Gabriel Browne: wonder boy

Gabriel "Biel" Browne (BRA 50) finished his great year in style by taking the first place of the 2010 Wind Brasil Fortaleza Formula Windsurfing Grand Prix.

The event - now a regular feature on the international racing calendar - was organised by Arrow Marketing and the Brazilian Windsurfing Association and took place just off the beach, in front of the Marina Park Hotel, in Fortaleza, the capital of Ceara State.

Browne added the event title to that of 2010 Brazilian Formula Champion and 2010 Youth World Champion.

Joining him on the podium in Fortaleza was fellow Brazilian Paulo Dos Reis and Steve Allen, from Australia.

1st - Gabriel Browne (BRA 50), also first youth
2nd - Paulo Dos Reis (BRA 3333)
3rd - Steve Allen (AUS 0), also first Master
4th - Wilhelm Schurmann (BRA 999), also first "light" man
5th - Miguel Martinho (POR 5)
13th - Monica Veras (BRA 878), and first woman

Winter Windsurfing: cool, mate | Photo:

Call it winter windsurfing or ice windsurfing, it is surely a very cold sport. This alternative way of windsurfing is becoming very popular in Northern Europe, where wave sports enthusiasts are sometimes very far away from a lake, a river or an ocean.

In Finland, for example, the temperatures are so low that even water areas are transformed in thick layers of ice. So, how do you winter windsurfing? Well, you can take your classic sail and adapt it to a special skateboard based on blades and/or skis.

Of course, helmets and body protection must be worn, otherwise severe injuries might occur. Winter windsurfing is a synonym of speed. The fastest record is held by Jeff Brown with an incredible 103.96 kmh or 64.5 mph.

The Winter Windsurf European Cup is a growing competition held in freezing locations. The last event took place in Kalajoki, Finland.

Also, check the video of US winter windsurfers in Lake Wequaquet.

2010 RS:X Youth World Champions: the future of windsurfing

Izzy Hamilton (GBR) and Thomas Goyard (FRA) are crowned 2010 RS:X Youth World Champions as the wind deserted Limassol on the final day and the Medal Races could not be sailed.

During the week there has been every wind speed from zero to 26 knots. Sadly Medal Race day was spent waiting and watching the sea which was as smooth as glass. Not a ripple for hours. Finally around 1500 hrs, 2 knots of breeze. Was this going to build?

No... It soon retreated and left us waiting until 15:30 when the N over A was hoisted. So the ending was anticlimactic. It was a great week's racing which was viewed online by people from 78 countries.

In the youth women's fleet, Izzy Hamilton (GBR) laid down the challenge on the first day. Hanna Zembrzuska (POL) made a serious challenge until day four when she blew up by posting a 33 then compounded the error in race 12 finishing tenth... So she had three results outside the top ten against Izzy's one.

In third Hélène Noesmoen(FRA) held her own all week. Never threatening Izzy and Hanna but holding off the trio of Polish racers Natalia Wojcik, Kamila Smektala and Agnieszka Bilska. That makes four Polish sailors in the top ten so Poland certainly take the team prize in the RS:X Youth World Windsurfing Championships.

The RS:X U17 winner is Veronica Fanciulli (ITA), the silver medallist from the Singapore Youth Olympic Games who has been sailing an RS:X for just one month,

In the youth men's fleet, Thomas Goyard (FRA) from New Caledonia is the 2010 RS:X Youth World Windsurfing Champion. He came fifth in 2009 and this was his last chance to win. He knew it was going to be tough because he was beaten in Yalikavak, Turkey by Michalis Malekkides (CYP) and Manfredi Misuraca (ITA) who were both ready to do business.

Thomas was the more consistent. Michalis started well but really destroyed his chance of a home-win on Thursday. He got caught on the wrong side of a shift and there was no way back. He knew it was all over then and there. His results yesterday did not increase the pressure on Thomas, rather the reverse, they let him build a comfortable lead.

Back in third Pawel Tarnowski (POL) raced well. A little too eager in Race 6, he had to exchange a bullet for 36 points because of his OCS. Winning big championships like this is not easy at the best of times. Making such mistakes just added to his problems. Finishing 30th in Race 9 destroyed his chances of being vice-world champion.

Nevertheless, he has done well and still has two more years to fulfill his undoubted potential.

Take note that Thomas Goyard was one of eight youth men in the French team, five finished in the top ten. An impressive result by anybody's standards. Overall, the athletes have had great racing in a full range of conditions. The Cyprus Yachting Association have been very welcoming and supportive and the organization impressive.