Sophie Routaboul breaks personal kiteboarding record in the Luderitz Speed Challenge

November 15, 2009 | Kiteboarding

2009 Luderitz Speed Challenge

Today began a couple hours later than yesterday as riders waited for the tide to drop and the wind to peak.

After yesterday’s great conditions and fantastic results, many riders wanted to conserve their energy to make sure they were taking full advantage of the run when it was at its optimum condition. While conditions were good, they weren’t as huge as yesterday. It was a touch less windy, and there was some strange chop throwing up sudden rough patches.

The fastest time of the day went to Rob Douglas (Cabrinha) who again managed to hit 50 knots - a dream for most riders, but not good enough to be the fastest at this year’s Speed Challenge. The second fastest times were recorded by Jerôme Bila (Genetrix) and Alex Caizergues (F One), both of whom did 48.5 knots (unofficial). There were several other riders who were hovering around the 47 to 48 knot mark.

As we hit the halfway point in the competition, many riders are starting to hit their stride, as they become more familiar with the course, and their equipment. Two riders who achieved their personal bests today were Fred Kloren (Genetrix) of the Netherlands with 46 knots, and Mike Hall (Cabrinha) of the USA, who did 47 knots.

He was super-stoked, this being his first time on the speed board. He has to do fifty knots, otherwise he’ll be shunned by his mates when he gets home to the States.

Sophie Routaboul was part of the organising team at last year’s event, and a kitesurfing novice then -- today she was dfoing regular runs in the high thirty-knots, and steadily improving, breaking personal bests with every successive race.

Melissa Gil (Cabrinha) arrived at the strip in Lüderitz today from the USA, more than a little unimpressed with British Airways for leaving her bags behind, including most of her gear. One kite and her spare harness was all she had -- other competitors lent her a wetsuit and spare boards. None of this fazed her - she got onto the strip and gave it horns, and hopes that the airline’s promise of her bags arriving here tomorrow will materialize.

And as the Speed Challenge continues, a lot of riders have also started to increase the number of runs they do in a day. You see the same riders come blasting down the strip, time and time again, as the intensity of the competition becomes greater. It will only be a matter of time before more national records start falling.

Tomorrow, the conditions are also expected to be good for racing, and riders are now preparing themselves for a fourth consecutive day of competition.

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