Local windsurfer wins at national championships
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.