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RS:X Olympic Class Windsurfing Worlds on Home Waters

Early in the New Year windsurfers from around the world will converge on North Shore City to battle it out for the world titles.

Local heroes, Barbara Kendall, Tom Ashley and Jon-Paul Tobin will have the opportunity to contest the world championships on the Olympic board on home waters for the first time ever.

“It's great to get a chance to compete at home for a change. It's a very good opportunity to test myself one last time before starting my final preparation for Qingdao,” says Tom Ashley.

The Men’s and Women’s RS:X windsurfing World Championships are being sailed off Takapuna Beach; racing will start on Sunday 13th January. With just 40 days before the start of competition, the count down is on and preparation and planning switches into top gear.

The RS:X World Championships regatta is just eight months out from the Olympic Games 2008 being sailed in Qingdao, China, and therefore will be an important lead-up regatta for many. Add to that the opportunity for nations who haven’t yet qualified for the Olympic Games 2008 to grab the last few places, the event is set to attract an unprecedented fleet of windsurfers to Auckland.

Another two Olympic class World Championships will be hosted by the Takapuna Boating Club in early 2008 with the Tornado World Championships late in February followed by the Laser Radial World Championships in March. Both of these also represent the final opportunity for national qualification to the Olympic Games for those nations which haven’t yet qualified to send a representative to Qingdao.

Who are the top kiwi contenders?

Barbara Kendall

Barbara Kendall will represent New Zealand in the Olympic Games 2008 – it will be her fifth Olympic Games. Kendall has won Olympic Gold (1992), Silver (1996) and Bronze (2000) in her windsurfing career to date and remains New Zealand’s hottest female performer in the sport at 40 years of age.

Now confirmed as the New Zealand Olympic representative Kendall’s focus is to condition herself and train for the unique light wind conditions expected in Qingdao in August 2008 – hence this World Championships is not a pinnacle event for her. However, it does provide her with an opportunity to line-up against the world’s best and see where she measures up, eight months out from the Games.

Highlights for Kendall in 2007:
Silver Medal World Championships, Cascais, Portugal
Gold Medal & overall trophy at ISAF Grade 2 Princess Sofia Regatta, Mallorca, Spain

Tom Ashley

Tom Ashley also has confirmation of his position in the New Zealand Olympic Team for China. It will be Ashley’s second Olympic Games having been part of the Athens team in 2004, where he placed 10th.

Like Kendall, Ashley is now focussed on preparing himself for Qingdao where conditions bear little resemblance to those of the Inner Hauraki Gulf off Takapuna Beach. Despite this Ashley is looking forward to sailing in home waters and will use the opportunity to size up the opposition.

Highlights for Ashley in 2007:
Gold Medal Pre-Olympics Regatta, Qingdao, China
Gold Medal ISAF Grade 2 Princess Sofia Regatta, Mallorca, Spain
Gold Medal ISAF Grade 1Semaine Olympique Francaise, Hyeres, France

Jon-Paul Tobin

Jon-Paul Tobin, like Kendall and Ashley is at home on the waters off Takapuna Beach. For him this will be the pinnacle event for 2008 and with his solid and accomplished career in Olympic class windsurfing he is capable of a top result.

Highlights for Tobin in 2007:
8th at ISAF Grade 1 RS:X European Championships, Cyprus
6th at ISAF Grade 2 Princess Sofia Regatta, Mallorca, Spain
Bronze Medal at ISAF Grade 1 Sail Auckland Regatta, NZ

Where will racing take place?

Racing will take place on the waters of the Inner Hauraki Gulf a short distance from Takapuna Beach and the Takapuna Boating Club on Auckland’s North Shore. Windsurfers will prepare and sail from the Takapuna Boating Club.

Expected Entries

RS:X Men’s World Championships – Up to 120 sailors from over 40 countries
RS:X Women’s World Championships – Up to 80 sailors from around 30 countries

See for the up to date entry lists.

Olympic Qualification

RS:X Men: Nine more countries will earn national qualification for the Olympic Games 2008 at this event. In total 35 sailors will be on the start line in Qingdao, China.

RS:X Women: Seven more countries will earn national qualification for the Olympic Games 2008 at this event. In total 28 sailors will be on the start line in Qingdao, China.

Likely conditions

The average conditions that can be expected in January are: wind speeds between 5-25 knots, water temperatures +20C and air temperatures 18-25C.

What’s the format?

Men’s and Women’s divisions will race separately, each in a maximum 11 race series over 7 days which shall include one reserve day. The reserve day may be used for racing if required.

Racing is scheduled to start at midday each day. The event shall consist of course racing on Trapezoidal or windward/leeward courses and “gates” may be used in place of single leeward marks.


Date Day Times Event
9th January Wednesday Arrival
10th January Thursday 0900 - 1600 hrs Registration & Measurement
11th January Friday 0900 – 1600 hrs
1800 hrs
Registration & Measurement
12th January Saturday 0900 – 1200 hrs
1300 hrs
1600 hrs
Registration & Measurement
Practice Race
Coaches Meeting
13th January Sunday 1200 hrs Racing
14th January Monday 1200 hrs Racing
15th January Tuesday 1200 hrs Racing
16th January Wednesday 1200 hrs Reserve Day
17th January Thursday 1200 hrs Racing
18th January Friday 1200 hrs Racing
19th January Saturday 1200 hrs
1900 hrs
Racing & Medal Races
Last possible warning signal
Prize Giving & Closing Ceremony
20th January Sunday Departure

What is a Medal Race?

The format for racing at the Olympic Games has changed since Athens 2004 with the introduction of the Medal Race.

The idea is that at the end of the race series only the top ten sail one final race that counts for double-points. Sailors are not allowed to discard their medal race result from their points total which means the pressure really comes on. A good medal race can snatch victory and a bad medal race can spell disaster.

On-water umpiring during the medal race ensures that there is no protest room delay following racing and sailors, media and spectators can watch the medals un-fold.

About the Neil Pryde RS:X Board

The RS:X is a tightly controlled One-Design class selected by ISAF for use at the 2008 Olympic Regatta and probably also for 2012. Racers therefore all use the same equipment. In Qingdao, China where the board is being sailed in the Olympics for the very first time, Neil Pryde, the manufacturer, will supply the equipment.

Previous World Championships have been held in Lake Garda, Italy (September 2006) and Cascais, Portugal (July 2007 – part of the ISAF World Championships for Olympic Classes) Takapuna, North Shore City is therefore the third ever worlds for the RS:X and the first time that any Olympic windsurfing Worlds has ever been held in New Zealand.

Further information is available from:

2008 RS:X World Championship website:
International RS:X Class Association Rory Ramsden Mail:
Takapuna Boating Club Denise Parris Tel: 021 016 76499
Yachting New Zealand Jodie Bakewell-White Tel : 0292 008 492
Mail :

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