Interview - Dave White

The new Boards Magazine editor found some time to do a speedsurfing interview. He is still one of the fastest around the world on a windsurfer. Please welcome Dave White!!!

Dave could you tell us a bit more about the fast speedspots (Soutend, West Kirby) in the UK, what kind of sailingconditions can you expect there?
We have some great spots in the UK, obviously West Kirby and Southend have gained the most exposure, but there are more to come. I’ve been invited to up to a few new spots and having seen a picture or two, the journey looks to be interesting.

Southend was like that once, even though I’d sailed there it was almost impossible to get everyone over to see it for them selves, they just kept heading to West Kirby. Thankfully gps has come along and changed the way we look at a sight, rather than take someone’s word for it we can see results.

West Kirby is now going through some renovation to repair the wall, this spot get the real strong winds and is only limited by the length of the run out, or your balls. Once you’re over the 40knots the end wall come up fast with only a couple of seconds to decide how to stop. I can’t see a 50knot 500m happening there, but who knows, there’s some crazy people about.

I would prefer the Driven by Wind record attempt over the Channel in France, is there any chance in near future for a new Driven by Wind record attempt?
I was amazed how well driven by wind went, to be honest I’m not an organizer and just started driven by wind from frustration. Southend is an unreal spot, from my experience it’s the longest speed strip in the world and the only one to hold two 500m courses at differing angles, but on one was going there, it was a locals only paradise.

The bank can leave the water so smooth you have to move away from it’s edge just to break the surface tension, sure it’s not as perfect as this 100% of the time, but get a day like this and who knows what can happen. The only negative is the timing, there’s no way to drive to the back and the beach is getting close to the limit away for the wireless cameras, it would be so much easier to run if we could set-up like they do on the canal.

So could we move to the canal, I don’t think so? Firstly they do a fantastic job, good guys with a lot of history, they built it, maintain it and run it and I say good on them. I got a production record down there and would have been at the last one, but competing at both and running Driven by wind would have been to much, but I’d support them in the future for sure.

All these things take a bunch of money, I tried to keep the entry cost down as low as possible, the wife would say too low as I even paid the entry and more, so for this year it won’t run, but once the world starts to get back on its feet I’m ready to give it another go

What conditions do you need to break the record?
For me I guess a 5.5 is about the optimum, maybe 5.0 but as we know the wind is never 100% particularly when it’s going off the scale. Hanging on to a 5.5 when you want a 4.0 makes you feel alive yet still drives you like crazy when the wind back off, not sure backing off is the right words as even then most people would be looking for shelter.

Get Southend on it’s perfect day and who knows what can happen, but even then it’s not just about the conditions, you need you buddies/rivals out there with you, it’s only then man can really push the limits, there’s no point in stepping over the edge if there’s no one to pick up the pieces.

What was your best speedsurfing session ever?
That’s a real hard one, but I guess it has to be Sotovento 1991 I think it was, first production worlds, going out to sail with your hero’s is one thing, passing them is another and like all things, you never for get your first time . But what I really like about windsurfing is it doesn’t matter how many good days you have, coming in with you arms dragging on the floor after a big wind, this is the one, you always here it in the car park “that was the best sail ever”

I have done a little study on your stance one of the biggest differences between you and a normal heavy weight windsurfer seems to be your boomheight. Your boom is quite low, how do you still get planning with such small boards/sails?
Stance is a personal thing; there is no perfect way to ride. If you compare me with Bjorn, Antoine or Finnian, we all have different styles. Finian leans the furthest back along the board with Antoine a little more upright then Bjorn and myself, I feel like I’m leaning forward. OK were all relatively big but it just shows we all find our own way, but saying that my boom is a little higher these days in the lighter stuff.

Something my father always said has helped me get going on small kit, his problem was opposite to me, so in a big wind he just thought heavier, which is what I try not to do unless all hell is kicking off. Just think about how heavy you walk having just been dumped by the girlfriend its like you’ll leave footprints in concrete, win the loto and you’ll float through the air, it sound stupid but it works

Your Gaastra sails are pretty fast, my Gaastra Vapor 5.5 (2007) was my favorite back in 2007. Which Gaastra Sails do you prefer for speedsurfing?
Simple it has to be the 5.5 Vapor at full power.

What about the tabou boards, I don’t know if you also use a gps on lighter days, could you give us an insight what speed you have done on the tabou boards? It is for most windsurfers intresting to know what you can do both on small and bigger models.
Obviously I use the gps when I’m out on my Manta 63, but what surprise most people is I hardly ever use race kit. I sail freeride or freewave most of the time, for everyday use they are more fun and fast, sure it’s harder to get the very top end out of them and at that point it feels faster than any record. But sail these fast everyday and you’ll find jumping on speed kit so much easier which is a great boost for confidence when you need it

How do you know if the speedfin is good for high speed?
I try not mess my mind up with the tech stuff, I hear lots of facts about this and that, but look at most of the good brands and there speed fin will work, the only difference between working and world record is how it feels for you. I think your want and the confidence you feel is more important the grade sandpaper the fin was finished with.

On I see you have done a 48.5 peak with a Tectonics Falcon F1, how is that possible?!? Do you still know what conditions you were sailing? (sailingangle/ waterstate/ windstrenght)
That was kind of easy to remember, though I kick myself for not staying out longer. It looked like Southend would be good, but at the same time my friends wanted to sail our home patch, would love to say wave sailing here but we only get big wind blown chop.

I Shot over to Southend with Jamie from the local surf shop wet ‘n’ dry, he took my 5.5 while had the 6.0. Funny how you look at things Jamie has always been quick but hadn’t used a gps “I just want to get into the 40knot club” he said, can’t remember what his peak was but he pulled a 43knot 500m run so we can say he was happy.

We had a strong west wind so used the eastern course that heads out towards the pier, right from the first run it felt fast so we put in few runs and sure I was stoked to see the time, but with all my mates kit rigged in the van I had to get back and Jamie had his shop waiting.

We always wonder about the what if, but to be honest I had two of the best sails of the year on the same day and both with my mates, whatever the speed it was nothing compared to sailing with the boys.

Hell I didn’ty really answer that question did I, the fin, that’s easy it felt good and gave confidence which is just what you need when the wind angle is as deep as you dare and as for the waterstate, it was one of those days when you pull away from the bank so you hear that rasping noise as you fly across the water.

Will you compete in an ISWC event this year?
My life is always changing, look back over the years and you’ll see I like to mix it up now and then, speed is a passion but its part of a jigsaw that makes the windsurfing complete. Sure I’ll be out with a gps but for this year I wont compete at the ISWC, I’ve got a new plan going on, I just joined Boards Magazine so want to concentrate on that this year. I love to have a goal

Thank you for this interview!

Erik Loots

Erik is windsurfer for 10+ years. In his daily life he is professional in construction dewatering, advisor, troubleshooter. Erik likes adventures, explore and to challenge himself. During his life he is trying to get the best out of it and have respect for the earth, nature and future generations. The modern world is about sharing, in this blog Erik shares his experiences, selfreflection and lessons learned.


  1. This guy's another champion...

  2. Adorable tale. Can make me personally desire to be much better. Many thanks with regard to discussing. You're fantastic.

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