Byron Kokkalanis: the Greek intruder

Przemyslaw Miarczynski and Byron Kokkalanis tied on 34 points at the 2012 RS:X European Windsurfing Championships, held in the Madeira Island, Portugal. The tight battles between the Polish and the Greek riders brought gold for both, despite the lack of wind on medal day.


In the Women’s fleet, Marina Alabau has scored a decisive 24 point victory over Maayan Davidovich and Tuuli Pataja. These two had battled all week for the silver medal. Tuuli lost out in race 11 with her worst score of the week, but they will both go home satisfied with their work. Neither of them have finished on the podium at such a prestigeous championship before.

Compliments go to the Clube Naval do Funchal and in particular to Mafalda Freitas for their faultless organization. They handled the cancellation of the ferry service with quiet efficiency and pulled a team of 70 volunteers together to make it all happen.

In particular, the race committee under the experienced guidance of Rob Lamb, the RS:X Race Director, did a good job packing in 11 races in the available wind. A drifting mark in men’s race 10 was disappointing but given the depth of the water out here in the Atlantic Ocean, resetting it was not an option that could be quickly achieved.

Izzy Hamilton takes the U21 title from Hanna Zembrzuska with Maria Aadland Mollestad in third. These talented racers bode well for the future of RS:X Women’s racing in the future. Izzy finsished 6th overall. She will be under no illusions. Knowing that some top stars chose not to take part but sixth place is sixth place and is her best finish in the senior fleet.

The French have a powerful development squad in the men’s fleet. Thomas Goyard took the U21 title from Louis Giard with Pawel Tarnowski in third. He had promised much n the early stages of the championships but a BFD – disqualification for being over the start line early under a black flag – in race 9 blew his chances of securing the top spot.

He will be disappointed. He is immensely competitive and keen to make his mark but will learn from his mistake. Pawel will be the first to admit that he blew it when the pressure was on.

Next stop, the RS:X World Windsurfing Championships which start in Puerto Sherry, Cadiz in three weeks.