Epic Day for Windsurfers at Pacasmayo Classic

Source: AWT

Image: AWT

Stellar conditions continued for day five of the Pacasmayo Classic to wrap up the remaining heats in Womens, Masters, GrandMasters, Youths, and the Pro Final.

With 13 heats left the call was made for a 12:40pm start with the Youths getting back out on the water. The waves were building with the pushing tide and the winds were already up, and the groms were flying. PWA rider Mortiz Mauch opened up his youth heat with a perfect goiter, and little Yoav was flying down the line with nice turns and good aerials while holding on as the winds continued to increase.

The Women’s redemption round was up next and it was Peruvian Maria Belen and Australian Cheryl fighting their way out of the round and back into the game for the semi finals.

The masters and grandmasters hit the water next and there was no letup of action whatsoever. Jason Cater and Shane Finigan tore apart wave after wave in their heats, always having an epically close battle for the Masters.

While in the Grandmasters, Jamie Brown continued to find the best waves from the point to the resort, linking together turns after hits on closeout sections and great aerials to show that there was no lack of action in any of the fleets. Claus, Mortiz’s dad, also had a couple great waves all the way through.

The intensity rose as the afternoon progressed and the semi final rounds of youth and women commenced. The youth’s could not stop catching waves, and both heats had full score sheets for each rider, non-stop action. In the first heat it was big Yoav and Moritz edging out Peruvian Champ Alessio. Alessio had some great wave-riding, but it was Mortiz and Yoav that got the better waves to work with, and the points to get through.

The women’s semis were extremely close as well, as all the ladies were able to find some great waves as the conditions continued to hold. In the end it was Bettina, Maria Belen, Bjorte, and Sarah Hauser advancing from their heats and into the Final.

After the semi’s the call was made to move the judges closer to the point for the finals for all divisions. Forty minutes later competition was resumed with the Pro Fleet heading out for the finals. The conditions were amazing. Judges were dumbfounded with the amount of perfect waves rolling through, and it was hard to sit still and watch the amazing conditions, you just wanted to be out there riding.

The Pro final, with Moritz Mauch, Forrest Ladkin, Russ Faurot, and Maxime Fevrier, was all time. In the minute before the heat started, lines started to roll through the point, and just as the green flag went up, Forrest picked up one of the waves of the week. A perfect logo-mast high peeler, Forrest rode it flawlessly, linking together prefect full rail turns with huge hits and nice aerials all the way through. Moritz was right behind him on another gem, and then it was Russ and Maxime after that. And the heat continued that way for the following 18 minutes, non stop sets and epic rides from all the finalists in the division. In the end the judges had a unanimous 1,2,3,4- but it was close!

After the Pro’s it was the Master’s and Grandmaster’s turn hit the point. Again Shane and Jason were going wave for wave with awesome turns and smacks all the way through, and Pier and Peter Kimball got some incredible rides as well. In the Grandmaster’s heat the wind had started to fade slightly, but still Jamie Brown was able to find 2 good ones to solidify his spot on top of the bracket.

The youth’s had no problem getting back out in the dying winds as the waves were still coming through. Kimo Brown opened up the youth final with a perfect set wave that peeled all the way through the point and down towards the resort, with nice turns and an aerial at the end to start off the final. Then it was big Yoav who picked off a bomb and continued his streak of perfectly timed turns and aerials with great style all the way through. And if that wasn’t enough, Moritz was right behind him. This was Mortiz’s 4th heat of the day, and his energy was still palpable back on the bluff as he flied through massive turns and huge aerials. Little Yoav picked off some great waves too and continued to land his aerials and link together some great turns, leaving the judges and spectators inspired and stoked at the future generation of the sport.

Last up at 5:20pm was the ladies. On 3.7-4.5s the ladies still had no problems catching plenty of waves and putting on an awesome show. All the girls were ripping. Sarah and Bettina were first up, and Sarah put up some great turns while Bettina rode her perfect set wave to perfection. Bjorte caught an awesome wave at the point and rode it down past the judges near the resort. Then it was Maria Belen, on a borrowed 3.7, showing her talent with some sick top turns, much more comfortable on the smaller gear.

The results have been kept secret until tomorrow night with the awards presentation, but all riders put on an amazing show. With the Pacasmayo Classic coming to a close, all eyes are set now on the Nove Nove Aloha Classic in Maui to determine who will be the AWT overall winners- the race is tight!!!

Tension on the Water at Helsinki Windsurfing Championship

Source: International RS:X Class Association

The  tension on the water at the 2016 RS:X European & Youth European Windsurfing Championships in Helsinki, Finland was fully loaded as Medal Races across the four fleets drew to a close. Many podium finishers from six days of racing here in Hernesaari will feature on the pedestal of the 2016 Rio Olympics, starting in 27 days.

It was a funny day here in Helsinki as the morning started with sunshine in a clear blue sky and south-westerly wind of 5-6 m/s for racing. All fleets were off to the water according to the schedule, but came ashore shortly in a while because of strong and cold fog spread out on the race course due to the water temperature’s decrease about five degrees. Only Women’s Youth fleet was lucky to get one Final Race sailed before to be lost in the fog. After waiting ashore for a couple of hours, the fog disappeared as fast as it came and the most expected races got started.

Women Europeans & Open Trophy 

There’s always tight in top, and so it is in the Women’s fleet. French Charline Picon (FRA-4), 2014 RS:X World Champion, managed to win the medal race and jumped from the third place to the highest podium to be awarded as 2016 RS:X European Champion. Tied with Picon after being fourth in the medal race, 2012 London Olympics’ Bronze Zofia Noceti-Klepcaka (POL-8), claims 2016 European Silver. 2015 Youth World Champion Stefania Elfutina (RUS271) was fifth in the medal race and managed to complete the women’s podium being European Bronze now and also the best among U21.

Women Open Trophy – Top 5:

Gold and European Champion – Charline Picon FRA-4; 46 pts
Silver – Zofia Noceti-Klepacka POL-8; 46 pts
Bronze – Stefania Elfutina RUS-271; 50 pts – U21
4. Marta Maggetti ITA-157; 78 pts – U21
5. Isobel Hamilton GBR-30; 102 pts

See the full results here


Men Europeans & Open Trophy

2014 ISAF Worlds’ third, Thomas Goyard (FRA-4) was consistent and confident enough to win today’s Medal Race securing with only one-point-margin the title of the 2016 RS:X European Champion. Thomas said he had a very good Medal Race. “I had a very good start, a very good tactics to the first upwind mark, crossed the finish line first just Pawel Tarnowski behind me doing a very good comeback and this moment I felt, I did my best winning the Medal Race and if I want to win the Championship, it depends on Kieran and other guys – so I was waiting on the finish line to see the others coming through. Seeing Kieran on 8th place was exactly the place what I needed for me to win the Championship. This was exactly what happened and I could not believe until I checked the results from the finish boat and I was crazy happy to understand I’m the winner,” Goyard said with a big smile.

Leading the fleet on the preceding day, but finishing the Medal Race with 8th result, Kieran Holmes-Martin (GBR-11) wins RS:X Europan Silver medal. Very close racing for the third place as 2015 RS:X European Champion Pawel Tarnowski (POL-182) managed to finish second in Medal Race jumping from the 5th place to the podium winning European Bronze medal, tied with Mateo Sanz Lanz (SUI-36) as fourth.

Radoslaw Furmanski from Poland (POL-28)is the best in U21 Division ending on 6th place in overall ranking.
Men Open Trophy – Top 5:

Gold and European Champion – Thomas Goyard FRA-3; 40 pts
Silver – Kieran Holmes-Martin GBR-11; 41pts
Bronze – Pawel Tarnowski POL-182; 64 pts
4.  Mateo Sanz Lanz SUI-36; 64 pts
5. Przemyslaw Miarczynski POL-126; 69 pts

See the full results here

Youth Men Europeans & Open Trophy

Youth Men final top three ended the competition very close – just one point separated the medal winners. 2015 ISAF Youth World Champion, Titouan Le Bosq (FRA-719) claims the title of the 2016 RS:X Youth European Champion now. Being third in the medal race he managed to pass the current leader Tal Zadok (ISR-2), 2015 RS:X Youth European 7th , who was 8th in the medal race and gets the Youth European Silver.  Winning the medal race, 2015 RS:X Youth World Champion Sil Hoekstra (NED-25) completes the podium and gets Youth European Bronze now.

The best among the U17 is Tom Reuveny (ISR-60), being 5th in overall ranking.

Youth Men Open Trophy – Top 5:

Gold and Youth European Champion – Titouan Le Bosq FRA-719; 48 pts
Silver – Tal Zadok ISR-2; 49 pts
Bronze – Sil Hoekstra NeD-25; 50 pts
4. CamilleBouyer FRA-2; 53 pts
5.Tom Reuveny ISR-60;  59 pts – U17

See the full results here

Youth Women Europeans & Open Trophy

Triple victory to Israel, fourth place to Russia and fifth again to Israel! 2015 Youth European Champion Noy Drihan (ISR-20) managed to held on to her leading position with the second finish in the medal race and is 2016 RS:X Youth European Champion now. Maya Morris (ISR-7), 2015 RS:X Youth Europeans’ 6th, was third in the medal race and wins the title of the 2016 RS:X Youth European Silver. The Youth Women’s podium was completed by the third Israeli athlete Katy Spychakov (ISR-32) who was on the same podium place at the 2015 RS:X Youth Europeans in Mondello, Italy.

Sixteen year old Giorgia Speciale (ITA-1) is the best sailor in U17 division.
Youth Women Open Trophy – Top 5:

Gold and Youth European Champion – Noy Drihan ISR-20; 27 pts
Silver – Maya Morris ISR-7; 33 pts
Bronze – Katy Spychakov ISR-32; 42 pts
4. Mariam Sekhposyan RUS-13; 46 pts
5. Shoval Ravitzky ISR-65; 52 pts

See the full results here
209 athletes from 33 nations and 5 continents were competing  in Helsinki to test themselves at the final title event before stepping up to the biggest challenge of all at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Next to the European sailors many athletes were taking part from outside the Europe; for example Japan, Oman, Hong Kong, Seyshelles, Aruba, Thailand, Brazil, Mexico.

2016 RS:X European Windsurfing Championships & European Windsurfing Open Trophy included the 2016 Helsinki RS:X U21 Windsurfing Championships together with the 2016 RS:X Youth European Windsurfing Championships & Youth European Windsurfing Open Trophy included the 2016 Helsinki RS:X U17 Windsurfing Championships were organised by Helsinki Sail Racing Management (HSRM) in co-operation with the International RS:X Class Association on July 2nd to 9th.

Epic Final Day at Pistol River Wave Bash

Source: AWT

Image: AWT

It was an epic final day to close off a successful windsurfing event in Pistol River, Oregon. The judges waited until 1pm to allow the tide to turn, hoping for the best waves of the day and the wind to fill in. The nuclear winds forecast for the day held off until the first heat started with the Women’s semi final. From there, on it was a spectacular show of finals.

The Women’s final, in smoking winds saw all the women fighting for survival, whilst trying to hold down their sails as best as possible. That did not deter the multiple time Pistol River Wave Bash champion, Ingrid Larouche from going for a forward. She landed her the crown again here in Gold Beach, Oregon. Sarah Hauser came in second and Tatiana Howard secured third.

The Grand Masters was a very close heat, but local Pistol River protectorate, Dana Miller came out on top, with Dwight Bode coming second, and Colby Deer third.

The Men’s final was a very tight heat and an impressive jump fest. Russ Faurot was the first to land a big clean back loop, while well known Moroccan jumping King, Boujmaa Guilloul, didn’t fail to impress with some sick tweaked push loops and stalled forwards.

Kevin Pritchard went “balls to the wall” going for the double forward in nuking winds, and landing many of his trademark one footed back loops.

However, none of this was good enough to take down the naturally talented and stylish Morgan Noireaux, who threw in some crazy high tweaked maneuvers to steal the win.

The event was wrapped up with an awards ceremony at the Clam Chowder House in the city of Gold Beach on Saturday for the Ams, Youths, and Masters. The Final of the Pro, Women and Grand Masters were awarded on the beach at the end of the afternoon today.

This leaves us with nothing more to do, but to sincerely thank all the competitors for coming out to play. Thanks to all the Sponsors and supporters of this years Pistol River Wave Bash, and an especially big thank you to AWT Tour Director Sam Bittner for putting everything into making the event happen year after year.

Results from the 2016 Pistol River Wave Bash

2016 Pistol River Wave bash results

Windsurfers on hold at Pistol River

Source: American Windsurfing Tour

Image: American Windsurfing Tour

Day two at Pistol River and whilst the conditions stayed at bay that did not by any means defeat the AWT souls from making the most of a day.

Riders all met bright and breezy at 7am with the feint hope of an early morning Southerly wind but after a beach check came back empty handed and with a promising forecast later in the week the judges called a lay day.

Conditions be damned in true AWT style all the Riders took full advantage of a free day.

As mentioned yesterday the turn out of women for this event is excellent and at mid morning all the ladies congregated for the ritual AWT ‘Ladies Tea Party’ which is designed to inspire non windsurfing women, beginners and competitors alike. There was some classic comments from competitors when put on the spot, such as multiple Pistol River Champion Ingrid Larouche whose aim for this event is simply, ‘not to injure myself badly’ and Cecelia who managed to inspire and motivate event the mighty Sam Bittner with her ambition of ‘just wanting to make it out and then hopefully back in again in order to prove to all the ladies out there that it is possible and you don’t have to be a legendary hulk to do this’.

The afternoon saw the drizzle clearing up and most opted to explore the stunningly beautiful surroundings of Gold Beach Oregon. From hiking trails in the near vicinity to beach runs, hot tubs and even jumping into the frigid Oregon ocean ‘solo con’ Bikini (OK only the mad did the later and it was swiftly followed by the hot tub!!).

Tomorrow looks like the waves will start to pick up and we should be able to begin heats.

Current Registered Riders
Anna Rohden Kevin McGillvray
Attila Tividar Luke Mathison
Boujmaa Guilloul Max Schettewi
Casey Hauser Mike Colee
Cecilia Tolly Morgan Noireaux
Colby Deer Peter Gill
Dana Miller Phil Soltysiak
Dwight Bode Ruben Lemmens
Ferdinando Loffreda Russ Faurot
Ingrid Larouche Sam Bittner
Jake Schettewi Sarah Hauser
James Lundin Si Crowther
Jeff Albright Tatiana Howard
Jesse Jared Cohen Tem Gronquist
Julien Taboulet Tony Litke
Kaeley Dawson Vickey Abbot
Kevin Pritchard Zee Schettewi

Pressure Rises at RS:X World Windsurfing Championships

Image: www.rsxclass.com/ Tiit Aunaste

Welcome to day two of the 2016 RS:X WORLD WINDSURFING CHAMPIONSHIPS and Eilat ­RS:X Under 21 Windsurfing Championships. The sailors have been preparing and training hard for this critical event – an early indication of performance before the 2016 Olympics. Fitness training is a crucial part of this intensely physical sport, helping athletes to gain an advantage over their opponents.

RSX racing demands that sailors are extremely fit and flexible. Athletes racing at this level have to maintain a champion physique for a winning performance, whatever the conditions.

Image: www.rsxclass.com/ Tiit Aunaste
Image: www.rsxclass.com/ Tiit Aunaste

The second day of racing saw the fleet grow ever more familiar with Eilat’s Sea state and wind conditions whilst the favourites of the regatta continued to establish themselves. Blasting off the starting line, competitors who could maintain the pressure in their sail and take every tactical advantage were able to consolidate their place on the leader board.

After four races, London’s silver medalist Nick Dempsey and Poland’s Pawel Tarnowski were the ones to watch – putting the pressure on those chasing the pack.
Both managed to get to the top of the leaderboard, with an equal score, a tense position to be in at the close of play.

Malgorzata Bialecka is dominating in women’s fleet after scoring three bullets in four races confirming Poland’s notorious reputation in the class. There are only a few points separating the women from 2nd to 10th position so anything can happen in the fight for the title.

Image: www.rsxclass.com/ Tiit Aunaste
Image: www.rsxclass.com/ Tiit Aunaste

There’s no racing scheduled for tomorrow, giving the sailors a chance to relax in Beautiful Eilat and get ready for final series races on Thursday.

You can find the results here: http://www.rsxclass.com/worlds2016/?page_id=188

There were no races scheduled for day three, so the participating windsurfers took the chance to explore this unique city and play tourist for the day.

The action will continue tomorrow when the final series of races will get underway. All eyes are looking to the next few days for a spot in those sought after medal races and ultimately for a chance for the world title.

Source: Icarus Sailing Media

RS:X World Windsurfing Championships Underway in Eilat

Image: Aunaste/RSX Class

Welcome to Eilat, Israel’s most southern spot. The combination of warm tropical waters and beautiful coral reef running along the sandy shores of the Red Sea provide the perfect venue for one of the most competitive and exciting Olympic classes – the RS:X. You join us for the RS:X WORLD WINDSURFING CHAMPIONSHIPS and Eilat RS:X Under 21 Windsurfing Championships where experienced professionals as well as the youth of the sport, start their bid for the Championship title.

The RS:X was selected as Olympic equipment for the 2008 Olympic Games. The board measures 286 cm in length and 93 cm in width with a buoyancy of 231 liters. The rig is almost exactly the same for men and women, the only difference is the size of the sail; 9,5 square meters for men and a slightly smaller 8,5 square meters for women –either way, there’s more than enough power to make this piece of kit fly.

The first day of racing saw a grand Opening for the 2016 RS:X WORLD WINDSURFING CHAMPIONSHIPS with 81 men and 58 women all aiming to establish themselves in the fleet and in the game as they begin their fight for the world title. With only a few months until the Olympic Games, the level of performance here is extremely high with sailors already starting to reach the peak of their performance.

Olympic Medallists and World Champions are here to defend their reputation with the likes of Shahar Zubari and Piotr Myszka seizing the lead in men’s fleet, after 1 race and under extremely tricky conditions.

In the women’s fleet after an intense day of racing, Polish Zofia Noceti Klepacka came to the front, excelling after a brilliant day on the water to stake her claim as the leader ahead of the second day. A massive confidence boost for the races ahead.

That’s the state of play after Day 1 at the 2016 RS:X Worlds.

You can find the results here: http://www.rsxclass.com/worlds2016/?page_id=188

Source: Icarus Sailing Media

SIM 35th Open Windsurfing Championship 2016 – The Movie

Image: www.howiephoto.com

In sailing, it doesn’t matter your age, whether you are a student or an athlete, if you choose to sail in smaller classes or the Olympic events – the goals are the same. Secure a clear start, maintain maximum speed, make the least mistakes, keep consistent and cross the finish line first!

The SIM 35th showed the unique characteristics of sailing across all these aspects… The clear start made by Prapart Sang–Neem in RS:One and Lemmy Teo in Raceboard was enough to earn their victories. In the SIM Windsurfing Championships 2016, the students of Singapore Management University made the least mistakes, dominating to win 4 out of 5 classes, with the final victory going to the Singapore Institute of Management.

Thailand’s young athlete Bonyarit Sangngoen won the Techno293 with a virtually flawless performance. A similar level of superiority was on the scorecard of Singapore’s Audrey Yong who dominated the RSX Women’s fleet. A clear win too from the experienced Chris Newman in the Formula fleet.

A consistent top three scoreline in the RSX Men fleet from Indonesia’s 4-time Olympian Oka Sulaksana. Victory was close though, by just 1 point over Singapore’s Leonard Ong.

The SIM 35th closed with an atmospheric ceremony and tributes to the winners and podium finishers. Yet again sailing demonstrated its embracing of diversity – whatever your goals, sailing has a pathway for you.

Source: Icarus Sailing Media

Top Windsurfers head to Eilat for RS:X World Championships

Photo: Vincenzo Baglione/albaria.com

With just a few weeks to go to the 2016 RS:X World Championships in Eilat, Israel, the provisional entry list is shaping up to be an intense showdown.

Taking place from 20-27 February and hosted at Eilat Sailing Center, the Worlds will be contested over 5 race days, with the 13 race series unfolding on the stunning waters of the Red Sea. The World Championships will be a platform for athletes to test themselves on a big stage, before stepping up to the biggest challenge of all at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Whilst many athletes are already confirmed to represent their nation on the Olympic startling line, for others it is still all about securing that critical national selection nod for the final guarantee of a spot in Rio, and their performance at the Worlds could make all the difference.

Twenty-three nations are so far represented in the provisional entry lists, with plenty of big players in both the Men and Women fleets, including reigning Olympic Champions, World Champions and top ranked athletes.

This close to the 2016 Olympic Games, every event is a dress rehearsal, but by the time the first race at the RS:X Worlds kicks off on Monday 22 February, there will only be 166 days to go until the Opening Ceremony in Rio. So the Championship will also be one of the last building blocks in preparation, where athletes can measure themselves against their main contenders to assess strengths and weaknesses. Whilst the quest for World Championship medals will be intense, it will also be about preparing final cues ready for race time at the Olympics. With the proximity to the Olympics though, no-one will want to risk injury or fatigue, which no doubt will be in the back of minds.

Windsurfing is one of Israel’s most popular watersports, and the nation’s athletes have achieved global acclaim on Olympic and World Championship stages over many years. Hopes are their sailors will thrive on home waters.

Brony Shaw,RSX 8.5,GBR 94 © Paul Wyeth
Brony Shaw,RSX 8.5,GBR 94 © Paul Wyeth

Plenty of firepower is in the tanks of Great Britain’s Bryony Shaw who maintained her place as World #1 after an assertive win at World Cup Miami at the end of January. Shaw claimed silver at the 2015 RS:X Worlds in Oman, 5 points adrift from gold medallist Peina Chen. Victory in Israel would mark her career high point at a World Championship, and add to her bronze medal from the 2008 Olympics.

Shaw will face plenty of competition though, not least from 2012 Olympic Gold Medallist Marina Alabau Neira of Spain. Also sitting right behind the Brit, in second place both at World Cup Miami and on the World Rankings, is the Netherlands’ Lilian De Geus. De Geus also stepped up to the podium at the 2015 RS:X Worlds, securing a bronze medal.

Moving up to world ranked #4 is Poland’s Malgorzata Bialecka, who found her groove in 2015, notching up a silver medal at the Europeans and the 2015 Rio Test Event. Recent form, together with a 5th at the 2015 RS:X Worlds, puts her well within fighting contention for the medals in Israel.

Maayan Davidovich is chasing her second Olympic appearance, and will sail an RS:X Class World Championship for the first time on home waters. Davidovich picked up the bronze medal at the 2014 Worlds, behind Picon and Alabau, but has beaten them since. A bronze at the 2013 RS:X Worlds too, that time beaten by Shaw and another Israel superstar Lee-El Korzits. This time around, Davidovich has had plenty of time to train on home waters, and will have her nation’s hopes pinned on her shoulders.
2012 Olympic Silver Medallist Tuuli Petäjä-Sirén of Finland sits at #15 on the world rankings, and after an all-consuming 2015 season of competition which ended with a disappointing 28th place at the 2015 RS:X Worlds, is intent on upgrading her result in Eilat, so has been focused on training. Outside of her Olympic medal, a 4th place counts as her career best at a Worlds bets

Facing off against the big names are plenty of other sailors, all ready and able to make their claim on the leaderboard.

Dorian van Rijsselberge © ISAF
Dorian van Rijsselberge © ISAF

The new world #1 in the RS:X Men is Aichen Wang who has stepped up to the RS:X headlines in the past couple of years. His silver medal at the 2015 RS:X Worlds and third at World Cup Miami , built on his victory at last year’s Rio Test Event. Two-time Olympian Wang has super speed and is certainly the hot favourite, although with so much depth in performance, the fight will be tightly balanced with a host of other showmen.

The 2012 Olympic Champion, Dorian Van Rijsselberge of the Netherlands, goes into the Worlds with the most recent win to his credit; gold at World Cup Miami. He won the 2011 RS:X Worlds and has also stood on the podium in 2009, 2013 and 2014. This hugely experience contender knows exactly when to pull his top performances out of the bag.

Defending RS:X Men World Champion and world #14 Pierre Le Coq of France was unstoppable in Oman, leading the Worlds from start to finish. He will again face team mate and 2014 RS:X World Champion Julien Bontemps as their battle for Olympic selection closes in on the final few events. Bontemps carried France’s hopes at the 2012 Olympics, finishing 5th. Both though will be challenged by a host of other young French talent, including Thomas Goyard whose performance escalated last year.
World#2 Ivan Pastor claimed the headlines with a win at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final last year, but is still to claim his first medal at an RS:X Worlds, despite many years on the cusp of glory. Pastor will be bringing all his 18 years of international event experience onto the race track and knows what it takes to win.

Great Britain is yet to name its representative to Rio 2016, but if one of the nation’s contenders makes an appearance on the podium in Israel, they will be in a strong position. World #5 Tom Squires played out a mixed season in 2015, going from podium results to finishes well down in the fleet, showing form a little less predictable than rival and four-time Olympian Nick Dempsey. Dempsey sits at world #10, and despite being off the podium for the last two years, won the RS:X Worlds in 2013, just a few months after wrapping up silver at the 2012 Olympics, which was an upgrade from Olympic bronze in 2004.

Ever strong in windsurfing, Poland is fielding four sailors in the RS:X Men, led by national hero and seasoned athlete Przemyslaw Miarczynski. He was off form at last year’s Worlds in a shocker of a result, compared to his silver medal at the 2014 Worlds and bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics. Miarczynski’s third place in Miami last month is a boost as he aims to again exert his superiority over Pawel Tarnowski, who beat him at the 2015 Worlds year and sits ahead on the world rankings. Miarczynski will hunt down his opponents as he takes every opportunity to confirm what would be his fifth Olympic appearance.

Nimrod Mashiah is currently Israel’s top ranked windsurfer at #39, but don’t let what could be considered a low ranking undervalue this player, as he has not competed at that many events in the past year. Mashiah secured bronze at both the 2010 and 2011 RS: X Worlds, and silver in 2009. Familiarity with home waters may also play in his favour. One of the youngest competing will be Israel’s Yoav Omer, a 17 year old who will no doubt rise to the challenge thrown down by Mashiah and the other big names. Omer has already tasted success, winning gold at the 2015 RS:X Youth Worlds.

Come the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, there will be 36 athletes in the RS:X Men and 26 in the RS:X Women competing. Nations so far qualified are detailed at: www.sailing.org/olympics/rio2016

Most of the Rio 2016 Olympic qualification places have been claimed by nations, with just the Asian and European Continental Qualification Events to go. The ASAF Cup in Abu Dhabi and the Trofeo Princesa Sofia in Mallorca , will see one spot on offer for one Asian and one European nation in each of the RS:X Men and RS:X Women.

Source: Icarus Sailing Media

Jason Polakow Goes Big Wave Windsurfing at Nazaré

Nazare, Portugal on February 02, 2016 © Daniel Deak Bardos/Red Bull Content Pool

It’s the big-wave mecca and it’s never been ridden by a wind-powered athlete – until this Tuesday, when Australia’s Jason Polakow windsurfed for the first time the liquid mountains of Praia do Norte, in Nazaré, Portugal.

Aged 44, the big wave windsurfer and two-time wave-sailing world champion found a new challenge: riding the 13m (43ft) waves of this infamous location on the Atlantic coast.

Jason Polakow © Helio Antonio / Red Bull Content Pool
Jason Polakow © Helio Antonio / Red Bull Content Pool

Polakow prepared for a year, studying and observing the Portuguese spot, finding the right support and safety crew before he felt ready to tackle some of the world’s biggest waves.

On Tuesday, February 2, 2016, the conditions were favourable, finally allowing him to windsurf it.

“It’s a very challenging and unique spot; no wave breaks in the same place and the height is very difficult to judge,” he said in a first statement after spending five hours in the water. “Chasing huge waves is my passion, so after seeing amazing images from big wave surfers, I just had to try.

“I’ve surfed all the big waves around the world and I must say that for me, Nazaré has been the most difficult and challenging. The waves are coming from many different angles at the same time, making it extremely difficult to judge and be safe.

“Water safety was my main concern, so having the two most experienced surfers – Andrew Cotton (UK) and Hugo Vau (POR) – taking care of me, and George Leal aka “Jesus” communicating with the water safety crew, I was feeling confident.

“The session we had was a great start for me in Nazaré, as I caught some huge waves. I’ve had a difficult but exciting adrenalized time out there and it’s for sure one of the highlights of my career!”

Nazare, Portugal © Helio Antonio / Red Bull Content Pool
Nazare, Portugal © Helio Antonio / Red Bull Content Pool
Jason Polakow windsurfs huge Nazare, Portugal on February 02, 2016 © Jorge Leal / Red Bull Content Pool
Jason Polakow windsurfs huge Nazare, Portugal on February 02, 2016 © Jorge Leal / Red Bull Content Pool

Source: Red Bull Media House