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Craigs Investment Partners Eastbourne Slalom Plus 5-6 December 2015

Eastbourne once again turned it on for the windsurfers, with winds from 25 to 30 knots for most of the day allowing 13 races to be completed.
Conditions were fast and demanding with plenty of spills and some close finishes for the 22 sailors who turned up to sample the windiest city in the world.

The Gold fleet started offshore racing 5 legs to give spectators a great view of both the first mark and the finish. The Silver fleet opted for beach starts, not without it’s own challenges, and raced 4 legs. Just returned from the Professional Windsurfing Association (PWA) competition in Noumea, New Caledonia, Auckland windsurfers Laurence Carey and Tim Wood showed their class placing first and second in the Gold fleet, with Tim closely followed by Luke Holliday and Harry Reid. Laurence Carey is the current New Zealand Slalom Champion and placed 25th in Noumea which bodes well for his 2016 season when he will be seriously racing on the PWA circuit. Windsurfing is arguably New Zealand’s most successful sailing sport internationally and Laurence hopes to add his name to the list.

In the Silver fleet local Eastbourne sailor Peter Haan was the clear leader, with John Davies (Tauranga), Esteban Funes and William Novak (both Wellington) closely grouped in the next positions. It was good to see sailors from Auckland, Tauranga and Rotorua competing alongside an increased number of local sailors, and bodes well for future events.

Local support has always been strong for this event, led this year by principal sponsors Craigs Investment Partners, with regulars Petone Pak’n’Save, Brew’d Tavern, Eastbourne Fruit Supplies, Eastbourne Lions and Eastbourne Sports and Services Club. Industry support came also from NZ Sailing, Epic Sports, Wild Winds and Gaastra/Tabou. Lucky sailors went away with spot prizes totalling around $2000 including a wetsuit, rigging jacket, fin bags, accessories and clothing.

The success of this event bodes well for the future, with hopes to extend the range of activities to include kiteboarding, stand-up paddling and other water sports as the Eastbourne Extreme event, similar to an event run in namesake Eastbourne in the UK.

The success of the event also adds credibility to the proposal to bid to host a round of the PWA Slalom Series in the future, which would be a huge boost to the Wellington region and put the city on the world map of windsurfing.

Special thanks to the volunteers, especially Sam Price (Ocean Sports Academy) and Alex Dean who spent all day on the water in the start/rescue boat.
images Lean van Heerden and Dave McPhee/WildWinds
(for more information etc. please contact Bruce Spedding, 02102974741/

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