Bernd Szyperrek from Germany placed 5th. over-all and won the heavy weight title at the Kona Worlds in Nivaa, Denmark. Unknown to the class, Bernd kept a low profile on-shore, but quickly came alive at the race course – consistently scoring top 10 positions and improving as the event developed, to finish off with 4 – 2 – 4 – 5.
We wanted to know who this “mystery man” really was, that could enter the class directly at the Worlds - without any Kona racing experience, and walk away with a much deserved Gold medal.
“I started racing the Optimist dinghy at the age of 10, and continued competing at a high level in national and international classes such as the 470, Flying Dutchman and the Korsar. At the age of 16 I became the vice European Korsar champion. However, and particularly in the 470 class I could win high wind races in big international fleets, but never had a chance in moderate conditions. My weight was always my problem.
In 1985 I decided to try windsurfing and successfully competed in the Div II class already the following year. I even got elected for our national team, but decided to switch to the Funboard class. I had good sponsors like Fanatic, Fivestar, F2, Bic and others, but damaged my shoulder in 1990 and quit windsurfing – and went back to dinghy sailing after a short break. From 1992 to 2011 I participated regularly in National, European and World Championships with results in the top 10. However, the complexity of high level dinghy sailing along with the physical strain (I had developed knee and back pains) made me think about windsurfing again. I had also been encouraged by my wife and windsurfing queen Petra for several years. I decided to start racing again, but preferably in a class that could be raced in sub planning conditions because of my shoulder problem. My weight is 86.5 kilos, so in the Raceboard class I would have no chance against lighter guys. The Kona, with no pumping and with a perfect sail size system became my obvious choice. For the first time in my carrier I know I can compete at absolutely equal terms, which is a sensational feeling. I believe the Kona One is the fairest sailing class today – even with all dinghy classes included.
I hope it will spread rapidly also in southern Europe with lots of racing opportunities. I will be there, and I already look forward to the next Worlds.
Greetings from the small lake called Allersee.”