Port St. Louis ISA Speedsurfing Grand Prix Review
A historic event took place in the south of France from 02.04.-10.04.2005.
Expected as the showdown of the probably two fastest men in the world, Finian Maynard and Bjorn Dunkerbeck, it became the start of a new era for the discipline of windsurfing.
It all started back in 2002, when Bjorn Dunkerbeck initiated a world record attempt on Fuerteventura. And now, eight years after the last official Speed Worldcup, the little town of Port St. Louis in the south of France saw the kickoff for the new world tour of speed windsurfing.
More than 100 competitors from 14 nations registered for this first event with a brand new ProAm concept – everybody is invited to compete with the pros. In daily qualification runs the best amateurs can win a starting place for the pro fleet and face Bjorn and Finian directly.
The first competition day saw speed conditions on a minimum level – onshore winds and a little chop. Thus the speeds were low with a top of 34 knot by Antoine Albeau.
The next days had only enough wind for some training and fun – nothing worth to mention. But really strong winds were forecasted for the weekend, and the “true mistral”, the big wind of the south, ought to show his full strength.
The last two days of competition were run in epic conditions of 50-60 knots of wind on the course with gusts of 80 knots. On Saturday evening the race had to be stopped due to security reasons – the life boats weren’t able to go out. Flying water, boards and rigs everywhere.
On Sunday the race was continued, with Finian Maynard doing some security runs and going off to the nearly St. Maries de la mer to break the world record. Coming back from there, windsurfing was in a new era – 48.7 knots, 2 knots faster than the old record.
The event in Port St. Louis was dominated by Antoine Albeau, who won three out of four legs and also had the events best speed with 40.1 knot. Bjorn Dunkerbeck finished second, Finian Maynard third. In the womens fleet Valerie Ghibaudo took the victory over Marianne Tertian and Christine Pihan.
Next stop of the Speedsurfing Grand Prix Tour is Fuerteventura Island, starting on July 22nd.