22nd of January 2008, Australia, 2008 Oceanic & Australian FW Championships

Extreme winds on the first day of competition.

The first day of competition of the 2008 Formula Windsurfing Oceanic and Australian Championships got off to a ballistic start with high winds and large seas pelting the course for the entire day, forcing the competitors to remain on the beach for most of day. With important points for the Formula Windsurfing (FW) World Ranking up for grabs as well as five qualification places for the 2008 World Championships, competitors didn’t want to let the wind go to waste despite the race director’s decision to abandon racing today due to the high winds.

By 9am at the beach the wind gusts were already up to 30 knots and with the forecast of up to 40 knots in the afternoon it looked from an early stage that racing would be action packed if at all possible. This did not stop the festivities on the beach from happening and the sailors who arrived early to register and sign-on were greeted by music from popular local Brisbane DJ act, Neon Wolves and fashion parades from Australian swimwear label, Hive Swimwear. With two bikini model fashion parades from Hive Swimwear during the morning and swimwear product available at the Hive Tent, the morning was spent relaxing on the beach watching the girls and catching up with old friends arriving at the beach to race.

Competitors from all over the world are attending this event with sailors from Greece, Denmark, Norway and New Zealand already registered as well as a strong contingent of Australian sailors from all over the country.

With frequent gusts over 35 knots during the morning and the winds consistently over 30 knots the race director decided to abandon racing for the day at 2pm and with still three days of racing left in the event many sailors revelled in the option to not get wet in the trying conditions. Despite the early-leave ticket given, two-time World Champion Steve Allen (AUS-0) began the call for sailors who wanted to test out the trying conditions rigging his new Gaastra Vapor formula board and Vapor sail. This prompted a number of sailors to rig their smaller formula kit including Danish Pro Jesper Vesterstrom (DEN-111), defending champion Sean O’Brien (AUS-120) and “adopted” Aussie Jesper Orth (AUS-10) amongst others.

In total 8 sailors made it out on the water and the rest watching from the beach cheered on the brave sailors facing the tough conditions. With 2-3m swells on the course and gusty winds up to and over 35 knots there were many spectacular crashes and close calls as the sailors made their way upwind and downwind for a practice run.

The forecast is for the wind to drop off only slightly to 20-25 knots tomorrow which will allow the competitors their first opportunity to race on the new 2008 equipment. But with the swell building overnight from today’s wind, the conditions will still be challenging and exciting for the competitors over the next few days.

Further information about the FW Oceanic & Australian Championships as well as a media service with press releases, results, rankings, background information and photo/video downloads can be found on the official website www.fw-australia.com.

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francesco | 22nd January 2008 (17:42:50)

special regards to tibor from italian friends.
we wait for you .

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