Antoine Albeau breaks the windsurfing speed world record

November 2, 2015 | Windsurfing
Antoine Albeau: windsurfing speed world record holder | Photo: Elisabeth Rançon

Antoine Albeau has broken the windsurfing speed world record, at the 2015 Luderitz Speed Challenge, in Namibia.

The French sailor hit the 53.27 knots (98.65 km/h) and smashed the previous record set at 52.05 knots. Wind conditions improved dramatically in the last days of October, and windsurfers kept raising the bar in the iconic speed channel.

Albeau has never stopped trying to improve his own world record. In two days of speed attempts, he made 54 runs. Ten of them were over 50 knots, and six were over 51 knots. Breaking a new record was only a matter of time.

"The day didn't look super promising. The weather forecast was not for 40 knots; it was a little bit less, and then at the end it became amazing. Suddenly, sand was flying everywhere, and it was up to 50 knots of wind," explains Albeau.

"This is amazing because yesterday I did 28 runs, and I couldn't do 52 knots. It was apocalyptic because I was really inside. I didn't see outside. In two or three runs, I couldn't see where I was going. Sometimes I could the upwind side of the canal, but it was difficult and dangerous sometimes."

Albeau sailed at 52.39 knots over 500 meters with winds blowing at more than 40 knots, and at a perfect angle. In the end of the day, the French had broken his previous record five times. But he was not alone breaking world speed sailing records.

Karin Jaggi is now the fastest female windsurfer on the planet. She sailed at 46.31 knots and broke the record set by Zara Davis (45.83 knots), in 2012.

"For me it's the first time here in Luderitz. I didn't really know what to expect. Patrik said it is really fast. I wasn't really fit but today the wind picked up, and I felt I was improving in every run a little bit. It didn't feel like the perfect run, though," added Jaggi.