How and why I fell in love with the Kona Class
Words from Michael Anker (DEN) – the Kona Vice World heavy weight Champ 2011.
I started racing in the Windsurfer Class in 1979, at the age of 14, but moved on to the to the Windglider Class in 1980, which at that time also got appointed the Olympic Class for the 1984 games. Soon after I became a member of Danish Olympic team together with this years Kona World Champion Tim Aagesen and several other good Danes.
It was strictly one design, and I was successful during the years leading up to the Olympic with good results both locally and internationally – and was regarded among top-five in Denmark. However, in the mid 80’s the One Design classes faded and the racing arena shifted to open class competitions, - allowing equipment of all kinds,- even the new and faster displacement boards. Fair sailing were no longer possible since everyone could decide what sail, board and equipment to use, thus loosing the fair play factor. Instead it became an equipment race favoring the guys with the “deepest pockets” .
For this reason I gave up racing in 1985, but kept on windsurfing on speed and fun boards of different kinds. I had not been participating in any regattas for almost 25 years, - until I got introduced to the Kona Class in 2010 by Tim Aagesen and good friends in the growing Danish Kona community.
They convinced me to participate in the Danish Championship last year, and I suddenly realized there was finally a Class that could satisfy all our needs, despite weight, age or skill levels – thanks to the sail size system. I borrowed a board with a 9.0 m2 which is my (heavy weight) sail size. I instantly felt the Kona longboard brought back all the joy from my early days of windsurfing. It is fantastic to race in one fleet with all weight groups together, no matter if you are 55 or 100 kilos (my own weight) as the different sail sizes create an even playing field and fair competitions. In the end of the day it is all about experience, tactics and board handling which will determine the rank and winner of each race. One Class for all due to the perfect “compensation system”. For a reasonable investment, you are immediately able to race against the best in the Kona Class.
| The experience from our
National Championship last year, inspired me to buy my own board and I
have already been able to spend more than 100’s of hours on the water
since then. Both for serious competitions as well as “family fun”. For
this reason my two oldest sons’ have started to windsurf on the Kona as
well. Truly a “multi age” board, and what is more fun than competing
with your children on equal equipment.
All the hours I spent on my Kona the past year gave me the inspiration and possibility to take part in the 2011 Worlds in Denmark, and I was thrilled to see that my experience from “the good old days” in the 80’s was not wasted, since I managed to place 2nd in my group and 9th. over- all. I am very pleased with my result, but it also leave room for progress, so I will spend more time on the water – both to improve and to stay in shape.:)
I hope and wish that all my fellow "old-boys" windsurfer friends from the 1980's would try the Kona because I am convinced that this would give them back the joy of windsurfing, - no matter on what level you start again. Take my example and result from this WC and then you will agree that "anything is possible on a Kona" !