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On December 14th we saw the end of the Salt & Speed first act, the world speed sailing record attempt in the salines of Salin de Giraud in Camargue. The pair with Rob Douglas (kitespeed world record holder) worked perfectly and our performances established during this première have been great : Rob clocked the best 2012 kite speed with an official 53.40 kts average on 500 meters. On my side, i’m ending this session with a 52.45 kts, quite satisfied to be back at less than a knot behind Rob, after my knee injury last April.
I’m also very proud of the Salt & Speed team, a team who had been very efficient all along these 4 weeks, always full of passion and optimism, no matter how hard weather conditions were hard. Despite the cold, the rain or the lack of wind, they allow us, Rob and I, to concentrate ourself to what we do the best, trying to go fast!!!
It’s also thanks to the support of our partners for this event, Volkswagen Utility Vehicules, Zenith, the Salins, and the FFVL, that we could reach this level of performances, we will never be thankful enough… The Volkswagen Transporter Arena is today the fastest speed spot in Europe, that make us very proud and very grateful!
In 2013 we will probably see a new Salt & Speed edition and we hope to take advantage of the big Mistral days of spring to shift to the next gear and maybe established a new world speed kiting record!
November 17th will be the official launch of a new world speed sailing record attempt in France, the Salt And Speed. Why Salt exactly? Simply because the speed stadium specially created for this project, the Volkswagen Transporter Arena is located right in the middle of salt ponds and in one of the biggest salt production place in Europe, more precisely in Salin de Giraud. As you probably noticed, it’s thanks to Volkswagen Utility Vehicules France that this adventure has been possible but also with the support of the Salins Group (who provide us this amazing place), Zenith watches (who’s taking care of the timing) and finally the FFVL (French Kite Federation).
The first act of the Salt And Speed will take place between november 17th and december 14th and will be the achievement of a 2 years job. My dad Philippe and I have been always sure such an entreprise was possible here at home and it’s a real joy to invite Rob Douglas, world record holder (with 103 km/h), to come to try and perform on this new speed spot!
Invited by my friend and F ONE teammate Björn Kaupang, multiple snowkite world champion, we were in Norway with Marie from 26th to 30th of January to take part in the Haugastol Speed Challenge, a kite speed competition on snow. Charlotte Consorti and Anaïs Aguillon (F ONE Marketing manager and talented snowboarder!) took part in the trip too.
Just arrived the day before, Friday was totally dedicated to the speed. After a mythic arrival with a snowmobile on the spot, we set up the gear. Not really easy to connect the lines with ski gloves, avoid ice inside my googles or pump a kite with -12°c temperature, but we learn!
Well, after some long minutes, everybody is equipped, Marie go with a 9m, Charlotte with 11 and I with a Bandit 5 12m. For 3 hours, we will do runs, in a fresh snow (that doesn’t help to go fast), passing between a cell at the entry and another one at the end, spaced of around 300 meters. Feelings are quite similar to those we got on water, except for the temperatures of course! However, on an icy run, guys like Björn can easily approach 100 km/h!
The 3 hours spent on the run have pushed our bodies to the limits. I realize the second best time in the snowboard category, just at 0.2 km/h of the best one. Charlotte, Marie and Anaïs will constitute the women snowboard podium, sick! Alex Robin, another french rider who made the trip to Norway finish 5th in the ski category, where the competition was the toughest, by far! A super result for the first unofficial snowkite speed French team!!!
Second day, that was supposed to be the second and last day of speed competition will finally be a freeride day! Nobody will complain as the wind was very light and the snwo quality was impressive… A light wind will lead us to a better exposed plateau, and thanks again to my B5 12m, i will be able toclimb a bit. Luckily, a big field of virgin powder snow was waiting for me up there, and i will spend a good hour, all by myself, shredding all of it!
Prize giving ceremony and huge party after will end the day, animated by DJ Jaz and Madhi sound system, everything perfect to celebrate our podiums!!!
And to end this trip, a perfect Sunday, a pure freeride session in a new plateau, inside the Rallarvegen National Park with outstanding weather conditions….20-25 knots, B5 11m, and 30 to 50 cm of fresh powder!!! Unforgettable remembers, where you find yourself alone on virgin hills and where the next road is simply 3 days of walk far away… I let you imagine the paradise!
This second trip to Norway was again fantastic and give us the need to come back again to snowkite paradise. We would like all to thank Björn and his family (and especially his dad for so many hours driving us around!) and their welcome in the Haugastol Turistsenter. See you for sure next year for a new edition of the Haugastol Speed Challenge!
What a heat!!! 37°c on saturday afternoon, Perth has become almost unbearable! On friday, as i told you in my last post, i had the luck to be invited to visit Rottnest Island. An Australian TV channel, One HD, was there to shoot some lifestyle images for a 30 minutes program on the race. Marty Farrow, the local rider who came second in the last edition was with us and he showed me some really sick waves spots around the island as well! It makes me really think about coming back to shoot some footages!
Today, it’s time to go back in France! A huge THANKS to Tim Turner for his awesome welcome, and to Ross Wyness et Janine Pittaway to give to the race a so good support. See you next year for sure and good luck for the race on the 18th, still 24min 34sec record to beat This afternoon, i’m heading to Paris for the Boat Show, with the presentation on wednesday 5pm of the next edition of the Mondial du Vent in April 2012! See you there maybe!!!
These last few days in Perth have been really productives. I’ve been able to kite everyday, from 9 to 12 meters kites, in almost every conditions, with a wind going from 18 to 20 knots. Perfect training conditions! So good on tuesday that with a angry freemantle doctor blowing 25 to 30 knots, i had a very good idea… Over motivated when i left Cottlesloe, i’ve decided to go upwind to Leighton beach, and then make a long tack solo and direct to Rottnest Island!
Of course, i was equipped with a flair for my own safety. During the crossing, i’ve crossed some tankers and container-ships but only one fishing boat, that i waived to, just in case… 36 minutes later, i reached the most eastern rock of Rottnest, jibed around, and started my journey back, full speed!
I mean… not so full speed in fact… Because you don’t want something bad happens where you are in the middle of the crossing (like breaking a line or simply fall hard and get injured), i slowed down voluntarily. I went down to 70-80%, reaching my best speed in the last kilometers, where i was quite sure someone would see me if i was in danger. The funny thing is it tooks me only few seconds more than last year, with a time of 25 minutes from Lighthouse to Leighton! With a total time of 1 hour and 1 minute for the back-and-forth crossing, here are the rest of the session figures : 51 km in 90 minutes, 27 knots avg on a mile and 28 kts Vmax.
Yesterday Rob Douglas and Bill Lynch arrived from the US, to put some spices in the game, it was really cool to see them again. After a nice lunch facing the sea, we hit the beach where i decide to do a short “warm-down” session, the main objective being to save some energy for the race that should happen in only 3 days
And that brings us to today! I had a meeting this morning with one of the main radio in Perth, Mix94.5, where i had my first interview in English and live! With a warm welcome, the 2 radio hosts, Fred Botica (ex pro windsurfer from the 80′s) and Lisa Shaw make me feel like home. They were really great, no sneaky questions and a lot of laughs!!! If you want to discover the show : “The Bunch”
We end the day with a photoshoot for a newspaper, The West Australian. The shoot takes place in a spot on the Swan River, and even if the wind is far from perfect, we cannot miss the occasion of discovering a new spot…. Rob and I have to set up a short choregraphy, him has to pass really close to the photographer and i have to jump in the back. It will take us a little bit of time but finally we managed to do it quite correctly. We will see that on saturday in the newspaper!
Sadly, after this very cool session, we heard that the competition won’t finally happen, because of the lack of wind in the forecast next saturday (a strong Est pattern and high temperatures will block the sea breeze). The Reb Bull Lighthouse to Leighton has been postponed to a provisional 18th of december, but Rob and I will already be back home… A very sad news, but what can we do, this kind of things happen in our sport!
Tomorrow we are going to Rottnest Island, with the ferry that time, to take some pictures of this so beautiful island and why not having a short kite session if we can!!!
After a long first day where i fought against the jetlag, i had two great days training here in Perth, more precisely in Cottlesloe, a few minutes away from the city center, more on the south. The beach is located just 5 minutes away from Tim’s house, so no need for a car! On saturday, for my first day in the water, the Freemantle Doctor (the name of the wind here) is blowing strong, a solid 30-35 knots, and we decide to go to Leighton beach (where the race arrival will be) to get a first recon run. A lot of people is in the water, and i can say the kite community is well represented here in Perth!
I decide to take my Bandit 5 9m and my speed crossing board and i do some back and forth run in front of the beach. It’s so good to be back in the water (warm!), full speed between the waves. The chops are everywhere and it’s funny how it feels like motocross… even the board sometimes thinks it’s a bike when it goes on wheelings!!!
This short warm-up session allows me to kite for 30 kms anyway, with a nice 34 knots Vmax and more than 30 knots average on a nautical mile.
We end the session by a downwind from Leighton to Cottlesloe, and we come home afoot, gear under our arms, can we ask for more?
On sunday, wind is supposed to blow a lot less and we have to wait until 3 pm for the breeze to start blowing. A light 15 knots shows up and i’m taking the 12m out! This time, it’s a start from the beach in front of our house and a good upwind run that’s waiting for me. But waht a pleasure! The breeze is definately here, 15 to 20 knots, and i’m well powered with my 12m. The sky is a little grey, i’m all by myself (which is not very “reassuring” regarding the big fishes crusing under me in this area…) but it doesn’t stop me and 20 minutes later i’m in front of Leighton beach.
Going out again, i say to myself it would be cool to go see closer the big ships anchored in the channel between Rottnest Island and the continent. Seven kilometer later, i’m jibing close to a container ship and i find myself exactly in the position i wanted to be, facing the finish of the race that will happen in a few days. It allows me to take some landmarks to not get lost next saturday when i will be full speed… 7 kms represent the last third of the race and i’ve travelled it with a not-too-bad 25 knots average, regarding the water quality which was catastrophic and the wind blowing not so strong… Well, it was a good run for my legs, and i decide to finish by two other 6 kms runs that will bring me back to the beach i started. A total of 41 kms this time, travelled on a good speed, without any fears that time except for 2 or 3 flying fishs jumps!
Today the wind should blow again, another good training day to come!
After more than 23 hours of travelling and a cool +7 hours jetlag, i’m finally arrived in Australia, in Perth more precisely. What a joy to be in this city, in summer time, even if the sky is very cloudy this morning!
It’s my friend Tim (organizer of the Red Bull Lighthouse to Leighton) who come to pick me up at the airport. As soon as we arrived at his place (where I’m invited to stay for the whole trip, thanks mate!), I just have the time to eat a first proper breakfast, go to shower, and I fall asleep right away. Two hours later, I managed to go out of the bed despite a violent jetlag… I have to stay awake or I won’t sleep tonight.
Wind is already on today but I’ve decided to “take a day off” to recover from the long trip. I don’t want to reproduce the same mistakes again… So I go for some small shopping and stop on the beach for lunch. It’s so good to be back!
Tomorrow and the days after, weather and wind forecast look good, it will be perfect to get some good training sessions for the race, programmed on the 3rd of December.
On the 23rd of november, so within 2 weeks, i will fly to Perth, Western Australia. Luckily, i’ve been invited by Yellow Jersey for the second time to take part in the longuest race in the country, the Red Bull Lighthouse to Leighton (www.lighthouse2leighton.com.au), a competition i won in 2010.
This time the competition gets bigger as there will be not less than 100 competitors on the same starting line, and a guy called Rob Douglas will also take part, making the game more spicy! My two goals for this event is to defend my title of course, but also to improve the last year record for the crossing between Rottnest Island and Leighton Beach, 24 minutes and 34 sec!
Rendez-vous the 3rd of december for the crossing start and for now, watch the last year video to give you a taste of what is coming!
The last days on Martha’s Vineyard island have been really epic, a storm which got the great idea to invade a large part of the North American continent! A snow storm touching New York and Boston, so really close to us, made drop hard the temperatures. And on saturday, last day of racing, we knew that the wind will blow strong, but the worry came from the windchill factor. Indeed, with 45 knots of wind, it was of course a negative one!!!
And finally, it’s what happened on saturday afternoon… 6° celsuis only and a solid 45 knots…. and not a ray of sunlight because it’s pouring with rain!!! Definately not the best to motivate us to jump in the water but we are used to fight with those conditions and well equipped to : mittens and beanie ION, plus a so efficient ONYX 5/4 wetsuit will work perfectly!
During the hour which will last that leg, the wind will blow strong ( 50 knots in the gusts), and armed with my Bandit 5 8m i’m going to do a lots of runs. Rob has got his 9m and shorter lines than me and finally it will be a better setup. We are scoring the same Vmax, at more than 55 knots, but he keeps the best speed with a 50.99 average on 250m compare to mine @ 48,87.
In the evening, time for celebration! The prize giving ceremony is taking place in the very famous Yacht Club of Edgartown. One again, i would like to thank everyone who made this event possible on the American soil, with of course in first Rob Douglas and Bill Lynch, The Black Dog company, Cabrinha, and Lynch Associates on the sponsor sides, Brock Callen our race director (who gave us hard times all along theses two weeks but we will not blame him one second!), all the volunteers who help us even with theses hardcore conditions!!! Congratulations also to all the competitors and more particularly to my F ONE Team, with Charlotte Consorti (who ended 9th) and Christophe Prin-Guenon (who took the 7th place even if he left the comp too early because of an injury). Finally, big congratulations to the French team who won the first edition of the “Lynch Cup” : team F ONE plus Seb Salerno, Sylvain Hoceini, Jerome Bila and Patrice Menossi. See you next year for the revenge!!!
As a bonus, the last episode of the North American Speed Sailing Invitational shot by Damien Leroy, that end perfectly this sick event!
This second week on the American soil has been way better than the first one! A little bit more wind, nice racing conditions, once again wonderful landscapes and crazy spots, perfect to climb and secure the second place on the event ranking…
Anyway, i still have a “bitter” taste in my mouth, due to the lack of strong wind conditions, my smaller kite size was indeed a 11 sqm. But that’s a game, we’ve all accepted, we discovered a new spot and next year, i will be more prepared to defy Rob on his territory!
You can discover a bit more the atmosphere of this competition thanks to Damien Leroy, who shot and edited two cool videos (and who took the headline picture of that new by the way!)
I would also like to dedicate that news to our friend and teammate Christophe Prin-Guenon who had to left prematurely the competition on a wrist injury. We wish him the fastest recovery and comeback on water!!!
It happened so many things since we arrived on Martha’s Vineyard island, thursday 13th of october! Not less than 7 legs raced, in various wind conditions, on both starboard and port tack, from very light to medium-high wind… For the moment, i could only use my Bandit 5 14, 12 and 11, not really the sizes i’m used to ride in speed, but we hope to get some stronger winds within the end of the week.
Rob Douglas, and his brother Jamie, are of course really familiar with their home spot, and they like these light wind condition but that’s the game! For the moment, my ranking is 3rd, 2 points behind Jamie but with the second speed of the comp at a little bit more than 45 knots. Rob is at 1 knots ahead, but he is now far away in front of the ranking, with 7 wins on 7 races…! By the way, the atmosphere on the competition is awesome, in and out of the water, riders are all smiling and everyone is really enjoying every minute of it. The island is beautiful, and full of spots, perfect for speed of course but also for freestyle and waves…It makes you want to come back here for holidays!
We should get some good winds again by the end of the week, with some cooler temperatures, that should be less funny… But with the happiness and smiles from the locals, it should be OK!
As a bonus, the video shot and mount by Damien Leroy of the first days, which should give you a good overview of the quality of the spots here!
I’m flying this morning to Boston with the F ONE speed team (Charlotte, Christophe and Manu) where we are invited to the first edition of the NASSI (North American Speed Sailing Invitational), that will take place from the 17th to the 31st of october, on Martha’s Vineyard island.
The goal of the competition is simple : they invite the 12 best speed riders according to the WSSRC ranking (+ 3 wild cards) who will battle on the various spots available on the island to see who’s the fastest of course!
The US and French “drafts” are well represented (6 riders each) so it sounds like it’s gonna turn into a duel USA vs FRANCE, but well…. it’s written anyway on the poster!!!
First place for this third edition of the Orange Speed Crossing at the Mondial du Vent in Leucate! In front of Rob Douglas (Cabrinha) and Joeffrey Mascarel (North), and all the other windsurfers, Albeau ends 4th.
Thanks a lot to all the members of the organisation, all the volunteers, the participants of the OSC and of course to the spectators of la Franqui for this great event! See you next year for a new edition!!!
We have the pleasure on thursday afternoon to go sailing with a beautiful 60 feet machine, the Emotion Trimaran (former SOPRA). Great time and great pictures… Image Credit : Mondial du Vent.
A first physical but winning day at the Orange Speed Crossing in Leucate for the Mondial du Vent. Ranked second behind Rob at the end of the first leg, i won the second and took the lead of the overall ranking. Best run at 41,6 knots. Nothing is done yet but i have great feelings on this run (even with the 60km of long distance yesterday…), my gear is working perfectly and psychologically speaking, it’s better like that!
Another big day is announced today, briefing is programmed at 8.30 again for a first possible start around 10.30. If you want to follow “live” the race, you can consult twitter accounts of @WJTweets and @Ride_sessions.