Sean O’Brien reports from Day 1 of the Formula Windsurfing  World Championships in Puerto Rico, where 3 women and 41 men fight for the 2011 worldtitle

Sean O’Brien

Nationality: Australia

Sailnumber: AUS-120

Sponsors: Starboard, Point-7, VMG Blades, SuperFit Personal Training




“Woke up this morning and it was already 25 knots as I peered out the window to the beach from my bed. Think I’m going to rig 11.0m, cause that’s all I brought……”

When we left the beach last night after putting the equipment in the gear tent that was about all there was on the beach in terms of infrastructure for the event. When we arrived this morning for the first day of racing we were surprised to see another 15 tents on the beach; some big white tents to allow us to store rigs between races, food tents, drink tents, DJ booth, photography tower and of course, the Corona tent full of the beautiful Corona beer promo girls. Ahhhh. Nice work Puerto Rico!!

The geartent.


Race 1 kicked off on the scheduled start of 2pm and despite our Belgian race director Bruno calling it 16 knots on his Facebook tonight the wind was around 22-25 knots with a vicious chop/swell running through the course over the various reefs. The startline was insanely port biased and it was clear the port start was the favoured route so after about 4 massive crashes, which ended with 2 split boards and the Dutchman Casper Bouman taken away in an ambulance we were in to Race 1….
The course was set really well with a windward/leeuward course of 3 laps precisely set to avoid all the reefs on the laylines (as long as you followed the right lanes) and made for some pretty interesting racing out on the water in the nuking conditions.


Sean on the upwind.

I didn’t have the best start in this race but sat in the front pack for most of the race; still a little bit unsure where the reefs are out on the course and a little bit too strapped on 11.0m in these kinds of winds I took it a little easy and finished 17th in this race with Jesper Vesterstrom doing the best of the Starboard boys in 3rd with Antoine Albeau taking the first bullet of the event (he was actually beaten by Gonzalo Costa-Hoevel who ended up being OCS).

Nice beachfeeling.

15 minutes was all we got between races which was ok because there was sports drink on ice, gourmet turkey/salad wraps and fresh fruit waiting for us in the tents in between races. The wind picked up quite a bit for Race 2 up and around the 27 knot mark (as measured at the top mark apparently) which made it a bit of a nightmare in the chop on 11.0 for me!! I decided to start again on starboard as there is some sickening crashes happening each start and I just value my life and limbs too much to push those extra couple of places you get from starting on port. This race, the “Dragon” Arnon Dagan showed us his pre-event speed and blitzed the first mark before being passed by Albeau who later crashed on Lap 3 because apparently he was trying to hang on to a 12m in 27 knots (WTF?!). Arnon took the bullet with Jesper taking another consistent 3rd place. I had a good race here sitting on the back of the front pack, but ended up going too far on the last downwind and had to sail around the reef to get to the bottom mark and lost a few places to end in 13th.

Jesper Vesterström is tuned in well.

At race 3 the wind dropped off a TINY bit, but was still up to 25 knots in the gusts. Incredibly, quite a few guys like Wojtek Brzozowski opted to change up to 11.7m sails (no idea how they hang on to them), which seemed to improve their results. It felt like this was the worst of the starts for crashes with Wilhelm Schurmann crashing in to Arnon Dagan off the line just in front of me, which left me ducking both then almost running in to Steve Allen, who was on port who had to hit the brakes and almost put it in the drink which put him back a lot of places!

Some minutes before the start.

Wojtek Brzozowski (on port) plowed in to Steve Bodner and smashed a big hole in his board as well as one of the French team got his new JP board nearly split in half after crashing in to Brasilian Victor Melo! As a result of all this carnage I got a little buried in the start dodging guys on port, who don’t give way to starboard boats so I ended up in a big pack, which was hard to get out of and finished 21st in this race.
Still sitting in 13th overall after 3 races with Schurmann and Steve Allen a few places behind me, who will jump up when we get our first drop today. Antoine Albeau is currently leading ahead of Jesper Vesterstrom and Arnon Dagan.


Results after day  1 (3 races):

1. Antoine Albeau

2. Jesper Vesterström

3. Arnon Dagan


We’re about to head down to the Opening Ceremony now and enjoy the festivities put on by the event sponsors, Corona beers. More updates tomorrow.


Check out for more photos and updates as well as keep in touch with the action as it happens by following me on Twitter (@SeanAUS120).


© Sean O´Brien, 2011