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Carnarvon Windfest lives up to its name as perfect conditions see action-packed weekend

Jake Santa MariaMidwest Times
Perfect Conditions allowed for plenty of hard and fast action Pictured: Ieke Verkuil
Camera IconPerfect Conditions allowed for plenty of hard and fast action Pictured: Ieke Verkuil Credit: Steve McEwan

Carnarvon turned into the windsurfing capital of Australia over the weekend for the fourth annual Carnarvon Windfest as more than 100 riders, surfers and sailors braved the waves.

Carnarvon Windfest was held over four days from January 12 to 15 and featured a raft of events, from competitive windsurfing to wing foiling, kiteboarding, stand-up paddleboarding and Windrush catamaran racing.

The event aims to capitalise on the region’s consistent summer winds to bring competitors and visitors from WA and interstate to compete, bringing awareness of and economic benefit to local businesses during the off-peak season.

President of the Carnarvon Windfest committee Danny Lobwein said he was exhausted after an action-packed event.

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“We were pumping. Conditions were perfect even though we had to postpone a few races on Sunday, we got all the blue ribbon events run on Sunday,” he said.

“It’s the best wind we’ve had in the history of the event. When you have the wind everything else just falls into place.

“We were going from heats straight into semifinals and finals. We were actually packing up early because we ran through everything so quickly.

“I think a fair few people were pleased we had to postpone some Sunday events and get some extra rest as a few bodies were put through a pounding on Saturday.”

In addition to the featured races, on offer were expression sessions (not scored) and classes as well as plenty of other entertainment including live music, markets and food stalls, with Exmouth band Dingo Sungod proving a big hit.

“Our team of volunteers were flat out across the entire town, with big thanks to the Carnarvon Yacht Club who was cooking food every day and all our sponsors who help bring the festival together,” Mr Lobwein said.

“It’s a real shot in the arm to the local economy in what is otherwise a pretty quiet period for the town.”

In the freestyle events, Ieke Verkuil and Marnix Van Winkelhoff took out the women’s and men’s kite, while Sarah Rafferty won the 1km stand-up paddleboard race in a time of 8 minutes and 57:09 seconds, just ahead of Tony Ratliffe at 8 minutes and 57:26 seconds.

John Finck was the clear winner in the W14 Catamaran event, more than six minutes clear of his nearest rival, while Danny Ellis won the open division.

Verkuil took out the kiteboarding race in a time of 50 minutes 59 seconds as Gavin Hirschhausen won the men’s division in a time of 44:29.

In the windsurfing race, Swiss competitor Patrik Diethelm took the line honours with a time of 51:12.

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