LÜDERITZ - Extreme speed, courage in abundance, honed skill, toughness, the latest equipment, considerable experience and very strong winds are just some of the key ingredients when Namibia’s extreme sporting gathering - the annual 5-week long Lüderitz Speed Challenge - got underway on the 22nd of last month.
This year’s race has attracted the who’s who in the windsurfing world led by Bjorn Dunkerbeck (43 x world champion and Red Bull rider), Erik Beale (first person to tumble 40 knots) and Mark Grinnell (South Africa All Africa and production board world champion).
They are joined by Farrell O’Shea (GB champion), Twan Verseput (2017 event winner and world champion) and Hans Kreisel (first and only person to break 100kph on open water on a windsurf).
The only kite boarder participating this time is the world’s fastest: Sebastien Cattelan (FRA) with a world leading GPS speed of 61knots/113kph.
Event organisers Mark Grinnell and Raefello Gardelli have made changes to the one-kilometre man-made canal to enable competitors to reach even higher speeds, said Gardelli who has worked tirelessly on improving the canal.
“The Lüderitz Speed Challenge is the premier speed sailing event in the world for windsurfers and kite boarders and we have made the canal longer at the start and at the finish,” he added.
“Windsurfers need much more time than kite boarders to get to speed before the starting camera and a faster speed at entry should generate a greater average speed over the official WSSRC five-hundred-metre distance.”
According to Gardelli, these improvements to the channel have already delivered spectacular results on the second sailing day of the 2018 event.
No less than five new national and all-Africa records were smashed that saw Belgium, Germany, Holland, Spain (men – windsurfing) and South African and all-Africa records (ladies – windsurfing) tumble and what is extraordinary is that three of the new records are all in excess of 51knots/94.5kph. Organisers are convinced that should strong winds prevail, more national records will tumble.
Ulf Grünewald, general manager of the four-star Lüderitz Nest Hotel and the event’s longest running sponsor could not heap enough praises on the rapid growth in popularity of the annual gathering.
“We are delighted to remain committed to supporting this very exciting sporting event. I wish all competitors much success…and while they are here, to take time to experience the magic of Lüderitz and its beautiful wild surroundings.”
The 2018 Lüderitz Speed Challenge has attracted national champions from as far as Australia, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Italy, South Africa, Switzerland, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
The event through its various local and international publicity channels, such as press, radio, TV and online media reaches many millions of readers and viewers. For the latest news and happenings: www.luderitz-speed.com