Steve Thorp: the need for speed | Photo: Sarah Jane Owen

Steve Thorp has hit the 50.40 knots, in West Kirby, England. The British windsurfing torpedo enjoyed a very fast speed sailing session during the first days of the year 2012.

Thorp got the most out of the 40-80 knot winds that blew over UK and Ireland and he may have become the fastest windsurfer in the world, if the GPS records are ratified.

"There are only really two options: West Kirby and Southend. Kirby is much easier to predict and you usually get what's forecasted with perhaps just the exact wind direction changing", explains Steve Thorp.

The speed windsurfer sailed with a 40-wide Moo Custom, 4.6/5.0/5.5 Simmer SCR sails, one boom, a couple of K4 fins and 12 kilograms of lead.

"Usually I'll be up at 4 or 5am and at the beach before first light, even on the extremely cold winter days. That's probably my golden rule for speed: be there for the whole day and don't believe the forecast or the peak wind timing" adds Thorp.

Jacques van der Hout, Hans Kreisel and Farrel O'Shea were the main opponents and they were sailing really fast. But Steve Thorp wanted to drive faster.

"It was then that I managed to score the dream run. Most had gone in to change down, leaving only three of us out. The other two had just gone down the course and I waited for a gust. I couldn't believe my luck, it felt stupid fast and much quicker than anything previous", details Thorp.

"I couldn't believe it said 54 knots on the display! Well, I almost did believe it until I checked the other unit, which said 50.6 and brought me back down to earth. Still, almost unquestionably the 50-knot +two second max I'd been dreaming of".

A historic day for speed windsurfing and a remarkable record for Steve Thorp.

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