PWA World Tour, Fuerteventura

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Fuerteventura

The 2006 PWA World Tour came to Fuerteventura in July for the 2nd Slalom 42 Grand Slam event. Fuerteventura is one of the larger Canary Islands, a little out to sea off the north western coast of Africa. This was Sean’s first PWA World Tour event and there was no better place to do it than Fuerte! This is really one of the world’s windsurfing meccas; perfect sandy beaches and crystal clear flat water as well as the super windy conditions every day!

On the second day of racing, Sean badly sliced his foot open, making the rest of the week quite difficult to race. He finished all the races however, dropping back a few places to 28th by the end of the week.

Fuerteventura: Windsurf Heaven!!

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Fuerteventura
I arrived on the sunny island of Fuerteventura late on a Monday afternoon. “Fuerte” is one of the more popular of the Spanish Canary Islands, just a stone’s throw away from Gran Canaria, Teneriffe and Lanzarote. Having never been here before I only knew Fuerte by the photos on the PWA websites, the long stretches of white sandy beaches and crystal clear, flat water. The taxi drivers at the airport are prepared to deal with surfers and after selecting one with roof racks I had my 80kg triple board bag strapped tightly on the roof and began the one hour drive to Sotavento beach (right in the south of the island).

The island was a stark contrast to what I was expecting. Barren and desolate desert as far as the eye could see in all directions. This was as close in appearance to Mars as you will ever encounter; a pale reddish stony and dusty landscape, with no plantlife dotting the horizon other than a few shrubs, not more than 30cm off the ground. Small but steep mountains surround the entire island, and it is easy to see how the years of constant wind have shaped their features, very smooth transitions and sharp peaks on the taller of the mountains.

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NK-WINDSURF, Hargen Aan Zee

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Hargen3The third event of the NK-Windsurf Series in Holland happened last weekend at Hargen aan Zee which was part of a massive Volleyball, Kitesurfing and Catamaran showcase event. After a slow start in the first race Sean had a great start in Race 2 to lead for two laps only to be pipped on the last downwind by RSX champion Casper Bouman (NED-2). He was later told he was OCS and disqualified from that race.

On the second day, the wind increased and many of the sailors had rigged slalom gear hoping to get out on that instead of formula. The wind was a little gusty and so five formula races were held over the day with winds up to 25kts and seas close to 2.5m and breaking. In Race 7 after leading the entire first lap Sean had a large crash, resulting in a broken boom. This cost him a few places and he finished 4th overall by one-point to Dennis Littel (NED-13). Ron Ruiter (NED-1111) and Casper Bouman (NED-2) finished 1st and 2nd.

Check the http://www.nkwindsurf.nl/ website for some photos and the event results.

Spare Time in Holland

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Well, there’s been not a lot of wind and no competitions going on here in Europe at the moment, so this have given me some time to work on my van; putting some steel racks in and plywood floors (see the pics). Its been a little annoying having so much gear strewn through the van the last few weeks, so finally it will be organised and make things a little easier to go sailing. The weather has finally warmed up here aswell, around the mid 20’s most days and perfect for watching the soccer world cup outdoors on the big screens in the centre of town.

It appears I won’t be racing at the Kiel Week Olympic Regatta (scheduled for 21st-25th June) due to some equipment failures in my RSX, so this will allow me some more time to train on the formula gear. The next event on the cards is the PWA Grand Slam in Fuerteventura (pending my wildcard application is accepted) otherwise I will race in the Formula Experience World Championships in Belgium at the same time….stay tuned.

FW European Championships, Portugal

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Just arrived back in Holland from Portugal where the 2006 European Championships for Formula Windsurfing were held. Portugal was a paradise, with plenty of atmosphere at the beach and of course the nightlife. Unfortunately, most of the action was off the water as we struggled to get enough wind to have a decent event. Three races were eventually run, but in marginal and fluky conditions which left many competitors (myself included) needing more races to drop our DSQ’s! Oh well, that’s windsurfing! Enjoy the pics, these are from the beach in Portimao where we raced and inside the gear tent.

Full reports on the event can be found at www.formulawindsurfing.org and the results here.

Another image of me inside the gear tent can be found here.

My new home in the Netherlands

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Ok, so I’ve arrived in the Netherlands last week after my brutal 22 hour flight from Australia. Bit of a change to the weather back home – its currently 8 degrees after being baked around 32 degrees for the last few months of the Australian summer.

I’ve finally settled into my new home in Groningen, which is in the north of Holland. I’m living right next to the city centre and am only about 25 minutes drive from the beach or the lake where I can sail. It hasn’t got much warmer than 10 degrees for the entire week or so I’ve been here, which is a little too cold for me to get out sailing yet! Thats cool, as its given me time to get the important things sorted such as wheels to get me to the beach. Here’s a pic of my new get-up for driving around Europe – VW Transporter 2.5 TDi. Should be nice! Just have to get round to putting some racks in to keep the gear a little more organised.

The weather is supposed to heat up next week which will give me a chance to train a little before I head to Portugal in early May for the European Formula Championships!