Lo­cal wind­surfer wins at na­tional cham­pi­onships

Whitsunday Times - - SPORT -


HAMIL­TON Is­land wind­surfer and 18 time na­tional cham­pion Den­nis Win­stan­ley proudly took out the podium spot for a 19th time this month.

The na­tional cham­pi­onships were held in Mid­dle Har­bour in Syd­ney from Fe­bru­ary 21 – 23 and had 41 com­peti­tors from all over Aus­tralia.

Prac­tis­ing alone in the wa­ters around Hamil­ton Is­land, he said it was “hard to judge if I was go­ing fast or not, so I just re­fined my skills.”

Win­stan­ley was re­as­sured when he started the races in Syd­ney and no­ticed his board speed was still very com­pet­i­tive in the wind­ward lee­ward rac­ing.

Even though Win­stan­ley had taken a break from the na­tional cham­pi­onships and the class for the pre­vi­ous two years, he had not lost his win­ning tech­nique, com­ing first in the slalom, course rac­ing and freestyle events.

A third in his di­vi­sion for the marathon event meant that he be­came the over­all win­ner out of all the weight classes.

Sec­ond place went to Stu­art Gil­bert of Syd­ney and Will Wright of New­cas­tle, with Ca­rina Florin of Syd­ney com­ing first among the women.

“It would be great to see more people on this type of board as it is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a resur­gence, es­pe­cially in Europe and Amer­ica,” Win­stan­ley said.

“When I think back to my ex­pe­ri­ence of the big­gest ever sail­ing event in the south­ern hemi­sphere which had about a thou­sand com­peti­tors all on the start line in 1984, I hope that young people will start to again con­sider one de­sign wind­surfer class as an eco­nom­i­cal op­tion for not only re­cre­ation, but for na­tional and in­ter­na­tional com- pe­ti­tions, as well as a lead in to an Olympic sport.”

Win­stan­ley is next look­ing for­ward to head­ing to the Florida Keys for the Kona One De­sign wind­surf­ing world cham­pi­onship event in Novem­ber.

Al­though a dif­fer­ent class of board, the sport is such that step­ping from one class to an­other is seam­less.

“I’ve been wind­surf­ing and com­pet­ing since I was 13-year­sold and I still get a buzz out of this sport,” he said.

ON THE WA­TER: Hamil­ton Is­land wind­surfer Den­nis Win­stan­ley (sail #18) over­tak­ing 19-year-old Matt Ivshenko from Syd­ney in the slalom event.

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