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Windsurfer Björn Dunkerbeck about adventure and love of sport

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Windsurfer Björn Dunkerbeck about adventure and love of sport

Björn Dunkerbeck sees that windsurfing continues in his own family – every day. At the end of February, his 20-year-old son Liam came thirteenth overall at the World Cup in Omaezaki, Japan. He even won in the juniors.

The placings make Dad proud, but even more important is the signal that a stop on the world tour in Asia sends out – there is once again a competitive circuit that consists of more than just two or three events.

Since the World Windsurfing Association PWT and the “International Windsurfing Tour” (IWT) merged in 2023, Dunkerbeck has also believed in windsurfing again: there will be eight stops in the highest category this year from February to the finale in Hawaii in November. Plus seven smaller events.

Windsurfing ambassador

Recently, professional windsurfing had become increasingly invisible and niche in the sport’s annual competition calendar. Dunkerbeck says: “We were the mother of fun sports in the late eighties and early nineties. The private broadcasters discovered us, we had big sponsors, the World Cups had huge budgets.

Whether the audience liked windsurfing or not, they still got it. The kink came when the television channels dropped out.” The misery continued – World Cup starts in 2022 were canceled at short notice due to a lack of money. By merging the associations, the mini-tour should now become a serious one again.

42 world titles: Dunkerbeck’s career is characterized by highlights. : Image: Dunckerbeck

Dunkerbeck is 54 years old. With 42 world championship titles in various disciplines between 1988 and 2011, he has achieved more than anyone else in the sport. In 2014 he stopped playing on the World Cup tour. Since then he has toured the globe as a mixture of businessman, athlete, advertising executive and family man – Dunkerbeck has four children with his Spanish wife. He sees himself as an ambassador for windsurfing, this good-humored guy with roots in Denmark, the center of his life on Gran Canaria, a fondness for Germany and friends all over the world.

He doesn’t run out of ideas. He wants to give something back to windsurfing, because how cool and productive were the 90s with the annual highlight on Sylt, the “Oktoberfest of the North”, when he competed against and with Robby Naish?

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Dunkerbeck isn’t the type to rest on his laurels, he wants to move on. He says: “Our sport is pure, sustainable, attractive, the athletes are approachable because they don’t earn millions. We hope that we can get back to the big budgets via the sustainability track.”

Speed ​​surfing as a passion

He himself has been organizing the World Cup in Gran Canaria for three years, budget: around half a million euros. For this purpose, 150 athletes in all age groups will surf in front of Pozo Izquierdo for ten days, including the professionals. He says: “Many people think, take 20,000 euros in your hand and surf around the buoy a bit, but it’s not that easy.”

Dunkerbeck calculates how expensive everything has become, but with the message: “If I had twice as much, the event would be four times as cool!” In the boardrooms of large companies he sees so many old and ex-surfers whose love for He would like to see this sport converted into sponsorship budgets. Not necessarily with him in Gran Canaria, but preferably somewhere in the world. The main thing is that windsurfing really gets going again.

Björn Dunkerbeck is telling all of this this morning in Hamburg to promote his biographical documentary “Born to Windsurf,” which was released last September and can now be seen again. The focus of the film is on Dunkerbeck’s old age passion: speed surfing.

Faster than anyone else

He has been fully committed to this since 2014. His next big goal is in November. Then Dunkerbeck wants to be the first windsurfer to surf a distance of 500 meters at an average speed of 100 kilometers per hour. For such adventures, there is a 1.3 kilometer long canal on the Atlantic in Lüderitz in Namibia, which magically attracts windsurfers every autumn – when the wind whips there for two or three hours a day, these speed acrobats go to the start and challenge themselves and the material.

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On November 23, 2021, Dunkerbeck experienced such a rush, reaching a top speed of 103.68 kilometers per hour. Record. No windsurfer had ever been that fast before. He is proud of that. But he wants to do more and cover the entire measured 500 meters of distance at over 100 kilometers per hour.

He says: “If the channel is perfect, it’s definitely possible. Then you can crack 100 km/h. I want to do it.” There is also a question of cost: the participating surfers have to raise around 120,000 euros through their sponsors to keep the canal “navigable” for the few days in November.

Michael Eder Published/Updated: Recommendations: 11 Stefanie Sippel, Duisburg Published/Updated: , Recommendations: 2 Michael Eder Published/Updated: , Recommendations: 8

But that is still in the distance for now. Soon, Björn Dunkerbeck wants to promote his favorite sport again at the Kiel Week, at boat shows and the surfing world cup on Fehmarn. His calendar is full. How does he say? “I’m never bored. I don’t have any time for that.”

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