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Professional windsurfing comes to Eastbourne - Slalom wrapup

The Wellington Windsurfing Association Eastbourne Slalom Plus event on the 29th and 30th of November stepped it up a notch this year with the presence of three competitors from the final round of the Professional Windsurfing Association (PWA) World Slalom Tour in New Caledonia.

Two kiwi sailors, the current NZ Open Mens and Youth Slalom Champion Laurence Carey (NZL-252, North/Starboard) and the veteran Tim Wood (NZL-7, GA Sails/Tabou) had just returned from the event last weekend where they both performed creditably alongside the worlds best, bringing with them Basti Kordel (GER-220, GA Sails), a PWA sailor from Germany who was 21st in New Caledonia. The anticipated matchup between these three did not occur as Laurence Carey was nursing a badly sprained ankle and under doctors orders did not race, but did a great job recording the race finishes, never an easy task.
Laurence, Tim and Basti Kordel taking a break under the new WNZ banner. - Photo:Isaac Spedding

This year the event was also the third leg in the North Island Cup series, and although Laurence had guaranteed his first place in this competition by winning the Tauranga and Auckland legs the other places were still to be determined.

As always, the event attracted over 20 sailors from as far away as Christchurch to Auckland and Tauranga, with Wellington’s almost guaranteed wind, and Eastbourne’s hospitality being hard to resist. The range other activities available in Eastbourne, both on and off the water, mean that any visit would be enjoyable in those situations where the wind was not strong enough, but expectations were high given the 60 knots that started the event last year. The event was aided this year by the recently installed wind meter funded by the community board and installed with the help of the local Eastbourne Fire Brigade. The wind patterns showed that Wellington Harbour typically has less than 12 hours out of every 3 or 4 days when the wind drops below sailing speeds of 15-16 knots, ideal for events like this.

Eastbourne delivered the goods again, delivering 17 to 20 knot winds for both days ensuring a good number of races were completed. Races were over quickly with two laps around a figure of 8 course set across the harbour between the point at Robinson Bay (opposite the recreation ground) and Makaro (Ward) Island.

Counting down to the start - Photo:Isaac Spedding

Our foreign visitor dominated on day one showing why his world ranking is currently 26th, but unfortunately he had to fly out the next day so could not complete the event, leaving the door open for PWA veteran Tim Wood to take out the event. The out of town sailors dominated with Dave Steele, the best Wellington sailor in 2013 showing the way to the locals again in the gold fleet. Local William Novak also did well in the Silver fleet, sailing part of the time on wave sailing gear, the ‘weapon of choice’ for many non racing Wellingtonians.

Final results (top 3 only)
Gold Fleet - Tim Wood (Auckland), Harry Reed (Auckland), Chris Dimock (Christchurch)
Silver Fleet - Alexander Stroh (Auckland), William Novak (Wellington) and John Davies (Tauranga).

The event provided an eye catching spectacle to the beach at Robinson Bay, with plenty of flags and brightly coloured boards and sails across the beach. A windsurfing simulator was set up with a learner board, and local kids were able to try out windsurfing without getting wet. The Lions storage area in the sports hall provided a great base for the event out of the wind with several Lions members helping out with registrations and general support. The adjacent Eastbourne Sports and Services Club provided barbeque equipment for the hungry competitors, with food and snacks donated by Pak n Save, and fruit from Eastbourne Fruit Supply. On day 2 the competitors were treated to baked potatoes and carrot cake!

Happy Dave Steele with his new wet suit (NZSailing.net) - Photo:Isaac Spedding.

On the Saturday night the competitors all adjourned to the Garden Bar at the main sponsor, Brew’d Lifeboat Eastbourne for beer, wine and pizza. Windsurfing can tend to be a solitary sport, so the social events are highly valued and enjoyed, and Brew’d never fails to please in this regard.

Windsurfing retailers donated generous spot prizes including a $500 wetsuit, fin bag, windsurfing accessories and books, and vouchers, so most competitors went away with something.

The event finished about 3pm, allowing the visitors to pack up and start their long journeys home in anticipation of next year!

The event was a great success, and next year could be even better. Consideration will be given to creating a class specifically for wave sailing equipment to attract more locals to the event, and the presence of more overseas sailors could be encouraged by again scheduling the event to follow the New Caledonia PWA competition.


Acknowledgements

Eastbourne Lions Club for providing the premises and the registration personnel.
Eastbourne Sports and Services Club for the use of the BBQ and their premises and services.
Eastbourne Fire Brigade for installation of the wind meter.
Eastbourne Community Board for ongoing support and funding
Hutt City Council for support in developing the area for wind sports

Brew’d Lifeboat Eastbourne for their generous hosting of the social evening - they rock!
Leo Sullivan / Petone Pak’n’Save for providing all the BBQ food plus snacks, drinks & sunblock - epic!
Eastbourne Fruit Supply for fruit - sweet!

Vic Crookes (windsurfer) race starts (racing next year Vic!).
Sam Price (windsurfer) boat driver/course setting (Ocean Academy - also racing next year we hope!)
Isaac Spedding (kiteboarder) general wingman & BBQ operator and foodie.
Laurence Carey (National Champion / injured) starter (racing next year unless he’s competing overseas in the PWA!)
Marilyn Auton Wood - Results calculation (even while at home in Auckalnd sick, hope you're feeling better Maz)

Spot prizes
NZSailing.net (http://www.nzsailing.net - Windsurfing & Watersports gear) - wet suit
Epic Surf (http://www.epicsurf.co.nz/ - water sports gear) - fin bag and windsurfing accessories
A’nd Distribution (http://gaastra.co.nz/ - windsurfing and SUP) - books and harness lines
Ocean Outfitters (http://www.oceanoutfitters.co.nz/ - windsurf, kite, SUP) - vouchers
Isaac Spedding (http://isaacspedding.com/ video production/ consultation) - voucher
Team 10 (http://www.meanlinefins.com/ ) - T-shirts

Results

More info
Wellington Windsurfing Association http://wwa.org.nz/
Wind meter http://www.windguruspot.cz/189
PWA http://www.pwaworldtour.com/
Windsurfing NZ http://windsurfingnz.org/

Contact Bruce Spedding winzurf@gmail.com / 02102974741

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