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NZ National Champs Prepare For Worlds

By: Jodie Bakewell-White

RS:X Olympic Class Windsurfers Use NZ National Champs To Prepare For Worlds

The New Zealand RS:X National Championships will boast an impressive starting line-up when racing starts this Friday off Takapuna Beach, North Shore City.

Plenty of top international windsurfers are already in the country for the RS:X World Championships in January and will compete in this weekend’s Nationals as preparation.

Over 60 windsurfers are already entered and with international competitors arriving into New Zealand daily, organisers of the National Championships are anticipating that around 80 windsurfers will take part. Just 20 to 30 of the expected total are New Zealanders with the majority being internationals here early for the World Championships.

Women to watch

Local kiwi favourite Barbara Kendall will sail against some old and new rivals in the Women’s fleet.

Alessandra SENSINI of Italy has a windsurfing career not unlike Kendall’s – she has three Olympic and numerous World Championship medals. Sensini won silver at the Pre-Olympics Regatta in Qingdao in August and was in New Zealand in February this year for Sail Auckland Regatta 2007 which she won.

Flavia TARTAGLINI of Italy, ISAF ranked number 5 and Romy KINZL of Germany, ISAF ranked number 3 are two more strong contenders already in New Zealand who will be in the starting line-up for the Women’s division of the New Zealand National Championships.

Men to watch

In the Men’s division New Zealand’s talent will be tested against windsurfers from Australia, Asia, America and Europe.

With an ISAF World ranking of number two, Joao RODRIGUES of Portugal will be one to watch this weekend and at January’s RS:X World Championships. Rodrigues has six top five finishes in major events in 2007 including a fourth at both the World Championships and the Pre-Olympics Regatta.

Reigning Olympic champion, Gal FRIDMAN of Israel is in New Zealand and is another one to watch. Shahar ZUBARI of Israel, ISAF ranked number 10 and Fabian HEIDEGGER of Italy, ISAF ranked number 17 are two more top level windsurfers already in New Zealand and competing this coming weekend.

The Schedule

Men and Women will race separately in the regatta and racing is scheduled to start at 11am on Friday 14th December. Up to nine races are planned over Friday, Saturday and Sunday on the waters of the inner Hauraki Gulf off Takapuna Beach. The national titles will be decided on Sunday afternoon.

The RS:X Olympic Class World Championships 2008

28 days after the RS:X New Zealand National Championships, the RS:X World Championships start, and the number of windsurfers on the waters off Takapuna Beach will swell to around 200. With 120 competitors in the Men’s fleet and 80 in the women’s, the Worlds in January promises to be a windsurfing spectacle not seen before in New Zealand.

For more information see…

About the Neil Pryde RS:X Board

The RS:X is a tightly controlled One-Design class selected by ISAF for use at the 2008 Olympic Regatta and probably also for 2012. Racers therefore all use the same equipment. In Qingdao, China where the board is being sailed in the Olympics for the very first time, Neil Pryde, the manufacturer, will supply the equipment.
Previous World Championships have been held in Lake Garda, Italy (September 2006) and Cascais, Portugal (July 2007 – part of the ISAF World Championships for Olympic Classes) Takapuna, North Shore City is therefore the third ever worlds for the RS:X and the first time that any Olympic windsurfing Worlds has ever been held in New Zealand.


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