Dennis Littel was the first windsurfer to come running up the beach to 'tap-in' at Paal 17, Texel. After several previous attempts, Littel finally managed to be the first to make it around. In doing so, Littel wins the Dutch Championship Marathon Surfing. The participants and the organization were treated to plenty of sun and a south-westerly wind decreasing from 12-8 knots. In total, 34 of the best windsurfers took part in windsurfing's return to the Round, with thousands of spectators lining the course.
Dennis Littel 1st windsurfer and overall winner as well
Windsurfer Dennis Littel stood on the beach with a big grin after more than 100km of surfing on the North and Wadden Sea. As first to cross the finish line, and given that windsurfing does not use a rating system, Littel instantly became the winner and Dutch Champion Marathon Surfing. 'Shall we go around again,' said Littel in an initial reaction accompanied by a roaring laugh.
"I've taken part a few times . . . never won . . . came second once. To be given the opportunity, after 10 years, to give it another go and then to win, that's fantastic. A hundred kilometers is grueling. At the lighthouse cramp already shot through my calf. I just had to grin and bear it. I made it and won.
"I really hope that windsurfing remains part of the Round. I've taken part five times and in the meantime competed in many other races. But races like the Round Texel, that's what it's really about."
Sun, sea, beach and spectators
The participants and the organization were rewarded with superb sailing conditions. The south-westerly wind was looking to favour a fast race, but as the wind decreased, so did any chance of a record. Thousands of spectators cheered the competitors on, from the beach at Paal 17 and the lighthouse, to the harbour of Oudeschild and at the finish. Casper Bouman was lyrical, "So great to have all those people on shore cheering you on, like at the Oudeschild gate. It makes you go faster and you don't get that anywhere else."
Casper Bouman sees victory slip away
Ex-Olympic surfer Casper Bouman was way ahead for quite a while. About three quarters of the way into the race, at Oudeschild, Bouman broke his fin and thus any chance of victory slipped away.
Afterwards, Bouman stood on the beach with a sorry smile. "Yeah man. I was way ahead. But after an hour or two of surfing my fin broke. The material gets battered, big time. Normally we sail 40 minutes or so, not nearly 3 hours. But I completed the race. I wasn't going to quit. Even with decreasing wind and against the current. Wow, I hung on my arms the whole time. But to be honest . . . fantastic event . . . super cool. And next year, a little more wind and a good fin . . ."