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Interview with Speedsailing Hall of Fame member Thierry Bielak

04-17-2008 05:25 PM CET | Sports

Press release from: Speed:World:Cup

Thierry Bielak in action

Thierry Bielak in action

An unmissable character from the windsurf world, specially where that concerns speed sailing, 3 times world speed record holder and Speedsailing Hall of Fame member Thierry Biélak is saying his farewells after years of appearing on the runs and roads for the RRD brand… New horizons, new projects ahead, he takes time out to talk to us about his long career as a speedboard addict !!! : From 1991 to 2004, you’ve been the boss of speed windsurfing, with those 3 consecutive world speed records, what’s your retrospective view of this decade of domination ?
Thierry Biélak : I started windsurfing in 1980 aged 24 and did my first speed competition in Brest in 1984. But it took me another 5 years to win my first speed world championships in St-Maries-de-la-Mer in 1989. It took me a lot of tenacity and observation to properly understand how it all worked because in truth I wasn’t really destined for windsurfing or for competitions !!! In fact, in parallel to my sporting career I’ve always kept my job as a salesman. But I’ve always been whole-hearted and I took windsurfing seriously, I think from the day that I won my first competition it had a liberating effect for me. During the next 6 years, equally for the world championships as for setting world records, I think I was the master of the equipment that was available at the time. I’d like to thank people like Nautix (20 years of support) and ITV who made me some truly excellent sails for the time. I managed to set 3 absolute all-category world speed records, and I’m the only person to have beaten his own record twice : 43.06 knots on 7th March 2001, 44.66 knots 18th April 2001, 45.34 knots 24th April 2003, and I was 36 by the time I set the third one ! I think quite a few people found that I’d set the bar pretty high, then lots of the major manufacturers lost interest in speed sailing, the new trend was for freeride with sails with no cambers and much easier boards !!!

WJ : Some of the "younger" riders have picked up the baton since 2005, Finian Maynard and Albeau Albeau recently, what do you think about the new 49.09 knot record ?
TB : Finian Maynard had the will, like me before him, to push the record , and he succeeded seeing as he managed to set 2 new speed sailing records. As for Albeau, I had already said in an interview with Wind magazine ten years ago that he was the most promising candidate for the title, what a visionary I was !!! Antoine is a real worker and very serious, like his dad !

WJ : After Finian Maynard’s record in November 2004 (46.82 knots), you effectively retired from competition, why ?
TB : Age was the master, at 48 physical strength had already started to decline, despite the fact that I’d stepped up my physical training. Finian Maynard is 22 years younger than me…

WJ : It seems that pressure is part and parcel of the speed sailing package, how did you manage to deal with that ?
TB : Exactly, when I did the speed attempt with Finian on the canal, I put so much pressure on myself that it actually held me back, it wasn’t right, it stopped everything. I canb se that Finian had the same thing with his 46 knots despite Albeau hitting 49.09 knots. Finian’s not going any slower than 2 years ago !!! But he’s lost 3 knots to the risers…

WJ : There was a big blank period on the speed canal for more than ten years, do you think your record could have fallen if there hadf been some serious attempts in the last 10 years ?
TB : Obviously if during the mid 90s the sponsors had followed the trend and if speed sailing had been seen as cool, the record should have been beaten much sooner…

WJ : With your experience and perspective that you have on speed sailing, who do you see as closest to the 50 knot mark : windsurfers, kitesurfers or the Hydroptère ?
TB : Windsurfing rigs are still among the best and could easily go on to break the 100kph barrier. Kitesurf looks the most likely to develop quickly and it’s easier for them to find spots suitable for speed sailing. Boats also have enormous potential but I think their industry isn’t really committed to researching it apart from the odd attempt here and there… I wish them and their project leaders the best of luck !

Interview by

For more information about the Speed:World:Cup, the International Speed Windsurfing Class (ISWC) and the Professional Kite Riders Association (PKRA), please contact

Tour Manager
Markus Schwendtner Consulting GmbH
Wilhelmstr. 25-30
13593 Berlin
Fon: +49 30 2461 6930
Fax: +49 1212 5 10 60 29 02

For direct media inquiries, high resolution pictures and video feeds, please contact directly

Speed:World:Cup is the officially sanctioned world tour of the International Speed Windsurfing Class (ISWC) and the Professional Kite Riders Association (PKRA).

The Speed:World:Cup events go from exceptional action in Namibia to more cosmopolitan spots such as Fuerteventura - the historical European Speedsurfing Capital, to huge shows of extreme conditions on small islands like Karpathos. In total, there are 200 to 300 competitors at the same time, from places like Australia or Brasil, to Germany or Norway.

The Tour has to offer: dynamic, thrilling action, and bring the most visually dynamic aquatic sports to the audience, making it a perfect vehicle to locate sponsors logos; a sport that is set outdoors, healthy and environmental friendly.

Superb action on the water, combined with an interactive and exciting life experience, that creates an atmosphere where the fans and the media are face to face with the most radical and intense competition and the biggest personalities of the sport.
Besides being a sport of radical action, Windsurfing and Kiteboarding is a way of life. This type of life is formed by several elements to which many aspire, but that few can really achieve. Most of, if not even all of these aspects of the sport are represented in the Speed:World:Cup.

The Speed:World:Cup is entitled to hold World, Continental and National Championships and is always looking for partners, local organizers as well as national associations, to propagate this exciting and thrilling discipline all over the world.



Hi-Res Pics and Videos available on request.


For more information about the Speed:World:Cup, please do not hesitate to contact us at:


Markus Schwendtner - Tour Manager
Rohrbecker Weg 43
14612 Falkensee

Fon: +49 1713819139

The Speed:World:Cup is sanctioned by ISAF, ISWC and PKRA

Please visit these links:

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