You have all heard about him. The man with 42 x World Titles. We took a quick word with the living legend, Björn Dunkerbeck to see what he is up to! Read the interview below.
How did you get introduced to windsurfing?
My parents learned windsurfing in Denmark in 1976. Then they moved to Gran Canaria in 1978 and opened a Windsurf School & Center: Dunkerbeck Windsurfing. The spot I sailed most was Maspalomas on Gran Canaria. I had a board under my feet before i knew it thanks to my parents!
How did you see the sport growing while you competed?
Windsurfing has gone through so many faces since i started with One Design in the 70´s and early 80´s. It was a sport for everyone in the 80´s. Fun board then took over and now there are more families than ever learning with their kids.
Which board and sails did you ride?
I used Mistral, Tornado the F2 from 1984 – 2000. Thommen and Proof by Carlos Sosa. Now I´m sailing Starboard and Severne.
How would you compare the “good olds days” with the windsurfing now? Do you still go sailing often?
I windsurf every day. I´m living on Gran Canaria. And that is a place where it can be done mostly every day at our Windsurf Center. I also just opened a new center on Bonaire with Phillip Brü and Jan Hendrik (owner of Sorobon Beach Resort where the center is).
How was it with sponsors, fans and events back in the days? Could many sailors make a living from it, or was it hard? How many stops on tour did you have?
Yes i could make a living from it with sponsors and winning events. I´ve been having Red Bull as a sponsor for the last 25 years now. I´m still pushing speed windsurfing to the 100 km/h in the channel in Lüderitz in Namibia year after year! I´m also running my race series: Dunkerbeck Speed Challenge Pro and Amature for everyone that loves windsurfing and like sailing fast. We have young and old riders. At the first speed challenge on Fuerteventura my son was 10 and my father Eugen 70 years old. He is still going strong!
Gear: how has that changed? What is your opinion about the new gear compared to the old?
Windsurf gear has become easier to use. More fun in all aspects from beginners and for the top riders!
Where are your favorite spots to sail?
Anywhere with good wind and warm weather on Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Maui, Cabo Verde, Australia, Tahiti…
Best memory from windsurfing?
There has been so many memories. The other day I was on the water with my son Liam and my father in front of our windsurf center. It was a great day once again. Just having fun with people I love is what keeps me going!
Which other riders did you train with, and how was the friendship among all the competitors?
I´ve been windsurfing for 40 years now. I windsurfed almost everywhere in the world and sailed with all the top windsurfers on the planet. In and out of competitions I´m friends with many of them like Robby Naish, Anders Bringdal, Thomas Person, Bernd Flesner, Vidar Jensen, Tristian Boxford, Svein Rasmussen, Antonie Albeau , Josh Stone, Alberto Posati, Vitorio Marceli and so many more.
Who has been your hardest competitor in windsurfing trough the years?
Everyone at that moment! I can mention Robby Naish, Anders Bringdal and Antoine Albeau.
What have you been doing after your professional career as a windsurfer?
I´m still professional windsurfer chasing Speed and Defi Wind. I´m organizing events like VIP Dunkerbeck Weeks and doing R&D (research and development) for both Starboard and Severne. Also running the windsurf centers and much more. The only thing that changes is that I don’t compete on the PWA Tour anymore. 30 years in a row had to be enough.
We see your son ripping hard in the waves. Did you teach him windsurfing?
Liam has been on a board since he was 3 year old. He probably has more talent than I ever had. He is good in surfing, windsurfing, SUP and skateboarding. He has a lot of fun doing all these sports. He is sailing on Liam Dunkerbeck Kode Kids Wave Board. It´s a board for kids to get them in the water with a great board for their size.
How do you see his future in the windsurfing sport?
Windsurfing is one of the greatest sports out there growing again. It needs help from every single windsurfer that loves windsurfing. I always say to parents that they should bring their kids to a good windsurf center from 5 years old. Just like it was skiing. Like that they learn early. Kids need their parents to guide them to windsurfing with other kids. Also bring one friend a year to a windsurf center and we all help our sport to grow again!
For more info about the Dunkerbeck GPS Speed Challenge click here.