You are a Rhine River local. How and when did you start river windsurfing ?
I live in the southern part of Germany, where we have just a few small lakes where you can get some fun. These lakes usually don't get very much wind. One day a friend of mine told me about sailing on nearby Rhine River which runs northbound through Germany and where he sailed a couple of times before. He claimed, the wind would blow more frequently and stronger. So back in spring 2002 I joined him on a trip to Bingen and dared to sail in this super strong current with unfortunately light winds. First I was extremly excited, but after a while I felt more and more comfortable with these respectful condtions, where you have to allways watch out for barges and other commerical vesels which are the most potenital cause of risk.
::bernd ripping at trexico - rhine river:: (c) river-rippers.net
What is so special about it?
River Windsurfing is really unique. Assumed the wind blows against the current, you can plane much earlier. Assumed the wind blows against the current, you get much earlier into planning Overall I get at least 50% more days on the water than before. I meet lots of like-minded people alongside the river. Overall it's a perfect playground especially for freestyle junkies like me.
:: bernd doing a spock :: (c) river-rippers.net
It takes you about 2 hours to make the 200 km trip to the sites of Rhine River. What are your impressions/thoughts during travelling?
On my way towards the river, I'm super stoked and nervous of what's coming up and try to get there as fast as possible...slower cars on the highway are soul-destroying ! Driving home is usally more relaxed?all the unforgettable impressions stuck in my head and sometimes I even forget to switch on the radio.
Freestyle Windsurfing is your passion, can you tell us when it all started for you?
I'm defintly influenced by former freestyle champ Ian Boyd. I have once seen him doing these impressive tricks in a Video called ?Air Born? and knew I wanted to do these so called ?old school tricks? on the water as well. 1999 came the revolution, special freestyle equipment pushed the sport into a new direction and I was part of it. My first ?new school freestyle move? was of course the Air Jibe and it took me quite a while to master it. Followed by the Spock and its variations, until today where I'm trying Flakas and switch moves that are much more challenging and that demand consistent training and stamina. Once I'm capable of doing new moves, I?m super motivated to do even harder tricks. My favorite flatwater moves are clew first spock 540, grubby, spin-loop as well as the old school classic moves carving 360, duck tack, push tack. For wave riding I like doing the shove-it, table tops and simply enjoy ripping the waves.
:: bernd - air jibe :: (c) river-rippers.net
What are your favorite sailing sites?
I'm happy everywhere, as long as the wind is suitable for having fun. Rhine River is defintly my favorite site over here in Germany. For coast trips in Europe I prefer side shore winds and waves in the 1 to 4 meters range. I find these conditions usally in Klitm?ler/Denmark, Ghjunchidu/Corsica-France, Punta Lajas/Fuerteventura-Spain,Capo Manu/Sardinia-Italy . Further away I like ripping Punta Preta/Capo Verdes with its clean waves.
Any plans to escape the European winter ?
Defintly yes ! Last winter was so frustrating because of the low temps outside...sailing was impossible for long time... this year I will escape from winter and be on a trip to Western Australia together with some friends. Plans are to rent a car and travel along the coast in search for perfect wind&waves.
About your plans for 2006 ?
First of all, I hope it will be a windy, satisfied and a healthy new year. I hope to spend as much time as possible on the water and learn many new tricks. Plans are to make a trip to the island of Maui. Being there is every windsurfers dream and I hope to make this a reallity !
:: always stoked on sailing :: (c) river-rippers.net