Surfing: speed is a crucial variable

The Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast 2011 will debut a new era in modern surfing. For the first time in the history of the sport, speed will be measured to crown the fastest surfer on Earth.


It makes sense. Speed has always been considered, in one way or another, in competitive surfing. Managing a wave and its crucial sections requires speed management and the so-called 'flow'.

Spectators have always unconsciously enjoyed the speed of a surfer in a small or giant wave. Surf judges, too. When a surfer reaches cruising speed, everyone expects something to happen: an aerial move, a rad carve or a beautiful, smooth and classic wide turn.

Measuring surfing speed with GPS devices is not new. Several experiences have been run with quite interesting results. GPS speed surfing will open new fields in terms of spectacle and market.

Windsurfers and kitesurfers have already been recording speed for a long time. These wind riders are battling hard to (re)conquer the title of the fastest sailing craft. Right now, Alex Caizergues is the fastest sailor in the world. The French kitesurfer recorded 54.10 knots speed, at the 2010 Luderitz Speed Challenge.

The GPS speed surfing will not be compulsory. Pro surfers will decide if they are willing to conquer the title of fastest surfer in the world. Who will be pumping the wave for the maximum speed? In Snapper Rocks, Joel Parkinson, Mick Fanning and friends will start to answer this question.