Friday 7 October 2011

West Kirby - Autumn Gales 2011

Here is a quick round up of the day. It was a day that many of the regular speedsurfers who meet at West Kirby broke their PB's and joined the 40 knot club properly with 5x10second averages. 

First I would like to congratulate those who got their membership to the club. I know Tristan Haskins, Mike George and Mark Hayford are really pleased with the day. Mike even posted his SPD file on Facebook which to any of his friends that don't own a gps will be a meaningless set of numbers. Think he was a bit over excited there but I can totally understand how he feels, I am sure you all can. 

Steve Thorp doesn't use a weight vest, that is just his lunch that he eats on the upwind runs
After a slow start Steve Thorp achieved the best peak of the day, with his GPS showing just over 50Knots. He had this to say on GP3S about the rest of the session;
Later in the day (very later) the wind picked up to 60knots in the gusts and I managed to get some fast times on the 5.0. Unfortunately it went super super broad almost straight away, so although the slingshot in was amazing, you were soon running into 2ft death chop. I had a huge wipeout where I just let go, knowing that if I held on, my fin (which was barely in the water), was going to loose grip in a horrible way. As it was I cartwheeled twice and had to swim to the opposite bank and pluck my kit off the wall (luckily still in one piece), luckily i found my gps floating by too..

Managed to get pretty confortable in the big wind and on my second from last run and saw the big 5 o on the display! A very very short burst though, my 2 sec max being 48.3 and 10sec only 44.7. If only the course had been flatter it would have been insane, but the 2ft chop after only 20m made it impossible. I think we were only getting 7 seconds before sheeting out to get the board back on the water..  we all tried to hold on for longer, and all went spetacularly over the handlebars. I enjoy this stuff a lot though! I'd saved my energy and the kit works perfect for super broad and windy.

Congrats to the Dutch guys for schooling us yet again! Perhaps if Ant hangs around for the wind next time we can put up a better fight!
Congratulations are deserved to Steve for his 2 sec PB and his 50knot peak. Although he does say the software is only showing 49.996 knots I really do not think we can take away from him the result of being the first British sailor to hit the big 50! (please correct me if I am wrong there, and apologies if I am).

Ant Baker looking comfortable and in total control for his first trip to West Kirby
Ant Baker scored a 45.2max with 44.9 10 second run, he has not yet posted on GP3S so his results are not in the table at the top. From what Steve said above it sounds like he left before the best of the wind. I wonder what he would have got had he stayed a bit longer. This was his first time on the speed board

I think it is fair to say that Ant is just warming up with this session and you should all look forward to his next when he will have a smaller speed board than the Fanatic falcon 51cm he was on. His brother Nik said the 45cm arrived today.

Ian Richards looked in total control but said he struggled today

Ian Richards, who has shot up the rankings this year with solid performances on what appears to be every gust of wind anywhere in the country, commented that it was the strongest wind he had ever sailed in, but a smaller sail would not have made much difference. He was on a 5.4 Neil Pryde RS6 with a Fanatic falcon speed board from all the way back in 2006. Just goes to show what Erik said in his latest article that new kit is not necessarily better than older.

Mark Hayford also commented that is was the strongest wind he has ever sailed in, so strong it blew his kit-trailer over which will be expensive to repair (yes t4's are quite expensive but they don't get blown over). He said it was well worth it though. He managed to get his 40knot membership with an average as well. Congrats Mark.

Pete Young making it look easy, even he said he felt overpowered. The impossible can happen.
Pete Young has been having fin troubles of late, I know this from sailing with him most days. Recently one problem resulted in long snorkelling sessions only to find said fin in the bargain box of windtek, our local shop. Today he used the wall to grind his fin down a bit while speedsurfing at 40+ knots. Is this a new form of fast R&D I wonder, and who said men cannot multitask? Thankfully it was only the fin that was damaged and not Pete himself.

Jacques van der Hout  and Hans Kreisel came to the UK to show us how to do it

I wrote yesterday about Hans Kreisel and Jacques van der Hout being willing to travel to get the best winds, and also being two of the best speedsurfers in the world. They came here, to our waters and gave everyone a demonstration of their talents. 

From the sounds of it they joined in with the rest of the Uk's regular speedsurfing crowd like old friends, I think this is the beauty of the resources we have online through these blogs and the GPS Team Challenge.

Jim Crossley go his Personal Best on the rare downhill run

Jim Crossley only gave a few words, he is never happy with his speed and always wants more. Like all of us I suppose, but he has really pushed himself this year and it has paid off with a set of PB's again. He is only just getting to know his new board as well, it looks good in the pic and seems to be riding perfectly off the fin.

Mike George on his way to his best ever session with lots of PB's

Mike George managed a total of  twenty runs (which is an accomplishment in itself in 50knot winds), only two of which were under 40knot vmax speeds.

It sounds like he used a weight jacket for the first time, it would be nice to know how it felt and whether it made much difference for him.

Tris Haskins well on the way to a set of PB's
A lot of us must hold Tristan Haskins responsible for this crazed addiction of GPS Speedsurfing, he runs the website, and may possibly have been the place that you got your GPS from.

He must be over the moon with his session, achieving a 40.54knot average, and almost the next holy grail of a 40knot 500m run. He was 0.7 knots shy of that.

Sorry for those of you I have not commented on, if you would like to be included then send me a little quote or comment for the day - Congratulations for each and everyone who speedsurfed today, it was a brave, foolhardy and great thing to do from the looks of it.

I hope you have all enjoyed reading this, its something I would like to do regularly following Ultimate Speed Meetings. It is quite difficult to summarise it if I am not there (I hope to be soon!!!) but with your help I can do it better. If you can send me a quote or paragraph then I can put them all together as a memory of the day like this one.

All the pictures are thanks to Ant Baker and more can be found here.
Some information is from GP3S and other bits are from status updates on Stalkerbook.

Wishing you all good speeds and winds, by 'The Bus'


  1. That is nog Hans but Jacques, the only difference is the heat

  2. Ok, will change that, sorry, thought NED35 was hans


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