Alex Temko Wins Kona Worlds
Published on October 31st, 2018
Clearwater, FL (October 31, 2018) – For the last day of competition at the 2018 Heritage Insurance Kona Worlds, the forecast kept everyone guessing until the very last minute. The weather was gorgeous and the water crystal clear, but the wind was predicted to be very light and offshore, and thus subject to interference from the sea-breeze if there was any delay in the proceedings.
To add to the tension, a last possible start at 1PM and the prospect of a second discard after two races had everyone doing math in their head to see what they needed to do to move up the leaderboard.
Doing math on the water and reading shifts in a dying breeze don’t mix very well, and a few of the top contenders found themselves on the back foot after the first race of the day, contested in barely 4-5 kts of wind. Most notably, 16-yr old Alex Temko, leading the regatta since day two, found himself behind the eight-ball after finishing in the middle of the pack in that first race.
Anything less than a stellar result in the second race of the day (and last of the championships) would open to door to Bjorn Holm (SWE), a wily veteran with tons of experience and many world titles to his name. Alex stayed cool and collected under enormous pressure, found his mojo when the breeze increased to 7-9 kts in the second upwind of that crucial last race and scored a 3rd place – enough to win the event by a few points.
While that battle was going on, another highly experienced Swedish windsurfer, Anders Pers, was making a run for the podium with a 1,2 scoreline that put him on equal points with Alex’s teammate Noah Lyons, and Noah got the nod for the bronze medal on count backs.
On the women’s side, Andree Gauthier (CAN) was steady all morning and is driving back to Toronto with a world title to her name. Young Swede Johanna Hjertberg improved steadily over the course of the regatta and ended the event with her best race to snatch 2nd place away from Barbara Belt (Texas).
The Kona board is an exciting board to race in all conditions, and it showed its versatility in Clearwater in 4 to 25 knots. But the Kona Class’ biggest achievement this week was its ability to bring together racers of all stripes: men and women, Olympians and recreational windsurfers, longtime class members and complete newcomers, all on the same start line.
The youngest competitor this week was 12-yr old Sara Tangen from Norway, who competed alongside her dad, and the oldest was 80-yr old Chris Hope from Canada.
Everyone fell in love with Florida and Clearwater Beach and going home with a hundred new friends to swap stories with until the international Kona community meets again at the 2019 Kona Worlds, which will be hosted next summer (Aug 15-18) by Circolo Club Torbole in beautiful Lake Garda, Italy, and the following Spring in Bermuda for the 2020 Kona Worlds.
The Kona Class would like to thank Heritage Insurance for title sponsorship of the event this year, the Sheraton Sand Key for being such gracious hosts, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater and US Windsurfing for all their support leading up to and during the event. The Kona Class and its partners provided the charter equipment.
The professional staff at the Clearwater Community Sailing Center, with Sailing Director Justin Ahearn at the helm, took on this massive project with key support from the Clearwater Yacht Club and the Pensacola Yacht Club, and delivered beyond expectations.
Source: Jerome Samson