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Competition/Past Events/Hawks Nest 11

RESULTS         EVENT WEBSITE      FULL PHOTO GALLERY         DAILY VIDEO

FW Oceanics - Final Day and Prizegiving Party Night

The 2011 Downunder Pro-Oceanic and Australian Formula Windsurfing Championships concluded on Saturday with an action packed 8 races taking place over the four-day regatta at picturesque Jimmy's Beach, Hawks Nest. The strong 49 competitors including World #2 from Brasil, Wilhelm Schurmann (Starboard/Neilpryde) had a challenging trial of races with winds today reaching 25 knots on the course despite taking a long time to fill-in, keeping the competitors waiting anxiously on the beach before the first race began.

Schurmann took the event win dominating the racing by winning 7 out of 8 races over the event. His second time sailing in this part of New South Wales the Brasilian said:

"This spot is simply incredible! We had winds every single day, it was just perfect for sailing or any outdoor activities for that matter. I was able to bring some other Brasilian friends of mine down this year and we all had a great time! I'll definitely be back next year once again".

One of the event organisers and defending champion Sean O'Brien (Starboard/Point-7) was the first Australian over the line coming in a clear third overall behind Mathias Pinheiro (Starboard/North) by taking two seconds and a third in today's racing to close the gap on Pinheiro. O'Brien becomes the Oceanic and Australian Champion for the 5th time now as international competitors are ineligible for the title. Having raced in Hawks Nest for over 12 years now, O'Brien said of the event:

"We picked this beach to run the event for more than just the quality sailing it produces. It's got a small town vibe which is great for families who compete, there's plenty of other things to do for the non-windsurfers and the conditions this place produces are absolutely World-Class. I had a great event and punishing Mathias in all the races today really capped it off for me."

Brett Morris (Starboard/North) had a difficult day today sitting 3 points clear of O'Brien before the day's start however didn't finish the first race today and was unable to continue his race-winning form from yesterday getting a 4th and an 8th in the final two races today to finish 4 points behind O'Brien and 2 points clear of Sam Parker (JP/Neilpryde) in 5th overall.

A new division for the sailors new to the Formula Windsurfing class called "Formula Experience Plus" (FE+) was run for the fourth time at a National Titles this year. The division allows newer sailors the opportunity to race at the same time as the Pro Division but sail one less lap then the top sailors. This class has seen the biggest growth in the past few seasons with 16 competitors taking part in this year's event. The division was dominated by local sailors from NSW and surrounds with Tim Ford (JP/Neilpryde) taking the win ahead of Barry Fawkes (Starboard/Neilpryde) and James Farley (F2/MauiSails).

In the Youth division a World-Class fleet competed with event winner and 2nd time overall champion at this event, Christian Justesen (JP/Neilpryde) came all the way downunder from Denmark to finish ahead of Nick Austen (Starboard/Point-7) and Ben Morrell (Starboard/Neilpryde) to take the $500 cash prize from Staminade. Multiple time Australian title holder Rick Murray (Starboard/North) won a very contested Grand-Master division ahead of Wayne Bowness (Gaastra/Gaastra) and Tibor Ferenczy (Starboard/Severne).

After the event concluded on Saturday competitors enjoyed a three-course meal at the Hawks Nest Golf Club as part of the Prizegiving Ceremony with major sponsors Qantas and Blackberry handing out a number of new handsets and round-the-world plane tickets to the division winners. After the prizegiving competitors and friends enjoyed a free concert from local outfit "XYDJ's" who flew up from Sydney to play the show.


The Wind Arrives on Day 3

The forecast of strengthening north-easters, the seabreeze direction, for Day 3 of the Downunder Pro allowed the Race Committee to get 4 clean starts away today. Race 1 began at 3pm with a very light 8-12 knot breeze that eventually dropped out halfway through the second lap for the competitors with Sean O'Brien (Starboard/Point-7) leading the race when it was eventually abandoned due to light winds.

After a short interval of 45 minutes, the wind strengthened and another start was attempted with current event leader Wilhelm Schurmann (Starboard/Neilpryde) dominating the next two races with clean boat-end starts ahead of Mathias Pinheiro (Starboard/North) and Brett Morris (Starboard/North) and Sean O'Brien (Starboard/Point-7) who shared 3rd and 4th places in both races of the first session today.

After the wind had strengthened to 18-20 knots, one final race was started with Morris taking a cracking port end start to round the top mark 100m clear of Pinheiro and Schurmann in 2nd and 3rd. With the consistent winds Morris extended his lead after the first lap with the two Brasilians and O'Brien taking different options on the final upwind to try and catch Morris, but to no avail. With Morris winning the final race he is 2 points clear of O'Brien as first Australian for the event, with Schurmann still the event leader ahead of Pinheiro.

A tough battle will be on tomorrow for the first placed Australia, with Morris, O'Brien and Sam Parker (Starboard/Neilpryde) all within 4 points of each other going in to the final day. With the forecast showing strong winds for tomorrow, it will definitely be an exciting day for the leaders and an opportunity for the Australians to take back the Brasilians' lead in the event.


FW Oceanics - Record Temperatures & Tropical Cyclones

For the first time in nearly 7 years of Formula National Titles held in Australia, no racing was held on Day 2 with the wind failing to materialise in a consistent direction despite the Race Committee making every attempt to get a race underway. The sailors were kept on stand-by for over 6 hours with the AP (postponement) flagged dropped twice and Race 3 tantalisingly close to taking place. An extremely large Category 5 tropical cyclone, which hit the coast of Australia overnight, has caused a big rift in the usual seabreeze patterns typical of Hawks Nest over summer, with the weather bureau unable to predict what direction or strength the wind would blow on Day 2.

Current event leader, with two bullets, Brasilian sailor Wilhelm Schurmann (Starboard/Neilpryde) kept a cool head spending most of the day relaxing in the shade with the rest of the Brasilian team, including Mathias Pinheiro (Starboard/North) who is currently in 2nd overall and Aldo Bebeko Maia (Starboard/North) who is 3rd overall in the Youth division.

Defending champion Sean O'Brien (Starboard/Point-7) had a tense day, hoping the morning forecast of 30 knots wouldn't eventuate as his smallest sail, an 11m, would have been difficult around the course in winds that strong. O'Brien is currently tied in 3rd with Sam Parker (Starboard/Neilprde) and Brett Morris (Starboard/North) on 8 points.

After the racing was abandoned, the sailors were treated to a night of 'bare-foot bowls', an Australian take on the classic game of lawn bowls, at the Tea Gardens Country Club, which included an Aussie BBQ and prizes from event sponsor Windsurf'n'Snow as well as an opportunity to take the event leader Schurmann down in a game the Brasilians had never seen before.

The forecast for the next few days continues to baffle the sailors with conflicting forecasts from each weather service as the aftermath of the destructive Cyclone Yasi in Queensland and the heatwave currently being experienced just to the south in Sydney plays havoc on the usual weather patterns in this area. One thing is for sure though, with two more days of race action still to come, the battle for the Downunder Pro title will be fought to the death, as the Australian contingent aim to reign back the lead from the two Brasilians.


A long day in the heat on day 1 of FW Oceanics at Hawks Nest

Posted On:  02/02/2011 10:06:48

The Downunder Pro - Formula Windsurfing Oceanic & Australian Championships kicked off today with long wait periods and lights winds, testing the 49 competitors from Australia and around the globe.

The first day of competition of the 2011 Downunder Pro Formula Windsurfing Championships got off to a lazy start with the winds playing havoc with the waiting sailors. The first possible start was delayed three hours as the wind shifted to all points of the compass and teased at just below the minimum for racing until 4.30pm when the wind finally picked a direction and began to build to 9 knots. The 49 competitors were kept on the beach in the blistering 38 degree heat but were nethertheless keen to get out on the water and rigged big for the first race of the event before the wind picked up steadily to 17 knots for the second race; the only two races completed today.

Top Brasilian sailor Wilhelm Schurmann (Starboard/Neilpryde) dominated the first day of racing taking both wins today from two starts enjoying the flat water and building winds. Schurmann is currently leading the event on 2 points. With the wind picking up at the beginning of Race 2 and sending sailors to the beach to change down sail sizes before dropping out to only 9 knots by the end of the day. International race director Nick Nelson was able to get two clean races away despite the shifting wind directions on the course throughout the day.

The defending champion Sean O'Brien (Starboard/Point-7) had a mixed day finishing 3rd behind the other top Brasilian Mathias Pinheiro (Starboard/North) in Race 1 and giving away a massive lead with Schurmann in Race 2 to finish 5th. O'Brien currently sits in tied 3rd position overall on 8 points with Pinheiro in 2nd overall on 4 points after Day 1.

Previous Australian FW Title holder Sam Parker (Starboard/Neilpryde) kept consistent today and holds his tied third position overall on 8 points ahead of Brett Morris (Starboard/North) with two 4th's in today's races. Current NSW Windsurfing Champion Steve Floyd (Starboard/North) also had a consistent day of racing with an 8th and a 6th keeping him in 4th overall with 14 points.

With the forecast for the next few days looking like nuclear strong winds of +30 knots, the spectators at Jimmy's Beach, Hawk Nest can again expect a great Formula Windsurfing display. 2011 Downunder Pro Formula Windsurfing Championships will run until Saturday 5th February.


Nuking conditions for the warm-up racing event at Hawks Nest

Posted On:  02/02/2011 10:06:48

Four 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 Downunder Pro Oceanics & Australian Championships this week, 47 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 Windsurfing Series.

The talent included Downunder Pro defending champion Wilhelm Schurmann from Brazil, multiple time Australian Title winner Jesper Vesterstrom from Denmark and defending Australian Champion Sean O'Brien from Australia as well as a bunch of sailors as far as France, Japan, Great Britain, Guernsey, Greece and New Zealand on top of all the local Aussie contingent.

Greeted with a forecast of 20 knots the sailors were eager to get out on the water, however, the wind failed to come through and after 3-4 hours of teasing and two attempts at dropping the AP (postponement flag) for racing, the sailors were sent home with no racing completed on the Saturday.

Back on the beach it was interesting to see all the new gear. Lots of guys out with new fins from VMG Blades, Kashy and Z Fins, a plethora of Starboard LWRs and HWRs, brand new sails from Neil-Pryde, North and MauiSails and plenty of customised boom backends, double chicken-strap plates amongst other contraptions. After a long hot day on the beach waiting, the sailors were able to head home around 5pm to rest and recover for the better looking forecast on Sunday.

Sunday looked more promising to stick with the forecast and Race 1 was able to get underway by midday with winds increasing from 9 knots to 17 knots on the course with many sailors being caught out on big 12m sails. Wilhelm Schurmann took an early lead at the top mark followed by Jesper Vesterstrom and Sean O'Brien in third with the order staying the same throughout the second lap in to the finish.

After a quick break to allow sailors to change down sizes the wind increased against the forecast to 24-28 knots and many sailors including Sean O'Brien were caught out on their big sails and struggled around the course with many sailors crashing out on the downwind legs. Vesterstrom was able to cement his speed on the course in Race 2 taking the bullet ahead of Schurmann with Steph Walsh taking third ahead of Mathias Pinheiro from Brazil.

Race 3 and 4 were repeats again with the wind relentless at 25-28 knots and the chop becoming quite difficult for the sailors. The back to back racing didn't allow any time to change rigs between races and Sean O'Brien missed Race 3 using the time to fix some problems with his boom before making it out again for Race 4.

At the front of the fleet, Schurmann and Vesterstrom battled and won another race a piece with Vesterstrom taking the final Race 4 win allowing him to beat his Brazilian rival on a countback. Current NSW Windsurfing Series leader Sam Parker cemented his podium finish for the event with two 3rds in Race 3 and 4 to beat Mathias Pinheiro by 1 point overall on to the podium. Tim Ford managed to take out the Formula Experience Plus division, beating Barry Fawkes and Mick Saunders overall.

Another fantastic event at beautiful Hawks Nest and a great chance for everyone to tune up before the 2011 Downunder Pro Oceanics & Australian Championships start on Wednesday.


The World is coming to Hawks Nest

Posted On:  28/01/2011 21:03:22

The Downunder Pro, Formula Windsurfing Oceanic & Australian Championships is not only attracting the best of the best windsurfers from Australia and Oceania, but from all over the globe.

It's countdown time to the beginning of the 2011 Downunder Pro, Formula Windsurfing Oceanic and Australian Championships, which will take place at Jimmy's Beach, Hawks Nest, NSW from 29th January to 5th February. With important points for the Formula Windsurfing (FW) World Ranking up for grabs as well as five qualification places for the 2011 World Championships, this is one of the most anticipated continental championships of the season and the winners will also be taking home over $15,000 worth of prizes from event sponsors Qantas, Blackberry and Mazda.

At the beach, competitors will be arriving not just from Oceania but from all over the globe, searching for one more victory to add to their World Ranking points. The race office is busy receiving registrations confirming the participation of some of the best Formula Windsurfers in the world.

The list of pre-entered sailors has already shown some of the big names in the sport are coming to Hawks Nest. Leading the list of favourites for the event win is defending champion from Brazil, Wilhelm Schurmann who is currently #2 in the World Rankings. Wilhelm is a multiple-time Brazilian and South American FW Champion as well as securing podium finishes in many World Tour and International events and will be certainly looking to add another title to his belt. He will join fellow Brazilian riders Mathias Pinheiro, who is the current Masters World Champion and Aldo Maia, who has won Formula Experience titles in North America and Europe.

A strong contingent from Europe will be vying for the title this year. Jesper Vesterstrom, who has won this event previously and was ranked #4 in the World in 2009, will be joining youth sailor Christian Justesen as the two Danish representatives. They will be joined by a plethora of European sailors from Greece, France, Ireland, Japan, Guernsey and the United Kingdom, as well as multiple contenders from New Zealand.

Leading the Australian charge will be four-time defending champion of this event Sean O'Brien from Brisbane who is in top form, having just returned from a 5-month stint on the Windsurfing Pro Tour throughout Europe and Asia. He will be fighting alongside other Australian favourites Sam Parker, Brett Morris and Mike Nelson from Sydney and surrounds.

The event will prove to be a spectacle on and off the water, with a variety of festivities going on at Jimmy's Beach during the days, including beach parties, bbq's, a free concert at the Hawks Nest Golf Club for the prizegiving ceremony as well as learn to windsurf clinics run by the World's best windsurfers. Daily images, HD video, news and results will all be available on the event website www.fw-australia.com.

This Windsurfing Championships is open to everyone, young or old and competitors from foreign countries and interstate are very welcome. Please feel invited to join us in this exciting competition which will set a benchmark for professionally run international windsurfing events in Australia.


Further information about the FW Oceanic & Australian Championships as well as a media service with press releases, results, rankings, background information and photo/video downloads can be found on the official website www.fw-australia.com.

Contact and further information:

Tamara Ting
Organising Committee Director / Media Relations AUSTRALIAN WINDSURFING ASSOCIATION
Phone: 0414 638 242
E-Mail: tam@vmgblades.com
Internet: http://www.fw-australia.com/

Sean O'Brien
Organising Committee / Media Relations AUSTRALIAN WINDSURFING ASSOCIATION
Phone: 0402 467 857
E-Mail: seanobrien@aus120.com
Internet: http://www.fw-australia.com/

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