The biggest downwind race in the Northern Hemisphere - WaterZ 2011
WaterZ is the biggest event in Denmark and held on the west coast. This is the 2nd year and the numbers of competitors are still increasing. More than 300 sailors (windsurfers and kitesurfer s) showed up to participate in the Marathon running from "Hvide Sande" to Rinkøbing. Its a 30 km stretch. Basically it´s a rabbit start and the Kitesurferes were on the left getting of the line first and then the windsurfers 10 seconds after the jet-skies past. It was a huge show. 1000 of people on the beach, 300 sailors in the water, Helicopters and boats to follow. The wind was up and down but settled nice for the start and we had about 14-16 knots around the course. The fog hit the waterZ and we had to follow a boat from mark to mark, making it all quite intense but it was great fun.
I got of the start okay, some sailors where in front but passed them quickly. I was on my Warp2011 10.0 and my 137 iSonic and had really good speed. Ross Williams (GBR83) was also in the race and a strong contender for the tittle and it also showed to be neck to neck to with Ross the whole way. He had a small lead and we had the same speed and nothing changed for 20 minutes - except that we got more and more drained for energy since we where both pushing hard to take the lead. In the end it was Ross who took the win and I came in 2nd. It was a full on race and after getting over the finish line we had to sit for a while before going back upwind for about 40 minutes - killer.
Just to mention - the first kitesurfer finished a long time after the 1st. windsurfer :-) , however they tried hard to beat us.
The whole WaterZ event was an event held over 3 days and included a lot of activities such as SUP, Surfing, Great food, Live Band, Big Saturday night party etc. YOu simply don't get bored.
The main sponsor of the event was VESTAS which is one of the biggest producers of windmills in the world and located right a Rinkøbing Fjord where the event was held and I hope they continue to support the event among with others such as North Sails.
It was a amazing event and I will for sure be back next year - to claim 1st place :-)
1. Ross Williams GBR83 - Gaastra/Tabou
2. Jesper Vesterstrøm DEN111 - North/ Starboard
3. Nikolai Kruppa DEN4 - Neilpryde/Starboard
Here are some links if you are thinking of going next year.