Tom Ashley

Tauranga's windsurfing scene is set to get an Olympic-sized shot in the arm over the next 10 days.

Beijing Olympic board sailing champion Tom Ashley will headline next week's inaugural North Island championship for both Techno and RS:X classes, while the city's rookies have also got a major boost.

Six brand-new Techno boards will arrive tomorrow in Tauranga, courtesy of the Bay of Plenty Sailing Academy and funded by TECT. At $5800 apiece fully kitted out, the boards aren't cheap but spokesman Stuart Pedersen is adamant they'll be a great investment for the sport's future.

"Getting these boards is huge - they'll provide a pathway from learning to windsurf through to getting into serious racing without having to commit to buying your own gear," Pedersen said.

Although kitesurfing has taken a big chunk of windsurfing's market, Pedersen explains the Olympic aspect is the obvious attraction.

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Miami Pro Am 2009

Racing started on Saturday with light and extremely shifty winds. The course had to be adjusted multiple times and it never was quite right, but the Kona crowd never complained much.

Four races were completed in the afternoon and the very competitive group took it to the protest committee for one race. Bruce “the Legend” Matlack lost out to Mike “Kona Man” Rayl and it cost him dearly.

Sunday looked like there was a chance for the Formula sailors to get a few races in, but they did not make it out to the course before the wind backed off.

One race was attempted, but the wind fizzled before half the fleet made it to the windward mark. Thanks to Fernando and Martin, we did get a peek at the new Patrick Diethelm Formula board though. The Movie Star was out there showing off his new Starboard and 2010 KA as well.

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Inlet To Inlet Distante Race

The race is in it's 7th year and the 4th year on the National Race Tour of US Windsurfing as the first race of 2009 as well as the US Windsurfing SE Series.

The i to i, (Inlet to Inlet Distance Race), will take place in Fort Lauderdale on South Beach either Saturday, December 5th, or Sunday, December 6th.

The day and race course will be determined according to the prevailing weather conditions, but the preferred course will be Fort Lauderdale South Beach Park to Port Everglades Inlet to the Hillsboro Inlet and back to South Beach Park.

The non-race day will be practice and tuning and won't score towards the event and is optional.

It's about 11.5 miles from inlet to inlet. Depending on the wind direction and strength it could take as little as an hour or quite a bit longer! The marks are far enough offshore that the race can and will be run if winds are offshore. As this is a bit of distance to cover and the possibility of breakdown, fatigue, or injury exists, combined with potential offshore winds, it is strongly encouraged that you carry a cell phone for emergency use.

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