"To reach the highest peaks!"
Latvian windsurfer Janis Preiss crosses Baltic sea from Liepaja to Gotland in 11 hours on his windsurf board!
On Tuesday, 10th of September around 12 midday windsurfer Janis Preiss returned back to Latvia. The day before, on September 9, he crossed the Baltic see on his Gastra Formula windsurf board from Liepaja (Latvia) to Gotland (Sweden) with the assistance of supporting yacht "Nordic Virgin" and covered about 320km in 11 hours. It took 8 years to achieve his dream.
Asked about how he feels after 11 hours on the board and crossing the finish line, he says, "I definitely don't feel any emptiness, it's more a feeling of satisfaction. Finally the dream, which started its way 8 years ago, has become true. First time, when I tried to do it in 2005 it was more like a joke - can I do it or not? Like a game with buddies - go somewhere, do something. We failed that time."
"The second time a lot of recklessness was conceded. It wasn't so simple as it seemed in the beginning," remembers Preiss. But it didn't unnerve him, exactly the opposite. It had to be done to the end. "If I started it, I had to finish it. Besides it was a great opportunity to prove that it can be done and only with a windsurf board," explains the windsurfer, asked why he didn't give up. "And it also was very important to me to show people in Latvia that there is such a beautiful way of sports as windsurfing. Today everybody is talking about it and that's great! We have 500km long coastline by the sea. In fact in any town there could be a boat, windsurf board and a trainer, who could teach kids how to windsurf. It would make me very happy, if I have inspired someone to start windsurfing by my example."
Janis Preiss says that there wasn't any special way that he prepared for his 'trip' to Gotland Island. He just windsurfed as much as he could this summer - no gym, bicycle or anything else - to be in good physical shape. "This race season was very intense."
Besides windsurfing there is also my work; we produce very high quality fins here in Latvia. In fact over the last two years I have tested them for myself and now they really are at such a level that I give them to other professional riders to test also. They find them very good and suggest what should be improved. It took me huge amount of hours on the water, which reflects in my physical shape," says the sportsman.
To cross the Baltic Sea, it took about 11 hours to surf. The windsurfer admits that it wasn't easy, either physically or emotionally. "In the end it became just harder and harder," says Preiss and admits that the last third took most of the power. "I was quite tired. But I also have to say that all the conditions were just great - wind was blowing, sun was shining, the equipment worked just perfectly, as well as my supporting team on the yacht." There was no moment when he would even consider the possibility to quit.
All the way the sportsman had no flops or tumbles, nothing was changed in his equipment - everything worked great. Preiss achieved the shore of Gotland's city Slite just with three short stops - to drink an energy drink and have a chocolate bar. In one of the lasts stops the windsurfer admitted that he had problems with his back and on the water on his board did some muscle stretching. Sometimes he felt bored. The average speed was about 30km/h, the deepest spot in the sea he crossed - more than 200m.
What helped him to achieve his dream? "I guess it was everything together - the team, supporters, people close to me and of course my sponsor - mineral water EVEREST," replies Preiss, admitting that also the weather conditions were just perfect to achieve the goal. On the supporting yacht the brave windsurfer was accompanied by his good friend and assistant Arnis Krauklis, who kept an eye on the sportsman's health conditions, gave suggestions and watched that for example the escorting yacht didnt block the wind or interfere with his trip in any other way.
Until the end of October Janis continues the racing season, after that it's a little bit 'quieter', the active season concludes. "I don't know yet what I'm going to do this winter. Haven't thought about next season yet," says the sportsman, but admits that also in the future he definitely will do windsurfing and most likely for a long time. As he says himself, it doesn't have any age limit.
We are reminded that this Monday, September 9th, Janis Preiss made 320km long distance from Liepaja (Latvia) crossing Baltic sea with his Gastra Formula windsurf set and reached the Gotland Island of Sweden in 11 hours. No windsurfer from Latvia has finished the route like that yet. For Janis Preiss it was the third attempt to achieve his goal. His last attempt to cross the Baltic Sea was in August of year 2010, when he made two thirds of the distance to Gotland. At that time the wind intensified to 25m per second and 5 m height, so the 'trip' was stopped because of safety reasons.
On the supporting yacht with the crew was also the filming team from "Platformafilm", who will make a documentary film "To reach the highest peaks" about windsurfer Janis Preiss' trip to Gotland with the great support of his sponsor mineral water EVEREST.