WISSA World Championships 2016: speed sailing on ice | Photo: Gediminas Gresevicius/WISSA

The 2016 world ice and snow sailing champions have been crowned at Lake Võrtsjärv, in Estonia.

The 2016 WISSA World Championships took place in the frozen ice of Estonia's second largest lake. The conditions were not always perfect - the ice cracked in some areas - but the organization managed to wrap up the event one day ahead of the plan.

The winter windsurfers and kiteboarders nearly completed all scheduled races, so the world champions were legitimately announced and crowned by the World Ice and Snow Sailing Association (WISSA).

The competition has been running since 1980, but the Estonians are enjoying the pleasure of "sail skiing" since the 1970s. Jüri Plisnik and Kalev Allikveer decided to try something new.

"It happened during winter of 1975 when I was sailing with a sleigh created from cross-country skis, aluminum pipes from a camp bed on Harku Lake, and a child’s sail. Tilting the sleigh onto one ski allowed to sail on a sharper course; the other ski was in the air at this time," revealed Plisnik.

The sport conquered new enthusiasts and, in 1991, Estonia hosted the WISSA World Championships for the first time, in Kabli. The event has already been held in the country five times (1991, 1996, 2003, 2007, and 2016).

This year, Felix Kersten was the only sailor to break the 50 knots mark, in the GPS Speed division. The Nordic nations - but the United States as well - dominated the remaining classes (Sled, Wings, and Kite Ski/Skate).

"In the first day, I didn't get used to the skis on the ice, and I had no grip. On the second day, I noticed that one of the skis was much better in getting the grip, so I went almost all the time only on windward foot. On the third day, the same problem, but I changed the good ski to the right leg," explains Kersten.

"On the fourth day, I was a little bit underpowered, and we had like one centimeter of very, very wet snow on the ice, so I lost a lot downwind."

2016 WISSA World Championships | Results


1. Felix Kersten (DEU), 50.654 Knots (Kite)
2. Kai Schröder (FIN), 47.98 Knots (Kite)
3. Madis Kallas (EST), 45.757 Knots (Kite)
4. Janne Riihelä (FIN), 43.714 Knots (Kite)
5. Robin Larsson (SWE), 40.92 Knots (Kite)

Course Race

Sleds Overall
1. Aleksandrs Leontjevs (LAT)
2. Paulius Voverys (LTU)
3. Janmarek Maszkiewicz (POL)

Sleds Women
1. Michalina Bujnowska (POL)
2. Katarzyna Nabialek (POL)
3. Marianne Rautelin (FIN)

Wings Overall
1. Johan Sjöstrand (SWE)
2. Carl James (SWE)
3. Rainer Salo (FIN)

Wings Women
1. Anne Tuthill (USA)

Kite Ski/Skate Overall
1. Ronny Bollhalder (SWI)
2. Robin Larsson (SWE)
3. Jonas Lengwiler (SWI)

Kite Women
1. Olga Ryzhova (RUS)

Short Track Slalom

Sleds Overall
1. Paulius Voverys (LTU)
2. Janis Preiss (LAT)
3. Giedrius Liutkus (LTU)

Sleds Women
1. Marianne Rautelin (FIN)
2. Annika Valkna (EST)
3. Anna Arosilta-Gurvits (FIN)

Wings Overall
1. Carl James (SWE)
2. Johan Sjöstrand (SWE)
3. Miroslav Pacold (CZE)

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