8th of March 2012

NSW Windsurfing series report - Formula 167's first championship?

The NSW Windsurfing series is the premier Formula race series in Australia. This series really showcases the quality of racing that well organised Formula events can deliver, taking place in some idyllic Australian locations such as Hawks Nest and Jervis Bay, as well as closer to more populated centres such as Lake Macquarie near Newcastle and Botany Bay in Sydney.

The 2011/12 season series saw a total of 66 racers hotly contesting 7 rounds, comprising a total of 42 races held in conditions ranging from 8-30knots. Featuring well known racers Jesper Vesterstrom, Wilhelm Schurmann, Mathias Pinheiro and Australia's own Sean O'Brien all making appearances, while even the World's #1 ranked formula windsurfer Paulo Dos Reis participated in some rounds. This series also featured the global debut of the new Starboard Formula 167 Wide, which has proven extremely competitive and quickly becoming de rigueur with top racers worldwide.

Held over the Australian summer, the series has just concluded with the last event in Jervis with Mike Nelson (Starboard, Neil Pryde, VMG Blades) taking the overall win. An experienced and popular racer from a family with a long association with windsurfing in Australia, this was Mike's sixth NSW Windsurfing series win, but his first in six years.

Mike Nelson:
"I feel so happy and relieved to finish the series in first place - the first time I've won it in a while!

We started back in October with Heat 1, which was epic. Our first racing back from a long winter and we were racing in 25-30 knots - I had great board speed but couldn't keep it upright enough and finished 11th - not a great start!

Heat 2 was perfect Formula conditions and also was the world wide debut for the 167W - the board instantly felt great and I finished (a distant) second to Jesper who was on fire on his 167W.

Heats 3 and 4 were again great conditions and I again scored seconds to different winners. Three seconds in three events had brought me right back into contention after Heat 1.

Heat 5 was Formula Nirvana with perfect sunshine, 12-20knots all weekend and 5 of the world's top professionals in the field. The NSW fleet in itself is extremely competitive, but the inclusion of the top guys made it intense, and it was amazing to sail with these guys - I was pretty happy to come sixth!

Heats 6 and 7 were again blessed by perfect wind and I needed a top 5 result to take the series win in the last event - everyone else sailed like they had nothing to loose and the racing was ballistic - good starts and a solid upwind was barely enough to be in the top ten around the first upwind mark. I scrambled enough to finish 5th, just enough to seal the series win.

Its really tough to be competitive every event, particularly when there's only one drop so consistency is the key. I'm stoked to have won, and kudos to Byron McLlveen (Patrik, Point 7) who kept the pressure all the way till the end.

Massive thanks to Neil Pryde, Starboard (and Ian Fox), Sam and the guys at WindSurfnSnow and Chris and VMG Blades for their support."