Monday, January 14, 2013

It’s Windy Season Julle!

So I think I have ranted about the wind in Luderitz too many times to count, but I have not yet brought up one of the cool things about this windy little town. Every November thru mid-December there is an international windsurfing/kitesurfing competition here, called the Luderitz Speed Challenge! Since 2007 over 40 world records have been broken here!

The Windsurfing Channel in Second Lagoon
I was lucky enough to get to see a bunch of the windsurfing this year because my neighbor and I drove out there on several occasions. Last year the Challenge introduced a new man-made channel in the Second Lagoon area, and this year was the big year for everyone to come and experience it! I once thought it would be cool to try out windsurfing – but after seeing how very narrow that channel is, I realized that narrow channel + rockscape + extreme wind would probably end badly for me when I inevitably fell over. So we stayed a good distance away and watched from the car. It’s pretty crazy how fast these people are going. Unfortunately windsurfing isn’t much of a spectator sport because of, well, the serious wind, so really very few people from the Luderitz community went out to watch it, at least when I was there. Maybe with time and more sponsors some kind of structure can be built to shield spectators from being blown away. In any case, when we went I got to see lots of windsurfing and one fluke kitesurfer – unfortunately I was out of town by the time kitesurfing officially began, because that looked way more fun and exciting to watch!

more pictures like this here:
Anyway, this year it appears that 2 more world records were broken, in addition to 12 different national records – which is pretty crazy since there were windsurfers from 13 different countries competing! From what I’ve seen, it looks like the windsurfer Sebastien Cattelan had the best run [is that the right term? i know nothing about windsurfing] with the speed of 53.27 knots – which, to convert into non-nautical terms, is him windsurfing at a speed of 61 miles per hour, or just under 100 kilometers/hour, SO FAST!  

If you find anything I’ve said so far about speed windsurfing intriguing, and want to hear more check out this interview with one of the windsurfers. Just a disclaimer I’ve actually not seen this video, because my internet is too slow to load it!!! Hopefully it’s interesting! Interview at the Luderitz Speed Challenge

PS fun fact – one of the world records set prior to this event was in Saintes-Marie-de-la-Mer [one of the most memorable places I had ever been to until Africa] in Provence, France, where I studied abroad. Living in windy places is becoming my thing!

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