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WindWanderers head north for nationals

  •  (Photo by Windward pub)
WindWanderers head north for nationals

The Sunshine Coast’s top windsurfers are heading north this weekend to compete in the Australian Slalom Titles at Green Island in Cairns.

WindWanderers Michael Jones, Robert Humphreys and Zane Hacker will compete in the Slalom discipline while Bryn Somers will race in both Slalom and Freerace.

Club president, Kellie Tusler, said the four have struggled to find good conditions to train in over the last few months with most of their time sailing off the beach at Mooloolaba or Kawana focused on the key Slalom race skills. “Slalom racing is all about the starts and the gybes. It’s only about 300 to 500 metre legs and the courses are either figure of eight or an M. If you have a bad start, it’s probably game over. The racing is fast, taking between six and 10 minutes each.”

The Freerace has the sailors racing in a set area. They wear a GPS and are given a start time. Their sailed distance within the allocated time and sailing area limits are then accumulated to identify a winner.

The WindWanders club, one of only two in Queensland, has been running similar racing since the club was re-formed about 12 months ago. “The club was previously a Brisbane based social club, but we took it over because it was dissolving and re-formed it as a racing club, but we still are social-based with lots of family members.

“We now have lots of open training days which are focused on getting people back into the sport.”

The club’s 2013/14 racing program should be finalised next month and start from September. They plan to conduct racing and fun events anywhere between Caloundra and Hervey Bay.

“We welcome anyone to come along with any kind of windsurfing boards including the old Windsurfer class boards or something more modern such as the race boards.”

For those windsurfers who enjoy personal challenges, the club runs through the year an innovative GPS online racing challenge on their website windwanderers.org.au. “GPS is an easy fun way to go. Whenever anyone goes out windsurfing and has the GPS on, they can come back home, put the card into the computer, upload the results and it will work out the speed.

“They can go sailing whenever they want. They are still competing and we give out prizes at the end of the season,” Tusler said.