Speedsurfing can be rather frustrating… When you manage to find the perfect spot on a really windy day and all the elements align (tide/windstrength/windangle/temperatures/no heavy rain/…) you can get some really nice numbers on the GPS-unit. But on the other hand; after such a day you may sometimes have to wait several months if not years to catch perfect conditions again in which you may score higher speeds…
In the last few months I was a bit frustrated with my results as I travelled 2 times to La Franqui, but the conditions just weren’t there to improve my PB’s. Fortunately I discovered speedsurfing in the Wadden sea for me this year. As I saw the forecast for a small but strong depression coming in to the North sea I knew I might be able to improve my speeds somewhere on Tuesday/Wednesday.
As the storm hit the Netherlands first I decided to drive to the legendary record spot The Brace in the Netherlands for my first
session. The forecast showed 20-35 knots around noon while the wind should swing from a SE to a SW and a SSW in the evening. The spot needs a windangle of around 220° and a low tide to fully uncover the sandbank, so I was hoping that both the wind and tide would work.
Arriving at the spot ~3 hours before low tide a couple of speedsurfers were allready on the spot rigging their gear (5,6s and 45s). The tide was supposed to kick in earlier so I hurried to rig up choosing my 5,6 Reflex, my 48cm Fanatic Falcon Speed and a 23cm Z asy. The Brace is a tidal creek that is located 1,7km from shore, so you have to walk that distance through the mud to get there. This was really exhausting, as you spent more energy walking back and fourth to the spot than you actually spent on windsurfing itself! When we arrived the water was not as low as it was supposed to be, so we waited there for another 30min while some heavy rainfields passed through. Standing out there in the Wadden Sea in the middle of a storm with only a couple speedsurfers, seagulls and some curious seals is a cool experience and a nice change from our hectic everyday-lives!
As the tide got lower we started making the first runs… Curiously starting to getting to know the spot I kept some distance from the edge of the mud. Unfortunately the wind didn’t switch around to SW enough, so the conditions were really square making high speeds really difficult. Also the tide didn’t get really low so the sandbank was not fully uncovered. I had a blast in the perfectly flat water anyway. My runs were mediocre with 34…38 kts but in the square conditions I could practice my slingshots very well. At one point I went to close to the mud edge and the fin scratched the bottom for a couple seconds at 35kts speed. Luckily I didn’t crash! The best run was my very last one as the wind increased to some 35kts gusts. In a big slingshot I could get a 42,5kts peakspeed. With that last speed I happily made the long walk back to the car.
The next day the forecasts showed that the storm should hit Germany’s coast in full strength so I drove 600km from The Brace to Büsum, Germany’s currently best speedspot. There I met up with Ralf Ewers and Patrick Oberlender, who also made the way over from The Brace over the night. Together the plan was to score two sessions on wednesday, one in the early morning with a low tide at 6:05am and one at 7pm. We got up at 5 in the morning, rigged the 5,6s and went out to the tidal creek, which luckily is a little closer to shore here! We were not 100% sure which creek would work, as the spot changed alot over the winter, but Ralf’s call for riding Manni’s Blutrinne in reverse (left foot front) was spot on!
The angle was deep enough this time to allow higher speeds, and the water was perfectly flat. Before we made the first run, we walked the spot first to check for sandbanks, but luckily there were none! With winds from 22-32kts I made my first run which was already >40kts peak. In the next runs i got a little more confident and went closer to the edge of the sand/mud and I also finished the runs with some slingshots. This quickly resulted in some peakspeeds of > 43kts and almost all runs were in the 40 kt range. The whole time I used a borrowed asymetrical FeineFinne from Ralf which worked really really nice! I had a lot of power, never felt like I lost control and had good upwind performance.
As the water pushed back in my speeds decreased a little bit to ~38-39kt runs. I knew I needed one more good run to beat my PB but I slowly ran out of time! Ralf convinced me however to risk a little bit more by going a little closer to the edge at the start of the run as the water was really deep there. In the last run of the day I could do my 2nd best run of the day with 41kts. This was just enough to beat my all-time PB, so I started walking back to shore as the tide pushed higher.
Off course this should only have been the first session of the day, with forecast predicting around 10kts more in the evening. Ralf and Patrick safed some energy for that and didn’t make to many runs, while I made ~25runs to beat my PB. As it turned out, this was just the right choice!
After waiting the entire day in the cars, while the wind increased to 40-50kts we rigged the 5,0s in the evening to be ready for the next sessions. Now 5 more speedsurfers arrived and we all waited on shore for the water to drop. Unfortuately the water never dropped enough! While Thomas Döblin, Patrick and I walked out it became obvious that the session wasn’t going to happen, so after some time we walked back and called it a day.
Speedsurfing in the Wadden Sea is quite special, because you never really know how the session will turn out. I am very happy with my new records, and am also happy to come back in our national speed challenge German Speed King, where I am currently placed in the Top 10 again! Lets see what the next months will bring!
link to session: session