2009 Luderitz Speed Challenge

Today began a couple hours later than yesterday as riders waited for the tide to drop and the wind to peak. After yesterday’s great conditions and fantastic results, many riders wanted to conserve their energy to make sure they were taking full advantage of the run when it was at its optimum condition. While conditions were good, they weren’t as huge as yesterday. It was a touch less windy, and there was some strange chop throwing up sudden rough patches.

The fastest time of the day went to Rob Douglas (Cabrinha) who again managed to hit 50 knots - a dream for most riders, but not good enough to be the fastest at this year’s Speed Challenge. The second fastest times were recorded by Jerôme Bila (Genetrix) and Alex Caizergues (F One), both of whom did 48.5 knots (unofficial). There were several other riders who were hovering around the 47 to 48 knot mark.

As we hit the halfway point in the competition, many riders are starting to hit their stride, as they become more familiar with the course, and their equipment. Two riders who achieved their personal bests today were Fred Kloren (Genetrix) of the Netherlands with 46 knots, and Mike Hall (Cabrinha) of the USA, who did 47 knots. He was super-stoked, this being his first time on the speed board. He has to do fifty knots, otherwise he’ll be shunned by his mates when he gets home to the States.

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Alex Caizergues in the 2009 Luderitz Speed Challenge

Frenchman Alex Caizergues (F One) has broken the world kiteboarding speed record with an incredible time of 50.98 knots, breaking his previous world record of 50.57.

Rob Douglas (Cabrinha) also set a new American outright speed sailing record with an equally impressive time of 50.95knots, just three one hundredths of a knot shy of Alex Caizergues.

Many other competitors also recorded noteworthy times including Sebastian Cattelan (Solid) who completed a run of 49.51before falling foul of equipment problems. Christophe Prin-Guenon (F One) got 48.44, Jerome Bila (Genetrix) came in with 47.73.

Charlotte Consorti (F One) again led the ladies with a speed of 44.27 knots -- smashing the French women’s record she set last year of 39.9. Fast, but still a full knot short of Sjoukje Bredenkamp’s outright record of 45.20 set last year.

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Luderitz Speed Challenge

After a week of near calm, broken only by bizarrely unseasonal rainstorms and drizzle, today dawned bright, clear and windy.

The speed strip was opened again, and competitors had another opportunity to train and familiarize themselves with it.

A number of new people have arrived in the past few days - Fred Kloren, Hennie Bredenkamp, Marc Avela pulled into town yesterday evening from Cape Town, and needed a bit of a run to get the 1100km of sitting in a comfy chair out of their legs. It was a great preview for tomorrow, especially for the competitors who had arrived as recently as yesterday.

With the wind blowing blowing between 25 to 30 knots, many riders were recording speeds in the low forties, the fastest time of the day going to Sebastian Cattelan, who recorded an unverified time of 46.5 knots, with Rob Douglas, Jerôme Bila, and Alex Caizergues all hot on his heals.

The rough water near the end of the strip was again proving challenging, with heavy chop -- hitting ‘speed-bumps’ 20-30cm high when you’re doing 80kph+ requires a lot of strength, balance and luck to save a wipeout.

Today’s run showed that almost everyone has stepped up their game from last year, as competitors were recording “training” times that two or three years ago would have meant new records - and the wind was barely even blowing as hard as it can - and does!

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