Official press release:40km kitesurf race through the Baltic Sea
This weekend saw some incredible feats of endurance at the longest and largest kitesurf event in the world, Red Bull Coast 2 Coast. Bjoern Rune Jensen was the fastest man on the water, crossing and re-crossing the Fehmarn Belt between Germany and his native Denmark in just one hour and six minutes. Germany’s Florian Gruber flew the flag for the other host nation by finishing fourth. A total of 348 adrenaline junkies took on the 40km course between Fehmarn and Lalandia.
Fehmarn (Germany) Clear blue skies and good wind conditions made for perfect racing weather on Saturday as the competitors in this year’s Red Bull Coast 2 Coast gathered on Niobe Beach for the start of the race at 2.05pm. No fewer than 348 athletes from 13 countries had made the journey to the Baltic Sea to take on the challenge of crossing the 40km strait that separates Germany from neighbouring Denmark. While most kitesurf races see a few dozen competitors complete a circular course, Red Bull Coast 2 Coast challenged participants to travel quite literally from one country to another.
The battle for positions began right on the start line, with the top racers up at the front of the pack jostling for position as the field headed out into open water. Everywhere you looked there were individual duels being fought, with the huge crowd of surfers creating billowing clouds of white spray as they battled for every metre.
Reaching speeds of up to 25 knots, the athletes headed north, with the fastest reaching the Danish coast after just 25 minutes. While those with enough energy took a tight line through the buoy marking the halfway point on the course, plenty of athletes let their kites sink to the water and clambered out onto the beach, exhausted, before taking the ferry back to Fehmarn. Indeed, those still out racing may have soon started to regret their decision as their thighs started to burn with 20km still to go to the finish line...
Just a few kilometres from the start a five-man group broke away from the rest of the field line, with Denmark’s Bjoern Rune Jensen able to maintain his lead through to the finish, coming in over five minutes ahead of Alex Caizerguez (FRA) and Steffen Oevind (DEN) to claim victory.
Exhausted but grinning from ear to ear, Jensen received his prize: a kite surfing trip to Hawaii, including a chance to meet surfing legend Robby Naish. Florian Gruber from Garmisch-Partenkirchen was the best German racer in fourth place. The fastest woman in the field was also a German, with Christine Böchinger receiving one of the warmest welcomes of the day as she reached the finish line. However, in a race such as Red Bull Coast 2 Coast everyone who makes it through to the finish can call themselves a winner – after all, they are one of the very few people to have survived what is probably the toughest kitesurf race on the planet.
1.Platz: Bjoern Rune Jensen (DEN), 01:06:29 h
; 2.Platz Alex Caizergues (FRA), 01:12:00 h; 3.Platz Steffen Oevind (DEN), 01:13:00 h
Best German: Florian Gruber (Garmisch-Partenkirchen, GER), 4th place, 1:15:05 h
Best woman: Christine Bönninger (Kiel, GER), 01:39:17 h