Twan Verseput (26 years old) is a Dutch speed sailor and a man to watch for the future. Read his story below:
For me, windsurfing started on a small lake in Holland around 7-8 years ago. I did flat water sailing a few times every month next to my main sport volleyball back then. Windsurfing was for a long time just a distraction to get my head cleared from everything. After I got injured really bad playing volleyball I had to stop at the age of 22. I was lucky enough to still be able to do windsurfing which really brought my addiction to the sports back. I never thought I would have two World Titles in windsurfing. Also cool to be the youngest guy who sailed 50 knots on a 500 meter run!
As I grew up around the Dutch flatwater spots all the windsurfers were using a GPS to compete with each other, so it was obvious for me to start competing against other windsurfers in this way also. But the thing that is motivating me the most is to push your own limits! The fight with yourself is so much fun, not only with small gear going with 50 knots+ but also with the big gear 7.0 and the iSonic 72 wide going 46 knots!
I think speed sailing in open water is the baseline of our sport, you get hooked immediately after you get planing for the first time. That speed sensation is still the same for me, only the speed is a bit higher I guess…haha! This also makes crashing a bit worse. When I was starting to windsurf, I was crashing while sailing in 30 knots. In 2017 I crashed sailing 50 knots. I took 3 saltos and used 100 meters to stop…
To be a fast sailor in my opinion you need a lot of time on the water. Speed sailing is not only small gear on flat water but also choppy conditions with medium gear. If you continuously push yourself to go faster, you will go faster. Of course being big and heavy can help you, but still, there are a lot of superfast sailors who are not 195 cm and 100 kilos. Developing a good technique, trying to build up your speedruns in the right way, choosing your sail and board size according to your weight can make you just as fast as the big and heavy guys. At this moment, in the top, there are a few guys who are pushing the speeds really hard. Gunnar Asmussen, Andy Laufer, Vincent Valkenaers, Hans Kreisel and Antoine Albeau are really fast and you could see in Luderitz last year that all the speed results where really close within a knot.
My ultimate dream is to be the first one to break a 100 km/h or 54 knots on 500-meter run.
For me, the most important thing I stick to is to take the gear you are feeling comfortable with. The more you have trust in your gear the more you can push to go faster. Also, look at the angle you are going to sail. In square conditions, you need a flatter sail with a board that gives enough lift. With more board angle you need a fuller profile in the sail and you can ride a smaller board. The gear I’m using at the moment when it is really strong is the Starboard iSonic Speedspecial 44 with a 5.5 Severne Mach 2. Asymmetrical fins from 20-21cm. To measure my speed I use the new motion GPS from gps-speedsurfing.com. This is also the website where everybody is uploading their speed so you can compare.