by Sean O'Brien
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.
Startline action - Downunder Pro - Formula Windsurfing Championships
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.
Brett Morris (AUS-8) and Jesper Vesterstrom (DEN-111) - Downunder Pro - Formula Windsurfing Championships
A strong contingent from Europe will be downunder vying for the title this year. Jesper Vesterstrøm, 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 here
Sam Parker (AUS-3) and Sean O'Brien (AUS-120) - Downunder Pro - Formula Windsurfing Championships
Jesper Vesterstrom (DEN-111) - Downunder Pro - Formula Windsurfing Championships
Official Downunder Pro poster - Downunder Pro - Formula Windsurfing Championships