All photos courtesy of www.martin-raget.com
On 5th March Antoine Albeau broke the world speed record in a howling, freezing cold Mistral wind on the 1000m canal in Les Saintes Maries de la Mer in France. This is one giant step closer to breaking that 50knot barrier – an unbelievable performance from the fastest man on the planet.
Did 'the run' feel special? Did it feel like the fastest run you've ever done?
Antoine: Actually it was one of the easiest runs I did that day, because all the others were so difficult because of the chop. But I knew that it was a good run when I crossed the end.
What is it going to take now to do 50 knots?
Antoine: I think I can do the 50 knots with the equipment I have now, but I will still work on my secret weapon! We really need the perfect conditions to do the 50knots, at least a solid 45 to 50kts of wind with the perfect angle of wind.
Are there any new technologies out there which would assist in reducing drag of the board and help you go faster?
Antoine: It’s hard to know. I didn't spend a lot of time on the canal, I went only three times and if you want to tune some new gear it is hard to find another spot where you can sail with such a small board. But I am thinking about it.
What was Finian's reaction when you took his record off him?
Antoine: It was in the middle of the day and there was no time print on the board at the end of my run. The organisers told me, when I was going back to the start, that I had done 49knots but nothing was sure. Finian heard and he wasn't really happy about it. But he came the next day to congratulate me; that was cool.
You are, literally, the fastest man on the planet at the moment but not just in speed, also in slalom. What has changed now to when you were competing on the PWA Slalom Tour when Dunkerbeck was dominating everything?
Antoine: I think I just go faster than before. I have got a lot of experience and I think that the harder the conditions, the faster I am!
Finally, please describe the kit you used on 'the run'?
Antoine: I was using a Starboard custom board 37cm. Robert Stroj made me the same design RS Racing 5.0 sail but in 4.8m² and the fin is a special Deboichet custom for the canal.