8 races in nuking winds allowed the competitors for the Downunder Pro, Formula Windsurfing Oceanic & Australian Championships a chance to warmup during the Official Warmup Event before the Championships begin on Wednesday.
As an important tune-up event for the 2012 Downunder Pro Oceanic & Australian Championships this week, 58 competitors from all over Australia and the world arrived at Hawks Nest for the two day competition which served as Heat 5 of the NSW Windsurf Tour.
The talent included Jesper Vesterstrøm from Denmark, who had previously won this event and placed 7th at the 2011 Formula Windsurfing World Championships, Downunder Pro defending champion Wilhelm Schurmann from Brazil, 5-time defending Australian Champion Sean O’Brien from Australia and the #1 Ranked sailor in the World, Paulo dos Reis, from Brazil, as well as a bunch of sailors from as far as Greece, France, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore and the United Kingdom, as well as multiple contenders from Australia.
Greeted with a forecast of 15-20 knots the sailors were eager to get out on the water on the first day of racing with 4 races being run over the day as the winds increased over 20 knots by late in the afternoon. Vesterstrom led from the start taking four wins from four starts ahead of Wilhelm Schurmann with rival Brazilian Mathias Pinheiro tying with Sean O'Brien in 3rd after the first day's racing.
On the Saturday evening, sailors were treated to an 'Aussie style' beach BBQ with all competitors across all the windsurfing classes at this championship (over 100 competitors) attending the beach festivities.
Sunday looked more promising to have even stronger winds with the forecast showing strong wind warnings over 30 knots for the Hunter Coast area. Race 1 was able to get underway by midday with winds increasing from 9 knots to 17 knots on the course. The World #1, Paulo Dos Reis had arrived late on Saturday evening to the racesite and was ready for Sunday's racing to give the current leader Vesterstrøm, a fight for the event win. Vesterstrom was able to take the first race of Sunday comfortably ahead of Schurmann and O'Brien before he battled with Dos Reis in Race 2 to claw back to first after Paulo had led for most of the first lap.
Knowing he had already won the event by a clear margin with two races left to sail, Vesterstrom rested for the afternoon in preparation for the main event which begins on Wednesday allowing Dos Reis to win the final two races of the Warmup Event by a clear margin ahead of Schurmann and O’Brien in Race 3 and O’Brien then Schurmann in Race 4.
With only 3 out of each 4 races counting for the overall score, after 8 races, Vesterstrøm had a clean page of 6 wins to take the outright Warmup Event title ahead of Schurmann and O'Brien. Vesterstrom, who has recently become an Australian resident, had been training and preparing for the event in Sydney since December and had definitely acclimatised to the warm temperatures and strong winds Australia has to offer through the summer.
Another fantastic event at beautiful Hawks Nest and a great chance for everyone to tune up before the 2012 Downunder Pro Oceanics & Australian Championships start this Wednesday.