Heidi Ulrich breaks women's speed windsurfing world record

November 30, 2022 | Windsurfing
Heidi Ulrich: the speed windsurfer hit 47.16 knots in Luderitz, Namibia | Photo: Jaco Wolmarans

Heidi Ulrich set a new world women's windsurfing speed record in Luderitz, Namibia.

The Swiss windsurfer completed a 500-meter run at 47.16 knots and improved the previous record set by Zara Davis in 2017 at 46.49 knots.

On November 25, 2022, Ulrich was first in the water at 11:13 am with a clear mission.

She then ramped quickly 41, 42, and 43 knots at 10-15-minute intervals, benefiting from the empty Luderitz Speed Challenge canal.

Suddenly, Ulrich hits 46.87 knots and sets a new world record - the crowd goes wild. Then, ever the professional, she jumped straight into the canal to improve it with 47.16 knots.

The 38-year-old Swiss started windsurfing in 2013 and accompanied Patrik Diethelm and his brother to Namibia to the speed channel.

She trained hard and learned how to windsurf in the Second Lagoon while his friends were in the channel.

Heidi Ulrich: she learned to windsurf in 2013 in Namibia | Photo: Jaco Wolmarans

The Build-Up

Heidi Ulrich lives in Lake of Uri in Switzerland.

"I am proud of myself, and it is a dream come true," Ulrich told SurferToday.

In 2019, the windsurfer missed the world record by 0.3 knots.

"This year, the event kicked off later, and we missed the super windy days of early October. And then, we had no wind for three weeks," adds the new world women's windsurf speed record holder.

When the wind started to blow at 40 knots, the angle was far from perfect and created a lot of chops in the canal.

Nevertheless, Ulrich's marks were close to making history. November 25 was a historic day, though.

"I was the first to race as usual with super square 35 knots."

"I put eight kilograms on my back to keep the sail stable, but it wasn't enough, so my friend added four kilograms after my third run."

"He said: 'the wind is getting stronger - just go straight and stay on it."

"So, after the slingshot, I felt the wind filling the sail from behind and pushing me smoothly forward."

"When I reached the end of the run, I couldn't believe my eyes. My GPS device was showing 46.8 knots, thus a world record."

Heidi Ulrich: the new world women's windsurf speed record holder | Photo: Jaco Wolmarans

Another Go, Another World Record

Ulrich drove back, saw everybody cheering, but gave it another go in around 35-45 knots of wind.

And, on a Patrick Speed 37 board, a 5.2-square-meter Patrick Race+ sail, and an 18 inches NoLo fin, she set a higher mark - 47.16 knots.

The Swiss speed sailor believes she can go faster.

In reality, she almost hit 50 knots in maximum speed - 49.94 knots - and became the fastest windsurfing woman on the planet with 49.3 knots over two seconds.

Before becoming official, all marks must be ratified by the World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC).

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