Jurjen's speedy efforts have not gone unnoticed. Interview by Surfmagazine.nl:
Text: Jasper van Overbeek / surfmagazine.nl
Image: Walther Siksma / Ghosts of Speed
To many windsurfers, speed is the magic ingredient that makes their sport so special. Bolting over the chop is an insane feeling, and speedsurfers can’t live without their speed runs. Speed windsurfer Jurjen van de Noord recorded the highest measured windsurfing speed on the 8th of June, in a nature reserve in Holland with the help of a nice breeze.
Friday the 8th is an institution from now on. How fast did you go?
The most important GPS- rankins are about the highest 5x 10 seconds (averages), the highest 10 seconds and highest peak. The peak that I accomplished was 50,51 knots, which is a magical barrier that all speedsurfers hope to break. I am not the first to go through that barrier; in all likelihood that was Martin van Meurs in 2006 in Southend UK. My unique achievement was the highest peak ever by a windsurfer, a feat that nobody has managed to top so far, not even at St.Marie de la Mer and Luderitz, both artificially created speed canals. I ran my personal record out on the wad, and I also managed the highest average 5x 10 seconds with 89,63 km/h on which the ranking is based. I am also quite happy about my 500 meter run of 88,7 km/h.
What is the meaning of your GOS achievement, is it a moment in time, or does it have implications that go further?
These speeds are momentarily records, and eventually someone will come along and go fast than I have. I am also hoping that I will be able to take down my records myself. This is the main reason why I am traveling down to Namibia in November. The dedicated speed canal created near Luderitz theoretically allows for even higher speeds. World class riders like Björn Dunkerbeck, Ben van der Steen and Anders Bringdal will be there to compete for the ultimate achievement: 50 knots over 500 meters.
Your day didn’t start out all that well did it? Tell us your story.
The idea was to go to the remote speedspot called Da Curve (between Texel op het Wad and Den Helder), together with the camera crew who were shooting “Ghosts of Speed”. Somehow though our boat broke down that morning which is why we hard to start looking for an alternative. The speed spot “The Brace”, named after its discoverer Marcel Braas had a forecast that was a little less epic that day, but it was the best we could do given the circumstances. When we got there it turned out we weren’t the only ones who had that idea because 18 other speedsters were already there. Given that the tide goes down a little later than Da Curve, I had more time to prepare my gear (perfect trim, polish my fins).
So plan B turned out to be better than expected?
Hans Kleingeld, a forecaster who is also a very keen windsurfers works closely together with us and predicted 30 to 40 knots under a 210 degrees angle which was 5 knots less than Da Curve, plus the fact that The Brace is best at a 220 degree angle. 210 degrees will only allow you to run downwind at a 120 degree agle which is tricky, but the advantage is that the water is a little more flat than under the ideal angle.Later that day the angle of the wind slowly changed to 216 / 217 degrees creating ideal conditions with 37 – 50 knots of wind. Our first choice that day, Da Curve turned out to be so brutal that the conditions didn’t allowed for windsurfing.
You are currently ranked #1 on the GPS speedsurfing rankings, above Anders Bringdal. How long is it going to last before he will take back the record?
Anders turned out to be a very accomplished speedsurfer after he quit his professional windsurfing career and he also holds several speedsailing records. I expect him to be very hungry to take back the record, and I know he will have to travel to the perfect location, because the South of France has some great spots, but no record chasing spots.
Has Anders been in touch about your record?
I haven’t heard from him so far, but we hardly know each other. Other big guns like Björn Dunkerbeck have congratulated me.
You use standard gear. Are there any improvements you are waiting for? Hardly. The gear I use is so evolved that I really can’t think of anything that should be better or can be changed.
Have you reserved your spot at Luderitz?
Yes, November 2012 it is on, and it will be great to compete against the best of the best in speedsurfing. Starboard and Severne will also be there to present their latest materials and developments. The world of speedsurfing has evolved into a very professional subculture. What does it take to do some great runs? There are many factors at play. Mental and physical fitness is a must, and your material needs to be completely trustworthy. Apart from Speedboards, slalom and freerideboards will allow for higher speeds as well. Out on the sea knowledge of tides, sandbanks and the weather are crucial as well. Having some very solid arrangements with your wife and your employer are important as well, because when there is wind, you will have to be windsurfing.
Where are The Brace and Da Curve? Are those Hollands ultimate speedspots?
Both of these spots are ridges between sandy embankments in the Noord-Holland province. With south-western wind these spots are fired up, and not only is south western wind very common, it is also one of our harder winds. Because of the right angle, these spots simply deliver under the right circumstances. With Northern or Eastern wind, other ridges like “Het Kuitje”, or “De Groninger Balg” have more potential. Strand Horst is also great under powerful western wind. Because it is very shallow out there, waves don’t really develop, allowing for fast runs. Zeeland also offers a variety of spots like Herkingen, Den Osse, Hoempelvoet, etc.
Will your record invite other foreign riders to come ride the Dutch spots for records of their own?
Many foreign speedsurfers have already indicated they plan on coming down here. The annoying part is that it is hard to determine if the locations will fire until the very last moment. The angle and amount of wind will always vary, which is very different from La Franqui or Luderitz, where the angle is always the same, and winds are usually strong. Now that the Netherlands has the fastest spot in the world though, we should see an increase in foreign riders.
Do you feel you are hitting your limits or will you improve still?
I can still improve and go faster. During my record run, the water wasn’t flat nor did I have the optimal angle. A smaller sail and a smaller fin would’ve also helped my speed, and as far as I’m concerned, there was ample opportunity for more velocity. My goal right now is to run over 50 knots for 500 meters.
We’ll be keeping our fingers crossed!
report by Jurjen van der Noord/pics by Walter Siksma - Ghosts of Speed
A huge personal best - highest average on GPSSS - Highest 2 sec. - great 500m. - on an open sea venue - with standard material: I'm very happy!
The day started rather disappointing. The plan was to go to Da Curve with a big Rib. The motor of the Rib was broken so we couldn't go. The alternative was The Brace. Jacques and Hans were planning to go to Da Curve and also had motor problems with the water scooter. So they also went to The Brace. As I parked the car the wind had already picked up. On the dike we measured 35 knots, gusting 43 knots. I decided to take my smallest sail, the Severne Reflex III 5.6 and my smallest board, the Starboard iSonic Speedspecial W44. I already knew this could be a very good day so I took my time to rig my gear as good as possible. The guys from the Ghosts of Speed movie joined us and made some shots of 1 speedies rigging their gear to the max. Then the long long walk started to the sand bar, approx. 1800m.
Because the wind was so strong the tide dropped faster the normal, so our time window was bigger. After 10 minutes the tide dropped enough, so Jacques and I went out. The other guys came 30 minutes later. From time to time the wind was hauling. The wind was between 38 and 50 knots. My first 2 runs 10 sec. were both 82 km/h. Nice peakspeeds, but the runs weren't good enough. Jacques told me he was doing 87 km/h runs at that time. After that my runs became much faster, thanks Jacques ;). My third run was 85 km/h. My forth, sixth and seventh run were really fast, approx. 90 km/h (48.5 knots). My gear was perfectly balanced. Downwind a bit more wind wouldn't had been a problem, upwind 50 knots is really too much.
The first place from Anders Bringdal came in sight. Two more fast runs and I was there. At that time Jacques broke his mast and was out of the race, to bad. Hope you have better luck next time. My runs suddenly weren't that fast anymore. 82..84..86..84..86...Hans was flying in the meantime doing very fast runs. Congratulations with your amazing run, Mr. Blue Steel!!
My energy level dropped rapidly, so I decided to have a short brake. During my brake I noticed that my boom was more than 10 cm lower and my mastfoot had slid all the way to the front of the masttrack. I quickly fixed it and used the last bit of energy I had left to do 2 more good runs. And yes, 2 more good runs I made! 2x 89 km/h with a good 500 meter and a very good peak of 50.51 knots. I decided to call it a day.