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Starboard-Windsurfing-2022-UltraKode-LiamDunkerbeck-OliverMaier-Tenerife-13 H



There may not have been the usual run of contests in the Canaries this year, but that didn’t stop the wind or waves! We checked in with locals and visiting pros to find out how their Canarian summer was. 

Words – Liam Dunkerbeck, Bjorn Dunkerbeck, Daida Moreno, John Skye, Lucas Meldrum, Ricardo Campello. // Photos – Oliver Maier, Markus Berger / Red Bull Content Pool, Victor Couto, Jose Piña, Rodrigo Underwater, Rafael España, Nora Sacre. 


This year we had plenty of wind as usual in Gran Canaria, but also bigger waves than the normal size in summer, so all the nearby spots to Pozo, like Mosca or Salinas were working really good. So in the end it was a really great summer of windsurfing every day  

The gear I was using most often was the 3.3 Severne S-1 and my Liam Dunkerbeck 65-litre Starboard pro model with MFC K300 fins that are working amazing.  

This summer I learned some new moves, like one hand one-footed back loops or the one that’s my favourite at the moment, the goiter, as well as doing as much as possible the moves I know how to do, like frontside 360, big stalled forwards and some doubles too. 

This year it was really busy, like normal, but I would say there was more accidents than usual. Maybe because people hadn’t been sailing that often with strong winds and so the adrenaline was flowing, which can be really dangerous because they become out of control!

As usual Philip was sailing incredible, he’s just a perfect example if you want to watch someone sailing, doing amazing things and always with perfect timing. Also Josep Pons was doing some crazy jumps that were really impressive to watch. 


Our summer was great, we had from 15 to 55 knots, flat water and mast high waves as well! For speed windsurfing I used mostly my 6.2 Mach 4, 5.8 & 5.5 Mach 3 Lüderitz edition Severne sails on my 45 cm wide AV, Aurelio Verdi shaped speed board, also my 90 litre AV slalom 60 cm wide and 98 litre AV slalom 62 wide on 7.0 Mach 4 Severne sails in winds from 20 to 45 knots in Bahia de Formas, Arinaga, which I also call Speed Beach Gran Canaria, and is 10 minutes from Pozo Izquierdo, our world cup wave spot for over 30 years already.At Pozo and Vargas I was mostly on 4.2 and 4.7 Blade Pro and my 92 litre AV Wave. 

We had great waves pretty often and lots of pros stopping by for training and filming like Victor Fernandez, Ricardo Campello and Sarah-Quita.

There was lots of juniors sailing with Marino Gil and Liam here like Lennart Neubauer, Takuma Sugi and 3 other Japanese juniors. Also Maria Morales, joined Alexia & Carlos Kiefer Quintana on the Pozo front, along with another 20 young sailors. The vibes on the water in general were great, sometimes yes pretty busy, but it’s always great and good fun sharing the water with top Pozo riders, world class juniors and pros all at the same time, over and over again. 

Alexia, Marino, Josep Pons, Victor, Daida, Sarah-Quita, Takuma, Ricardo, Liam, Philip, Arthur Arutkin, Moritz Mauch, Marc Paré, Antoine Martin and many more were all ripping this summer and we all hope that in 2022 we will have the Pozo Gran Canaria World Cup PWA back on track.


Foiling has also been going off over here on the lighter wind days in front off the Dunkerbeck windsurf centre at Águila Playa. There is nowhere in the world with as many windy days as on Gran Canaria, this is for sure and this is probably why it’s also the island with the most world champions – Britt – 17, Daida & Iballa – 28, Philip – 5 and myself – 42 = 92 total! Stop by and enjoy our wind and water with us 300 + days a year!

Since Gran Canaria is a round island with a 1949 metre high mountain, there is always a coastline with strong winds. But also only 10 to 20 km north of Pozo there is 10 to 25 knots less wind than in Pozo and in the south there may be 5 to 10 knots see breeze from the south, which is great for foiling, Windsurfer LT and learning windsurfing. Also here we have lots off great hotels and bungalows at any price class you want, only 15 to 25 minutes from Pozo and Speed Beach Arinaga. How about that for a great place to bring your family!


Summer in Gran Canaria has been great. We had the longest summer ever with great wind and waves since the beginning of May, all the way until the end of August. There were more waves in May and June with 3.3, 3.5 and 3.7 weather than July with its nuclear winds (3.0 and ‘lighter days’ with 3.3). The good news is the rentals and shops have been busy for quite a few months after a really bad summer last year. The bad news was I got injured at the end of June and couldn’t sail for almost 8 weeks. It was the shortest summer I ever had in the water! I landed a really high back loop with my 3.3 but it ended up being too flat and I suffered two broken bones in my right knee. It could have been worse though, as I could still train in the gym and bike ride just three weeks after my injury, but I had to avoid any impacts on my knee until August. For now my knee is having a good response and I have been able to enjoy the rest of the summer.


The gear I used most was my Severne Mako 74, a Pyro 68 prototype and Nano 72 litre board. Most of the time I use 3.0, 3.3, 3.5 and now in August 3.7. I have been trying different fin setups and playing a lot with my Maui Ultra fins on different boards. I kind of like thruster in high wind conditions, but I also enjoy quads a lot.  

This summer I concentrated a lot on my wave riding, as well as wave 360 frontside and backside, which I am landing very often, so I’m quite happy with this. My Severne Pyro boards are helping me progress in my sailing the last few months, so I’m really looking forward to getting the rest of the boards so I can continue to progress my wave riding. It seems like the quad setting settles the board down with more stability and I can make it turn easier in the surf. I usually use 8 cm in the front and 14.5 cm in the back. If I use thruster, I use asymmetric settings: 15.5 in the back fin, 11 cm for jumping side front fin and 10 cm front fin for wave ridding. This seems to help a lot for spinning around moves like takas.


July was pretty hectic on the water. There were lots of rentals (more people with impact vests and helmets than ever), and many crashes too. There was a lot of discussion regarding priorities, for some reason people don’t really have it clear in their mind that the number one priority is to slow down your speed if you are in a dangerous position to crash. Avoiding collision by slowing down is the most important action. One afternoon I saw and counted over 75 sails in the water at the same time, which in the small bay of Pozo is quite a lot! But I’m happy to see people returning to Pozo after such a long time, especially for the industry and the local shops. Windsurfing schools have been really active, more than ever from what they told me, with over 300 people learning every month. Seems like Covid has brought a curiosity to people to try new sports, and outdoor sports especially. Windsurfing here in Gran Canaria is number 1!

Now that I see both friends are alive and in good shape I can say it was quite funny to see them crashing into the big upwind rock called Las Bajas. Sometimes we come upwind to ride a longer frontside wave next to the rock, but if you don’t calculate it correctly, you can end up smashing against it really bad.


From what I have seen this summer, many people are ripping.. of course Phillip to me is number one, always under control, with clean, high, perfect moves in both surfing and jumping. Marino Gil has learnt the push forward finally. I still haven’t seen him seriously with doubles, but he will get them soon I am sure. Josep Pons with his strong moves both jumping and wave riding, has also been pushing his level up. Marc Pare, Victor and Ricardo Campello were here also training, and it’s spectacular to see them ripping; watch out for Marc, he is seriously going to be a world champion contender one day!


I think this summer was one of the better ones, especially throughout June and July. It’s pretty frustrating for me that somehow as soon as the conditions arrive I need to spend more time outside the Canaries than usual. Plus, I seem to be a bit cursed and you can almost plot my travel schedule off the island against the 5 star days in the Canaries. However despite missing the gold, I still scored some epic days, both in the waves and at the flat water spot for speed and slalom. 


I only used my 82 Cult this whole summer! From 5.3 weather in Fuerte’ through to 3.7 in Pozo! For sails I mix it up a lot for testing. Mostly in Gran Canaria I was on 4.2 or 3.7, switching between the Compact Vogue and the standard Vogue. I am really stoked that the performance is the same now, so I can just keep refining them all the time. For fins I have a magic thruster setup for everything – 10 cm K4 Sharks in the front and a 17 cm custom in the back. The back fin is really narrow in the base, which allows a lot of pivot in the turns and gives a really free feeling. For high wind slalom I have my magic 90 litre X-Fire and a couple of beautiful carbon F-Hot fins. I use a 30 cm with 5.2-6.2 slalom sails and I have 2 models I use depending on the conditions – an RWS-3 for open ocean sailing when I need speed and control, then a speed/slalom prototype that I use on flat water. It’s less controllable, but you can really push on it and it never gives.


Unfortunately for me it seems to be more about maintaining performance than increasing it, but I did work a bit on trying to get a bit more height in my jumps. Seeing all the kids flying so high was pretty motivating and pushed me to go higher, until we had one properly windy day and I scared myself a bit! On the slalom/speed course I am constantly trying to go faster. Bjorn is sailing a lot again and really pushing on his speed. I can’t get near his consistency, but occasionally I can match him on the max speed. 


I think the vibe this year has been amazing. As I am pretty busy with family and work I don’t get to “hang out” in Pozo, but from the outside it seemed like a super good bunch of kids this year. There was no contests, so everyone that came, just came to push and learn, with no pressure and the vibe seemed great. I heard from Baptiste Cloarec, our French team rider, that all the kids were hanging out together, mostly under 20, from all around the world and just having fun and sailing hard. I would love to be 20 again and doing the same! On the other side of the coin in the flat water its been great to sail a lot with Bjorn. He is super motivated at the moment, particulary for speed, so we are comparing GPS numbers the whole time, which makes it really fun, even if I lose all the time!


For me the best moment was when I finally got to sail really good Pozo with all the guys. I had missed so many good sessions and was really fired up to charge. When I went on the water, I hit a massive wave and tried to go as high as I could, not being used to it I went through the wind a bit early and had the sketchiest landing. I sailed away clean, but was so close to destroying my knees and I kind of realised my body was not 20 anymore! After that I dialled it back and watched the show. At one point Marino Gil did the biggest one-footed back loop over my head and I just remember staring up at him as he kicked his leg around in the air stylishly before landing perfectly in front of me. 


I was not day in, day out in Pozo, so I don’t really know the full story, but the local guys that impressed me the most were Allesio Stillrich, who was going so fast and flying so high in everything, and with so much style. Marino Gil seemed like he found another gear this year too. Every time I was on the water he was a standout, going that little bit higher than everyone and super controlled in everything. Pons Casanova was sending it like nobody else. Huge stalled doubles, push forwards and everything else between; all super high and clearly he has the biggest balls of everyone. Finally there is Philip. He was just being Philip and doing everything higher and cleaner, and most of all just making it look like it’s nothing. He is the only person I saw that not only does a high stalled double, but seems to land without a splash! 

From the visitors our RRD team were killing it. Baptiste Cloarec was just charging, throwing himself into everything, either killing himself or sticking it perfectly. Either way he would just get up and repeat. Very inspirational. Then there was Team Japan with Takara and Hayata Ishi clearly just having a lot of fun. We had one day where we were shooting all day and when we finished I was destroyed. He and his brother carried on sailing, and sailing and sailing. They were still going when I left and later they were filming each other as the sun went down! As I said before, I would love to be 20 again!


My Canaries 2021 trip was a blast. I planned it all quite early on during the winter with German sailors Henri Kolberg & Laurin Schmuth. They’re both great training partners as we’re all at similar levels and have the same ambitions. Planning early meant I could get much cheaper flights and guarantee a place to stay.  

Getting out there wasn’t as simple as normal. My flights got cancelled with EasyJet twice, I then booked with Tui, but it also got cancelled and so I was left with a two-and-a-half-hour trip to Stansted for a 6 a.m. flight with Ryanair. With their tight weight restrictions, it meant I had to take 2 20 kg windsurf bags and my Ion ‘Golf’ bag to get all my kit on within their rules. Normally I just have 2 bags, so it’s kind of easier to lug around. In the end everything went surprisingly easy, and I arrived on Gran Canaria, a.k.a. the windy island, with no problems. 


From the moment I arrived everything felt so familiar to 2019, the first year I came. Pozo is such a small village that you get to know your way around in less than a day. The biggest difference was that the main beach was now a building site, the famous steps were just piles of stone and gravel and the small ramp to the beach was also a bit sketchy, with metal poles sticking out on the sides. They are currently redeveloping the whole area around the water, so hopefully by next summer Pozo will be looking nicely glammed up. 

The place is still a windsurfing village. Don’t be surprised to see a pro windsurfer every time you walk down the street. Although it wasn’t as nuclear windy as it was the first time I came, it would still be blowing 35-40 knots most days. It’s funny to think about it now, but many times in the house we’d be looking at the live wind feed showing it was 25 knots and not even bother sailing because it wasn’t windy enough. And sure enough, a couple of hours later, boom: 35 knots plus again!  


Unfortunately, there was no competition this year, but the atmosphere was still amazing. Quite a few of the pros decided to make the trip anyway and the level on the water was just as high as the last time I was here. I almost enjoyed it more because I was able to spend more time with some of the guys than normal. We also had a really good group of us younger guys, pushing each other every day on the water – Baptiste, Miguel, Julien, Marino, Liam, the Japanese crew and of course the Germans just to name a few. We’re all a similar age, with different levels of ability, but it’s so motivating when everyone is going huge and trying new stuff. 


We decided to follow the normal world tour route and island hop over to Tenerife. I decided to get the short plane ride over as the last time I took the ferry I felt like throwing up the whole way! If you’re a resident, flights and ferries to the other islands or mainland are made super cheap, but unfortunately for us, we had to pay the full price; €70 for me, which was more than my flight home!  

El Medano is much bigger, with a lot more going on than Pozo, a great destination if you’re traveling with family. It also offers conditions for all abilities with friendly sandy beaches. South bay is great for freeriding, the harbour wall is ideal for intermediate wave riders and El Cabezo, the location of the PWA contest, is a reef break and can produce super rippable conditions. Only try Cabezo if you are confident and don’t mind rocks, because there are a lot of rocks! You have a small launch area that can be difficult with the shorebreak. Then you have the infamous Godzilla rock that has broken its fair share of gear. On top of that, the wave itself breaks on a pretty shallow reef, especially at low tide. If you lose your gear, it’s straight on the rocks. I’ve done the walk a few times over the years and more often than not I’d have a sea urchin in my foot, did I mention there’s also hundreds of them on the reef? So not a spot for the faint-hearted and it has definitely taken me a good few years to sail there with confidence.  


A few of the top guys were there too, Victor, Marc, Graham, and even Adam flew over from Maui. Disappointingly this year we didn’t get the best conditions, we had a lot of light wind float and ride days and only a couple of windy days. It’s still amazing to see what the locals can do in marginal conditions. Julien, Dieter and Adam all know the place so well and their timing and placement on the wave is so good to see. The wave at Cabezo is so specific, some years with the PWA you’ll even see some of top guys mistiming it or going too late. But the guys that can get it right can pull off some world-class wave manoeuvres and turns.

The 2 PWA world tour spots I visited are the complete opposite. Pozo is very much jumping focused, while Tenerife is mainly wave riding. That is why you tend to see some different people on the podium across these events, especially if there’s not much wind on Tenerife. I personally enjoy wave riding more than the jumping, and if I had to choose one for the rest of my life it would have to be wave riding. I would say, across the PWA fleet, there’s a pretty equal divide – some riders with incredible ability and control in the air, and others with more confidence in waves with a focus on trying to emulate a surfing style. Within our group it was clear Henri was a full-on jumper, I could probably count all the wave rides he did on one hand! I think Laurin and I prefer the turns, so we were looking forward to Tenerife much more than Pozo. 

I think everyone is desperate to compete, 2 years without competition on the Canaries is unheard of. Everyone’s keeping their fingers crossed for next summer. I think it’ll be really interesting if it all goes ahead. The young guys are extremely motivated and a lot of them have jumped up a few levels since the last PWA, could we potentially see a changing of the guard? I don’t know, the top guys may be getting older, but they haven’t lost their level yet.


I went to Gran Canaria for 2 weeks and ended up changing my ticket for an extra week. Maui was flat and even though we have a port tack place with strong winds in the south of Maui which has onshore conditions, I needed the real Pozo conditions. There’s nothing like Pozo, so I planned my trip and it was fun, even though there was only 3 real windy Pozo days, but in general I sailed a lot except for the last week, when the wind was very northerly, so it was quite difficult to jump as sometimes you would go really high and the wind would just die in the air, or the opposite! But in general it was a super trip, it was the first time I used my Naish equipment in those conditions so it was a good opportunity to try it there and I’m super happy with the results!  


The standout day was one morning where I told myself I would rest as I was tired from the days before and the next 2 days were going to be super windy, so I said I was only going to sail in the afternoon that day and I went for a coffee at the restaurant in front of the spot and looked at the firing conditions with barely no one out, so I had to give it a go! I should have taken my 3.5 but went on 3.7. I was super maxed out and that day I did probably the biggest jump (a forward) of my life as you might have seen all over the net! I think that jump according to my calculations on the computer was 23 to 25 metres high! 

I think the sail I used the most was my 4.0 and the biggest my 4.2! Board wise mostly my 82 litre, but some days 85 as I needed to try it! I only used quad setups and the MFC 250’s. I pretty much use that setup and fin size anywhere.  


My goal was to learn the tabletop double forward, but the wind was mostly north, so I didn’t have the balls to try it! But I think I improved my push forwards a lot and even learnt how to land them with a smaller ramp! 

On the water it was busier then ever, but the vibe as always was really good. I have a really good relationship with all the locals, so they treat me like I am at home. I saw more and more windsurfers on the water this year which is amazing! 

Titun (Antoine Martin) almost landed on one of the locals that loves a little spark ha ha; as usual Titun is involved in a crash incident ha ha, but in the end it was all good. 

I was impressed with Marino, he was really sailing amazing, doing one of the best push fowards I’ve seen and riding really good. The only thing, which I’m kind of stoked for ha ha, is that he is still not doing doubles! Liam Dunkerbeck is also ripping and starting to be scary on the water!! 



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