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OCEANIC / NATIONAL Championships event report

Saturday, 6 Feb, 2010

DAY 1:

The first day of competition of the 2010 Formula Windsurfing Oceanic and Australian Championships got off to a ballistic start with high winds and large swells pelting the course for the entire day, bringing some exciting race action to Hawks Nest. With important points for the Formula Windsurfing (FW) World Ranking up for grabs competitors were keen to get out on the water despite the 5m swell breaking in the channel entrance to Port Stephens, which was the starboard layline in to the first mark.

Top Brazilian sailor Wilhelm Schurmann (Starboard/Neilpryde) dominated the event taking three wins today from three starts enjoying the big swells and strong gusty winds. Schurmann is currently leading the event on 3 points. With the wind moderating in the late afternoon for the final race from a solid 25 knots down to as low as 12 knots, international race director Tom Stephenson was able to get three clean races away despite the large swells on the course.

The defending champion Sean O’Brien (Point-7/Gaastra) kept tight on Schurmann’s heels all throughout the day and despite leading to the first mark in two of the races was unable to pass the Brazilian maestro and finished the day on 7 points; a clear second.

Previous Australian FW Title holder Sam Parker (Starboard/Neilpryde) kept consistent today and holds his third position overall on 13 points ahead of Stephen Floyd (Starboard/Neilpryde) and Brett Morris (Starboard/Severne).

French national from Martinique, Julien Ventalon (Gaastra/Gaastra) surprised many in the fleet finishing today’s racing only a whisker behind the top sailors in 6th overall and with a score discard coming up after the first race tomorrow will push himself in to the Top 5 if he remains consistent. Julien is now living in Brisbane and was lent equipment to race by his training partner, Sean O’Brien to be able to compete in the event.

Allison had an interesting start to the competition, catapulting in the first race while fending of a group of guys out of the top 10 but lost them with a devastating crash over the front leaving massive bruises and swelling on her left arm.  Jessica one of the group just pipped Allison in race one, but revenge was soon achieved when Allison consistently finished ahead of the girls in other races for the day.

With the forecast for the next few days looking excellent, the spectators at Jimmy’ Beach, Hawk Nest can again expect a great Formula Windsurfing display. The Formula Windsurfing Oceanic and Australian Championships will run until Saturday 6th February.

photo by Tam Hohnberg

DAY 2:

Another stonking hot Aussie summer day awaited the competitors as they arrived at Jimmy’s Beach for the second day of racing at the 2010 Oceanic and Australian Formula Windsurfing Championships. The forecast of 20-25 knots lived up to its name by the afternoon despite a shaky start with light winds blowing as the competitors left the beach for the 12.30pm start only to be greeted by howling 25 knot gusts as they got out to the startline.

With most of the fleet taking big sails up to 12m and expecting light winds it was up to event leader Wilhelm Schurmann (Starboard/Neilpryde) to show the Australian contingent how it was done taking another four bullets in today’s races on his 10.7m sail despite crashing in Race 3 in the strong gusts of the afternoon.

Sam Parker (Starboard/Neilpryde) managed to hold on to his 12m in winds up to 25 knots in Race 1 today taking two 4th‘s and two 2nd’s to end the day creeping up on Sean O’Brien (Point-7/Gaastra) who had issues with the strong winds and didn’t seem in form today although still holds his second place overall in the event. Sean was able to lead to the first mark in a number of races today but wasn’t able to hold his position to the end of the race settling with three 3rd’s before taking the final race up to the Brazilian and finishing only seconds behind event leader Wilhelm to end the day.

There was plenty of carnage on the course with the strong winds and continuing enormous swell with plenty of gear breakages and sailors who were unable to finish races during the day due to exhaustion. Women’s event leader and 3x World Champion Allison Shreeve (Gaastra/Gaastra) broke a mast just before the second race and slipped back against the Men today only squeezing in to the Top 10 in Race 3 although is still a clear margin ahead of her nearest rival, Olympian Jessica Crisp (Starboard/Neilpryde).

Showing his form today was Byron McIllveen (Point-7/Starboard) who scored a 5th in Race 3 today and then backed this up by leading around the top mark in Race 4 and held on to 5th overall at the finish to bring his overall place up to 9th in the Men’s fleet.

Again the forecast is for North-East winds tomorrow at 20-25 knots with a continuing 3-4m swell. With the swell so big today the entrance to Port Stephens at the top of the race course was closing out which allowed a bunch of locals the opportunity for some great tow-surfing sessions in the late afternoon which attracted even some of the competitors to get out their surfboards in the late afternoon. With the solid forecast we should see another 4 races run tomorrow bringing an important 3rd score discard for the competitors which will make the battle for the Australian Championship even more interesting come the morning.

Oceanics Pic by Tam Hohnberg

DAY 3:

Day 3 kicked off with plenty of sun and heat again but no wind for the 12.30pm start. After an extended delay of an hour the sailors were finally sent to the water in shifty light 10-12 knot breezes before the wind decided to crank to 25-30 knots for the afternoon with no warning leaving plenty of sailors struggling with their bigger rigs.

Event leader Wilhelm Schurmann (Starboard/Neilpryde) didn’t seem troubled today despite a number of Australians beating him to the top mark in the early stages of the races. Schurmann took another four bullets today to bring his score to 8 points overall; an almost unbeatable lead.

Defending champion and second place overall Sean O’Brien (Point-7/Gaastra) had a difficult day today failing to make the first start this morning after some gear failures however consolidated his tardiness with a solid 2nd behind Schurmann in Race 2. After the lunch break he fought off Brett Morris (Starboard/Neilpryde) and Sam Parker (Starboard/Neilpryde) in Race 3 to take another 2nd before three horrendous crashes in Race 4 in the strong winds put him back to 6th in the final race today.

Parker was on target today taking a 2nd and 3rd to close the gap on O’Brien to 5 points. Morris showed some late form taking it up to Schurmann in the final race to nail a solid 2nd bringing him in to the Top 5 in 4th overall.

Allison had devastating start to the day when she port tacked the fleet and managed to have a head on with Nathan Hohnberg taking a huge chunk out of the nose of her board.  After taking penalty turns managed to get back to 17th close behind Jessica in the light, shifty wind.  The victory was short lived when Allison finding new ambition on her birthday only just made the start of the 2nd race after repairing her board as best she could and finished ahead of the girls in the final three races for the day.


The Windsurf’n’Snow Ladies SUP (stand-up paddle) Race kicked off today with a 400m time-trial along the edge of Jimmy’s Beach. Wives and girlfriends of the sailors fought to record the fastest times using the Naish SUP boards supplied by Windsurf’n’Snow. The contest continues tomorrow with the fastest lady up for a Blackberry Smartphone as the prize.

A lighter forecast tomorrow should change the results up a little with the more dominant light-wind sailors given an opportunity for some last minute scores. We’ll see what tomorrow brings in the morning.

DAY 4:

Lighter winds and rain today for the final day of racing at the 2010 Oceanic & Australian Formula Windsurfing Championships at Hawks Nest which allowed the competitors one more race to bring the total to twelve races for the four-day championship.

Sean O’Brien (Point-7/Gaastra) cemented his second position overall today by winning the last race by a clear 20 second margin becoming the only sailor to beat the Brazilian champion Wilhelm Schurmann (Starboard/Neilpryde) in a race this week. O’Brien finished the event on 20 points overall, a clear 8 points ahead of Sam Parker (Starboard/Neilpryde) who made the podium finish and Brett Morris (Starboard/Severne) who finished on 41 points overall.

Event winner Schurmann dominated the event all week, winning 11 out of 12 races with an overall point score of 9 points taking home a new Blackberry smartphone and the winner’s trophy for his efforts. His first time sailing in this part of New South Wales the Brazilian 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. Surfing, SUP’ing, we did it all. I’ll definitely be back next year, and bring some friends”.

Nathan Hohnberg (Starboard/MauiSails) surprised a few today following O’Brien in second for most of the race before Schurmann pipped him on the last downwind and finished in 3rd, bringing him just out of the Top 10 for the event in 12th overall.

Ladies winner Allison Shreeve (Gaastra/Gaastra) closed the event strongly finishing a clear margin ahead of her nearest rival Jessica Crisp (Starboard/Neilpryde) to win the event.

A delay of two hours waiting for the wind before the final race allowed the competitors a chance to cheer on their wives, girlfriends and friends in the Windsurf’n’Snow Ladies SUP Race which eventually multiple Olympian Lainey Beashel won taking home the new smart phone handset from Blackberry.After the event wrapped up competitors enjoyed the Prize giving Ceremony at the Hawks Nest Golf Club with rock outfit “Afterglow Duo” flying down from Brisbane to provide the entertainment for the night; the festivities extended late in to the evening.

Sean O’Brien who finished second overall became the 2010 Australian Formula Windsurfing Champion being the first Australian overall as well as taking the Oceanic Champion title with Allison Shreeve also receiving both titles for the Ladies.For more info and photos see www.fw-australia.com  

FW Oceanic prize giving women  


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