world record of 50.57knots (93.6kph) over 500m, with Rob Douglas of the U.S.A. and Sebastien Cattelan of France, also breaking the 50 knot barrier, recording times of 50.54 and 50.52 knots respectively.

Speed sailing is becoming incredibly hotly contested in the past year – not only because the technology is allowing previously undreamed of speeds to be reached, but also because with the recent focus on climate change and new, alternative energy sources, wind-power is very much in fashion.

The greatest battle is between two very different worlds – the skill, strength and sheer bravery of the kitesurfers and windsurfers on their tiny boards, set against well-funded sailboat teams making use of the latest computer and materials technology to design ever more outlandish sailboats. Last year the kitesurfers beat the windsurfers, who had before beaten the sailboats. This year the sailboats have come back roaring. 

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Seattle Kiteboard Races

35 local kiteboarding enthusiasts joined in on the first of many races in Seattle this past weekend. Between the rain squalls, the wind picked up on Saturday and provided 20-30 mph winds for about 3 hours – just enough time to get the race off and solid results posted.

“We expected about 10-15 guys to sign up, so we are very pleased to see so many people excited about racing up here (in Seattle)” commented Race Director, Andrew Koch.

Four races were run in each class; race board, surfboard & twin tip. The Seattle Yacht Club provided all support boats and was instrumental in setting up the race course.

Prizes were provided by Urban Surf, a local surf and kiteboarding shop.

The next race is planned for November – exact dates TBD.

RESULTS
RACE BOARD
1 Adam Koch

2 Adam Vance

3 Robin Ogaard



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Stefaans Viljoen

Stefaans Viljoen takes the crown in the 2009 Cabrinha Race Series in San Francisco on the OR Rise, OR Session harness and OR Race Board.

After 11 nights of fierce completion it all came down to the last night. Series leaders Chip Wasson and Jeff Kafka were away on a kite trip in Fiji (hard to feel bad for them) and the penalty points they picked up put them out of the running for 1st.

Going into the last race it was a tie between Stefaans and Geoff Headington (Ozone) and whoever won this last night took the season trophy.

With dying winds only one race was run and it was neck and neck between Stefaans and Geoff the whole race. After starting a bit behind Geoff and Mike Gebhardt (Ozone) Stefaans slowly clawed his way back to beat Geoff to the line.

The top 5 for the season were: Stefaans Viljoen (OR), Geoff Headington (Ozone), Chip Wasson (Ozone), Jeff Kafka (Cabrinha), and Eric Due (Cabrinha).

Stefaans was one of 6 riders in the top 15 to be riding both the Rise kites and the OR race board. In fact, he was the only rider in the top 5 to ride a production board. Other Ocean Rodeo riders finished: Chris Brown (8), Andrew Galbraith (10), Evan Stolze (11), Eric Geleynse (14), Allen Chung (15), and Erin Loscocco (20).

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