2015 has been a great year for speedsurfing. A new world record over the 500m distance has been set with an astonishing 53,27 kts, done by Antoine Albeau during the Luderitz Speed Challenge. But not only have the speeds increased bigtime in the man-made channel, but also speeds have risen all over the natural speedspots around the world. In this article I will present you the 5 fastest spots in 2015, according to the highest peakspeeds recorded on gps-speedsurfing.com
#5 The Ray ,Southend on Sea, United Kingdom 50,25 kts/93,06 km/h
This spot is actually a surprise to me. There are some very skilled speedsurfers in the UK, and usually the highest speeds in the UK are done at West Kirby, a more or less natural speedspot, where you windsurf besides a large bent mole which grants highest speeds, but only with the perfect wind angle. This year it looked to be the same with some 49 knots being done already within the first two weeks of January. This was not until Jacques van der Hout went over to the Ray at Southend on Sea to register the UK’s highest peakspeed of 2015. The Ray is a tidal spot with two sandbanks you can go quick at. This gives a wider range of wind angles. The spot also works for a pretty long time compared to other tidal spots. This year was the first time someone broke the 50 kts here.
#4 Da Curve, Den Helder, Netherlands 52,07 kts/96,43 km/h
This is the second of three tidal spots in the Top-5 this year. The area around Den Helder is obviously pre-destined for speedsurfing, since it’s the area in the Netherlands where the wind is the strongest. This, combined with some very good tidal spots grant high speeds every year. Da Curve is not an easy spot since it’s quite far out from shore, so the only way to get there with speedgear is to go there by boat. The timing there is very important because the boat has to arrive when the sandbanks emerge from the water, so the speedsurfer’s can rig their gear. This year Peter de Wit was the fastest guy at this spot with a very impressive peakspeed over 52 knots.
#3 La Franqui, Leucate, France 53,43 kts/ 98,95 km/h
This is the only spot on this list I have visited myself. It is also the only natural, no-tidal spot that made it into this list. The big advantage here is that you can windsurf all day without having to worry about tides. The long, bent, empty beach in combination with the very strong Tramontana wind gives us the probably best speedsurf spot in Europe. As always the battle for the highest topspeeds here was again between dutchies Jacques v. d. Hout and Hans Kreisel, the second of which achieving the highest speed ever done here and the second fastest open-water speed ever done!!!
#2 The Brace, Den Helder, Netherlands 53,90 kts / 99,82 km/h
This is yet another tidal spot in the area of Den Helder. Once you walk out through 2km of tideland you get rewarded with the probably best speedspot in Northern Europe. It does’t work long here though, as the tide usually only leaves you 1-2 hours of perfect conditions. After some world-records were already achieved here back in 2012 this year Hans Kreisel took it to yet another level, by surpassing the 100 km/h on the 1sec peakspeed and achieving the highest open-water speed ever done. This spot is really quick when all elements align but is surely only a spot for the speedsurfing experts. I hope I will be doing my first session(s) here in 2016.
#1 Speed Channel, Luderitz, Namibia 55,23 kts/102,26 km/h
The place to do not only windsurfing but also kitesurfing world records has delivered again this year. This man made speedchannel was opened for 6 weeks this year. In previous years the wind- and kitesurfing speed world records over the 500m distance were broken several times already. This year one man proved to be on top of his game yet again. The current world record holder A. Albeau broke his previous record of 52,05 kts several times this year. He ended up with a best speed of 53,27 kts over the 500m distance, recording a peakspeed of 55,23 kts. At the mark of 55 kts scientists believe cavitation to start developing. This would put an end to going faster with regular speedkit. So the question is, is this the ultimate speed that can be reached with todays equipment, and do we have to start thinking of different techniques to achieve higher speeds? Only the next years will show us. Luderitz, Namibia however proved again to be the fastest spot on earth today. All the times and everything that has happened can be found here