Auckland

As in the previous year the 2009 Auckland Freestyle Champs was run again on stand by to get the best conditions possible so the stand by period was set for the whole month of May with each Saturday and Sunday being a possible event day.

The weather systems during that time of the year are normally a bit windier and consistent - but what is normal in these days anyway? The first weekend in May had a terrific forecast, 30+ Knots for 4-5 days in a row but it became quickly apparent that the direction was SE, which is the most unreliable of all for the Auckland area. After a bit of gambling the decision was made to postpone the event to the following weekend. As it turned out the wind never arrived for the first weekend – luckily!

A similar scenario showed up on the weather charts for the second weekend – but this time it was going to blow SW for most of the week. That was the forecast we were hoping for as the westerly winds are the most reliable for Auckland.
The news went out and all thumbs up to run the event that weekend. It was scheduled to start at 10am on Saturday 9. May, which was a good timing as a lot of Mum’s would have missed out on some family time if it would have been run on Sunday, Mother’s day.

Pt. Chev was once again chosen as the comp location as it offers the best and biggest wind range in these conditions and plenty of water even at low tide.

Once the registration was completed and the competitors were divided into two groups, one thing became obvious: This comp was not going to be easy to win, as the sailing standard of most competitors was very high. After two big local names moved from the comp last year straight into the judging panel this year it made it even more interesting to see who was going to take the trophy home this time. Pete Smith from Auckland Windsurfing (Winner of the Auckland Freestyle Champs 2008) and Mario Leitner, Auckland’s freestyle import from Austria brought their expertise and know how to the judging sheet and made for a fair competition.

After an hour of waiting and chatting on the beach the first heat started off at 11.00 am with 7 sailors showing off everything they could in a marked off area for 20 min in an expression session. The top 4 was drawn out of that first run but with very shifty and gusty conditions it wasn’t an easy heat to win.
Tim Haxell and Eric Torvelainen, who both came up all the way from Wellington, made it through to the next round next to Auckland local Jebbe Unthank and Katja Oberhofer from Switzerland.

Getting heat B under way proved a bit more difficult as the wind wasn’t in our favor this time. As every cloud that came up on the horizon had the potential to start the heat with that little bit of extra wind, all competitors decided to be on the water close to the safety boat and watch the flags carefully. Once a bigger gust arrived heat B was started as well and all 8 competitors sailed the best they could in those conditions. Planning one minute meant parking the other. Showing a good repertoire of moves even when not planning was the key to make it through to the next round.

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Ross Willliams conquers the 2009 PWA Podersdorf

Opening the 2009 slalom season in style, Austria’s Lake Neusiedl took its cue to deliver both sun and wind in equal measure to christen slalom’s newest World Tour destination.

In total, four race eliminations were completed over the event’s six day holding period, in winds ranging from 7-25 knots. On Predictably good form, 3 x World Champion Antoine Albeau (JP / NeilPryde) set the pace for the opening race, seamlessly winning all of his heats before sailing to victory in the elimination’s final. Hot on his heels was the UK’s Ross Williams (Tabou / Gaastra) who looked calm and collected as he picked a path through the elimination to bag second place ahead of France’s Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde) in third.

Race two saw the early departure of Albeau in the first round following a start line collision with George Manev (Starboard / NeilPryde). With the elimination depleted of the multiple World Champion, Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne) seized the opportunity to take reigns and claim his first race victory. Behind him, Finian Maynard (RRD / NeilPryde) showed class by securing second place in the highly testing Austrian conditions, leaving Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Exocet / MauiSails) to make amends for his second round departure in race 1, by filling out the final podium position in third.

Moving into the second day of competition, the wind stepped up a notch to deliver some classic slalom racing in 15-25 knots of breeze. As the third race elimination was narrowed down to the semi finals, Costa Hoevel continued to exert his dominance by winning his heat, equally, Maynard’s campaign grew momentum with some slick sailing to hand him second place.

The following semi final proved to be close fought battle, ultimately going to a newly invigorated Kevin Pritchard (Starboard / Gaastra / Dakine), who fended off advances from Albeau in second, and at-the-time event leader, Quentel third.

The elimination final proved to be an Anglo-French battle between Williams and Albeau. Despite Albeau’s blistering straight line speed, Williams’ faultless gybing and tactical negotiation of the race course rewarded him with a convincing victory. Close behind, Albeau made his presence felt as he chased in second, and Quentel continued his run of outstanding consistency in third.

The fourth and final elimination of day two saw more consistent sailing from Maynard, who executed three back-to-back heat victories to advance into the race final. Rising to meet the challenge, Costa Hoevel mimicked the British Virgin Islander’s run by stitching together his own faultless run into the final eight.

Looking more comfortable in the Austrian conditions, Josh Angulo (Angulo / MauiSails / Dakine) posed a potential threat as he tapped into his usual form to bag a spot in the semi finals. His run would be halted by a false start; in effect ruining his chances of posting a top ten finish in the overall event standings.

As the final rolled round, a selection of familiar faces took their positions to finish up the day’s racing with one last high-speed slalom bout. From the off, Williams showed he was very much in the groove. Taking the lead on the first reach, the four gybes looked to be a mere formality for the Brit, who consolidated his lead on the final reach, allowing him to savor the moment he secured his second race win of the event, and in turn the event lead.

Giving chase was Costa Hoevel, who finished the race in second, ahead of Albeau in third.

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Erasmus students will windsurf in the Hel Peninsula

This year Erasmus Student Network is organizing international event HEL(L) SURFIN' Windsurfing Trip 2009 for the third time (first edition was Mega Surf Weekend, second was Windsurfing Trip).

The aim of this international level event is not only to promote our region, but also bulding intercultural relationship, tolerance and estimate through fun.

This is extraordinary opportunity to meet so many culteres integrating in one place. The event is taking place from June 10 to 14 2009 at Hel Peninsula in two camps located between Chałupy and Władysławowo.

HEL(L) SURFIN' 2009 focuses on young, creative people, mainly students from all over the world, who'd like to take part in windsurfing challenge. This is non-profit event!

We are not windsurfing school and we do not earn any money by that.

Erasmus Student Network gives you oportunity to integrate and meet other culture by having fun and learning new sport skills.

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