Sean O'Brien 

The wind conditions lightened today for the final day of racing at the 2009 Oceanic and Australian Formula Windsurfing Championships in Sydney. The experienced race-crew again managed to get the maximum amount of races today running 4 back-to-back races for the sailors to take advantage of the morning winds which lightened and shifted as the day wore on.

The lighter winds allowed some sailors the opportunity to climb the rankings after yesterday’s strong winds and big seas. Sean O’Brien (AUS-120) managed to hold on to his lead and the Australian Title today taking two bullets in the first two races before losing his cool in the last two races taking 4th’s a piece in the shifty, light afternoon winds. [read more]

In Race 8 this morning, Sean O’Brien took an early lead before a few shifts on the second lap allowed Brett Morris and Sam Parker (AUS-3) to pass him into the top mark with only the downwind run to go; Brett and Sean headed out to sea with Sam taking the inside line to the leeward mark. All three sailors arrived at the bottom mark at the same time and after the 150m blast to the finish line, Sean managed to pip Sam into 1st with Brett taking 3rd place honours.

A similar finish occured in Race 9 with Sean leading Sam Parker into the final downwind run only to oversail the layline and have Sam meet him at the leeward mark - half a boat length separated Sean in 1st and Sam in 2nd place in this race; with Murray Towndrow (AUS-720) turning a few heads to arrive in 3rd place ahead of Brett Morris (AUS-8) and Sam Fawkes (AUS-21).

For Race 3 and 4 the wind became quite shifty and dropped to around 8 knots in the lulls and 15 knots in the gusts, leaving Sean O’Brien stranded with Sam Parker and Nathan Hohnberg on the right side of the course on the second lap to allow Sam Fawkes a huge get-out-of-jail freebie to take the bullet from 7th place going in to the second lap. In the final race which allowed for the 3rd drop for all the sailors, the wind became considerably more shifty and allowed Sam Fawkes and Steve Floyd (AUS-222) a huge lead on the first lap where other competitors were left floundering in big wind holes on the course.

Sam and Steve in 1st and 2nd respectively led Allison Shreeve (AUS-911) into the finish of Race 11 and finished a clear 6 minutes ahead of Sean O’Brien in 4th place - some difficult conditions left Sean off the plane for pockets of up to one minute trying to get around the top mark.

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IFCA Slalom Worlds 08

This morning the competitors learned that we would start with one or two slaloms and then finalise the Wave event. Wind was predicted to be the 'normal' south-easterly growing during the day up to 35 knots with 2.5 metre swell.

By 11 the wind was 15-20 knots and a 3 mark slalom was set.  In slalom 4 Ben Van der Steen had the inside on the finish line and finished milliseconds in front of Ross Williams. The heat was on, both had 2 first and 2 second places so it would all be decided in the last race slalom 5.

In slalom 5 Ross had bad starts in both the semi-finals and the finals due to timing problems.  In the final Ross (Tabou/Gaastra) finished only 4th behind a surprising Chris Pressler (Starboard/Severne) and Klaas Voget (Fanatic Neil Pryde). The win was for Ben Van der Steen (Exocet/Simmer) securing the World Title slalom 2008.

Meanwhile the wind increased and Olaf Van Tol (NED) decided to stop slaloming and start heat 10B of the wave performance. First surprise came in heat 11B when local Matthew Swart took out Ross Williams.  In the quarter finals we lost Andrea Rosati, Andreas Oleandersson, Ben Van der Steen and Matthew Swart.

Semi-finals between Kevin Mevissen, who won the event last year, and Phil Horrocks and Klaas Voget and Ben Profit. Phil and Klaas came out winning despite some freestyle tricks from Kevin and the 2 attempts of Ben for double forward.

In the losers' final Kevin got the better of Ben and in the winners' final it was very tight until the last jump where Phil Horrocks set a double forward and took the event home.

A Girls heat was run with Natasha Petersmann from South Africa taking the win.

The famous Cape Docor wind took 4 days to come but when he came it was full on spectacle on the beach of Big Bay. 2 speakers, a good sound system and a lot of spectators enjoyed together a spectacular final of a beautiful 5 day event.

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Marcilio Browne 

Fanatic and North Sails are proud to announce the signing of their latest windsurfing super start, Brazil’s Marcilio Browne. Moving from his previous home at Mistral and Gaastra, Browne joins his new sponsors with immediate effect.

At 19 years old, this wave and freestyle specialist is one of the biggest players on the PWA World Tour, with results to match the media hype that surrounds him. Having already conquered the freestyle discipline, securing the World Title and runner up positions in 2007 and 2008 respectively, Browne’s diligent and calculating approach is now focused on the wave crown.

With a transfer of this magnitude, both Fanatic and North Sails are eager to boast about their new addition; here’s what the brands, and the man himself have to say about the situation:

Fanatic Brand Manager, Craig Gertenbach: "I´m happy to welcome Marcilio, he fits perfectly into our Fanatic team and shows the youthful enthusiasm for windsurfing that our sport needs and lives from!”
Marcilio Browne: “I’m very stoked! I think that at Fanatic the atmosphere between riders and company is very good. Sebastian Wenzel is also an excellent shaper and I´m looking forward to work with him in the future and use his boards. So altogether it’s a perfect package for me!”

North Sails Line and Product Manager, Raoul Joa: “Brawzinho is not only very dedicated during competition he is also very meticulous in testing wave and freestyle sails. Being a huge asset for North Sails he will play a major part in the future success story of North Sails.“

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