2009 RS:X World Championships

It’s a two-horse race for gold in the men’s fleet, with Skandia Team GBR’s Nick Dempsey leading by a six point margin over Israeli windsurfer Nimrod Mashich heading into the final day.

Barring a disqualification in Thursday’s final, Dempsey is certain to take home at least a silver from his home Championships, held out of the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, and needs to finish no more than two places behind his Israeli rival to ensure his first ever world crown.

The two title contenders locked horns on the racecourse on Wednesday – Athens bronze medallist Dempsey edged out Mashiah in the first race of the day, finishing second to the Mashiah’s third before the Israeli went on the counter-attack in the second race, picking up a second to Dempsey’s third.

Dempsey’s coach, Barrie Edgington, praised the cool head of his charge on this make-or-break day for the medal hopefuls.

“It was a high pressure day, and Nick sailed a really mature couple of races.

“He just kept on chipping away and made some sensible decisions on the racecourse which have put him right where he needs to be.”

Dutchman Dorian Van Rijsselberge – the series leader at the halfway stage of the regatta – proved he’s still in with a shot at the podium spots, bouncing back from Tuesday’s results of 21, 23, which effectively ended his title hopes, to post 9, 1 on Wednesday and put him back into the bronze medal position.

But there was disappointment for van Rijsselberge’s teammate Casper Bouman (NED) who, although not in contention for the podium, dropped out of the top ten medal race positions when he was disqualified from both of Wednesday’s races for having been found to have illegally adjusted his mast track.

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2009 Reunion Wave Classic

We've had another epic session in Ravine Blanche with incredible barrels during all the afternoon, and some very extreme commitment and hot actions from all the riders who did not dare facing the elements, as the wind was also very strong. Great actions, great conditions, great public and great ambiance here in La Reunion!

Well, what can we say ? It was another classic journey of intense waveriding today in Ravine Blanche and another 3rd round could have been completed. « But not so classic » would say the locals : «it’s a long time we haven’t seen monster waves like this in Ravine. It can be big, but when it’s big it’s usually messy and today it was very clean, with beautiful opening sections…».

So it did not took much time to the organization to send the first heat around 1pm. In mast high sets and wind pumping up to 30/35 knots outside, « daddy » Taboulet proved in this heat that his single fin board was still efficent against the quads of Zabala, the thrusters of Goffinet, and the twinzer of Godet. With powerful carving and great aerials launched on the best waves of the heat, Taboulet took the honour of the judges.

Results of heat #1 : 1/Taboulet 2/Godet 3/Goffinet 4/Zabala

In heat #2, 19 years old rider Camille Juban from Guadeloupe, showed the best of his commited style and did not dare hitting the fat lips for huge aerials or 360. Only Traversa could stop him as he had a perfect wave choice to score the best moves with his own efficient surfing style. Fernandez did his best but could not fight against these two, while McKercher was not really into it today.

Results of heat #2 : 1/Traversa 2/Juban 3/Fernandez 4/McKercher

Heat #3 saw battling Sifferlen against Mussolini, Caste and local Van Woerkens. With great airs and powerful surfs from the first mn of the heat, the Caledonian Sifferlen proved one more time that he did not came here for holidays! Efficient style, fluid and fast, he got washed way before the end of the heat but already has scored enough points to take the first place in this heat. Spanish Mussolini was not at his best, but charged some clean barrels insuring him more points than Van Woerkens and Caste.

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2009 RS:X World Championships

It was a testing day for the 163 competitors at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, who returned after the layday to find light wind conditions and Portland Harbour steeped in fog – a stark contrast to the 30 knot conditions at the start of the event on Friday.

The race committee managed to run one of the scheduled two races for the world title chasers in the gold fleet, before the visibility became too poor and the windsurfers were sent ashore to wait for the fog to clear before the second race was able to get underway.

Amid the gloomy conditions there was plenty of drama, with the series leaders in the men’s fleet picking up some big scores as they struggled to adjust to the change in conditions. Brazil’s 2007 World Champion Ricardo Santos was hit hard, dropping from third place overall before the rest day, to 13th after finishing his two races on Tuesday in 44th and 45th.

The Dutch duo of Dorian Van Rijsselberge – the overall series leader at the halfway stage – and 2006 World Champion Casper Bouman also struggled to get off the startline, dropping five places each in the overall standings to sixth for Van Rijsselberge and 11th for Bouman.

Meanwhile Skandia Team GBR’s Nick Dempsey – the 2007 World Championship bronze medallist – held fast and advanced to the top spot on the leaderboard, discarding his worst series score of 13th from the first race of the day and picking up a hard-fought third in the second race.

“It was pretty exhausting out there. It was just so hard to hold a lane in that first race, but then I think sailed a near-perfect second race,” the 29-year-old surmised.

“It could yet turn out to be a week for the all-rounders,” Dempsey hoped.

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