Photo: LBWS

The successes of our Olympic sailors has inspired many new windsurfers to take up windsurf racing. ‘Raceboard’ is already an official class with very simple kit rules based on length, width and production registration. Quite simply the board is a performance longboard - a true racing class. One that is not inhibited by wind strength or location.

It is also provides the fairest racing when considering a sailors size/weight or age. At National level the class has been a little dormant primarily due to board manufacturers being focused on the development on ‘planing’ boards’ (like Formula) and the media spotlight being on RSX (the Olympic Class). These racing divisions now have their niches – the Raceboard class has the opportunity and desire to once again thrive and become the biggest National and International windsurfing racing class.

On January 10th 2009 the National Raceboard Class was created. A selection of enthusiasts from all aspects of our sport met to lay the foundations for a revived circuit. Their aim is to:

i. Grow the Class
ii. Keep more youngsters in racing when leaving the successful youth divisions
iii. Attract a mass of new racers from the core ‘Freeride’ section
iv. Develop an extensive regional racing scene.
v. Win the World Championships in all divisions

Tushingham, North, Demon, Mistral, Starboard, are key international brands launching new kit for 2009. The first National Championships takes place in Weymouth, May 2nd-4th. If you still have a Raceboard from years ago – don’t feel left behind. The boards are still hugely competitive. Prizes for every entrant and a party for all.

Racing is not for the few. In fact, the very nature of competition (let’s be honest we all want to overtake our mates) helps your board handling skill improve at a rapid rate. Racing, boring? Nonsense – adrenalin kicks in from the moment you park your car. It is a real friendly scene at all events, and if you feel that sea sailing may be a touch ambitious, the National Raceboard Class even runs an Inland circuit. The first of these is hosted by the ‘Midlands’ region at Pitsford reservoir (near Northampton) April 25th-26th.


NZ Championships

The Olympic RSX, Formula and Bic Techno National Windsurfing Championships are programmed to be held this year over 5 days (3 for the Technos) at the Manly Sailing Club, Whangaparaoa between the 18 and 22 February.

It is expected that the RSX class will have the most participants at the regatta with all of New Zealands top sailors competing including Tom Ashley, Olympic Gold medallist and many overseas competitors.

The Formula Windsurfing class is a high performance planing class alleged to be the fasted sailing craft around a course out of all sailing disciplines where it is not uncommon to reach speeds of 30knots on reaching legs in the right conditions. It is hoped that a small
contingent of Australians will attend alongside New Zealands best.

The Bic Techno class of windsurfers is a lead in class aimed at youth participation as a means of gaining confidence and ability towards the Olympic RSX class of board and therefore a wide range of abilities will be catered for.


Russell Jones

After three days of racing on Lake Illawarra in conditions ranging from calm to a 45knot “Southerly Buster” local windsurfer Russell Jones triumphed to win the coveted Australian & Oceanic Championship for International Class Raceboards.

Jones started the championship in fine fashion with a 2nd place in the only race sailed on a light wind Friday, however Saturday brought entirely different conditions with strong westerly winds favouring nearest rivals Mike Nelson from Wollongong and last year’s champion James Grunfelder from Sydney.

The last race on Saturday started with similar westerly winds but quickly moved to the south west. Jones picked all the wind shifts to sail to a superb win with Nelson in 2nd place. Only 5 windsurfers managed to finish before a dramatic southerly change blew through, turning the lake into a churning mass of breaking waves totally flattening the rest of the fleet.
The crew on the rescue boats braved the 45 knot gusts to ensure all windsurfers were safe. As windsurfing club president and competitor Neil McKinlay commented he had never seen chop as big as that on the lake and that it was like being in the surf at the beach. At the end of Saturday Jones was leading Nelson by a solitary point.

The final days racing on Sunday saw a much subdued wind, blowing gently from the south east. Two races were run with Jones doing just enough with a 3rd and a 5th to win the overall championship. The final tally, allowing for a drop of the worst race, saw Jones winning on 14 points from Grunfelder (15), and Nelson (16).

In the ladies division local windsurfer Alisha Kawalla retained her title from last year ahead of fellow local Judi Nealy. Alisha handled the conditions across the 3 days with her customary skill to beat many of the male competitors with a 5th overall. 

Newcastle sailor Byron McIllveen totally dominated the Open class (bigger sails allowed) to record his 9th Australian Open title. Wagga Wagga based windsurfer Damian Candusso easily won the Silver fleet, and local Flying Ant dinghy champion Kaitlyn Middleton switched to windsurfing to win the junior title.