Since the 19th century Lüderitz has welcomed some extraordinary periods:
In the middle of this desert and with a pioneering spirit, the people living there have used the natural resources of this little corner of Namibia to make things happen. Frequently making do with absolutely nothing, but yet able to achieve their dreams and create something. Against the odds and in the face of adversity they have passed the last century discovering new resources and technologies, like finding and mining diamonds. Similarly, a new boundary is being broken, Lüderitz now being the only place in the world to witness those kite and windsurfing performances never reached before and on such a regular basis which really makes us believe that it won’t stop at these speeds.
The experience that organizers and riders have taken from this part of the Planet has created big international media awareness and a frenzy in speed circle. The little Lüderitz is once again on the “map”. The event has made history and has pushed development & research in the sailing industry since 2007. It is a proving ground for theories and idea. Improvements are made year after year, lots of TV shows as well as specialized magazines and international newspapers have given all the credibility to this community of sailors who have been able to show a brilliant and tenacious side of water sports.
The real “diamond” is the amazing man-made channel, which has been developed by the organizers, which consultation of the Ministry of environment & Tourism, is the fastest water speed-strip in the World, and is regarded as” the center of speed” regarding the results since the beginning of the speed challenge and the historical performances reached during the last 6 weeks.
The concept of the Lüderitz Speed challenge is to take all the best sailors in the World, to put them on a perfect speed strip with the best wind conditions and then let them loose to show what they are capable of. We have seen around 30-40 riders every year displaying great performances as a result of hard work made, persistence, perseverance and dedication, pushing the limits even further. 80% of the performance is from the concept and the efficiency of the channel. This is the place where 50 knots is now a really common achievement (reached by windsurfers and kitesurfers for the 1st time in history) and where the 100 km/h and then the 55 knots were also broken for the very first time in the sailing world: Namibia has the monopoly of the performance.
During November 2012, the windsurfers had 12 good sailing days with relatively light conditions of between 30 and 40 kts of wind (compare to what we can catch), breaking record after record in windsurfing, the Kite surfing World Record Attempt followed during the 2 first weeks of December:
13 Multi-discipline National Records, 3 National Records in Windsurfing and 2 World Records in Windsurfing were broken this year which reveals in total since 6 years:
• 13 Multi-discipline National Records
• 3 National Records in Windsurfing
• 9 Multi-discipline World Records (Male & Female)
• 2 World Records in Windsurfing (Male & Female)
One of the best examples of the the performance of the channel is the new German Multi-discipline Speed Record:
The kitesurfer Jochen Bock who came this year believing in the project, with his personal best speed of 42 knots before this event…
After immediately breaking the German kitesurfing record with 46.6 knots (the German speed record for all sailing disciplines was held by a Windsurfer with 46.75 kts at that time), Jochen Bock smashed it and reached 49.36 kts! 7 knots more than his old best performance!
And, even, if we compare previous speeds achieved, who were the best in the world and made here in strong wind, this year the channel has really revealed its’ magic! In 2010, Rob Douglas needed 45 knots of wind to achieve the world kitesurfing record. This year, Sébastien Cattelan did 53.27 kts in 30-35kts!
The Windsurfer Antoine Albeau broke the World Record in 2008 with 49.09 kts in 60 kts of wind in Saintes-Marie-de- la-mer (France) but did 52.05 kts in 40 kts of wind in Lüderitz.!
Windsurfers have caught up with the kitesurfers and the boats and share the front of the stage now. Everything for the future events looks really promising considering the fact that in Lüderitz everybody goes faster in less wind on those crafts represented here, compared to anywhere else on the planet.
The organizers and some riders have already identified improvements for the channel for next year. We can also anticipate the development of new gears and equipment and the valuable experience after participating in the channel. Should they also catch more wind in 2013, which is a really strong probability in this part of the African coast, we predict the fall of more records and the breaking of the 60 kts barrier quite possible for both disciplines.
The French Kitesurfer Sébastien Salerno has well explained the concept: