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Rider of the month: Yann Mathet
Each month we put the spotlights on one of the users of gps-speedsurfing.com. This month it’s a special one. Frenchman Yann Mathet is not only a very motivated windsurfer but also an expert in designing software to analyze GPS data. He provided us with one of the best software programs at the moment: GPSAR.

Facts and figures:

Name: Yann Mathet
Age: 34
Height: 183cm
Weight: 80kg
Country: France
Started windsurfing in: 1980
Job: Associate Professor in Computer Science
Boards: Falcon 55, FW 1.4, BlueVelvet 163, & wave boards.
Sails: Gun sails M8 6.2, 6.8, M7 8.1, 9.9, Raptor 10.5, & wave sails.
Sponsors: None
Other hobbies: see other question below
Fastest average GPS speed: 32,8 knots

View Yann's sessions and equipment

How did you find out about gps.speedsurfing.com?
t was on the dutch windsurfing.nl forum, on the very first day.

What's your opinion about gps-speedsurfing.com?
I am very enthusiastic with this site that was launched at the right time, when more and more people got equipped with GPS devices. The staff is composed of people very experienced with GPS speed measurement, and build a first standard for data analyses, based on average 10 second speeds rather than on max speed. Very good point. Month by month, we get more and more familiar with people from other parts of the world and know how fast they are. It's quite challenging, and informative. My only regret is that I think wind speeds provided with speed results are quite approximate. On my opinion, people often give under evaluated wind values, and it's a pity since it's difficult to compare to its own conditions.

Your are the man behind GPS Action Replay (Yann, thanks for that fantastic piece of software). When did you start using GPS for windsurfing?
As many people, I had no opportunity to compete on a speed run but I wanted to know how fast I was on a windsurfboard. So, I bought a GPS device when it got cheaper. It was exactly two years ago, a yellow Etrex. I discovered a plug on its back that enables PC connection. Good suprise!!! I tried some software, mainly GpsUtility, and found it amazing to observe tracks and speeds on the screen. However, I didn't find the features I was looking for: a "real time" animation with several tracks, auto-focusing, and a time-based controller (rather than a screen-based one). So, one year later, I began to develop GpsActionReplay (from june),and launched the first release in mid-september.

GPS use common with French windsurfers?
Unfortunately, I would say not really, for the while. For example I’m usually considered as a strange guy when wearing my device, and I've never seen any other rider equipped with that in Normandy, for the while... But people are more and more interested, especially when I give them an url with the gps data of the day. But thinks are changing quickly. First of all, Sergio from www.windsurfing33.com in south west of France has supported speed and GPS in France since the early hours. On its forum and others, we can observe that more and more people are requiring information to get equipped. We're late compared to Dutch and Australian people, but we're coming soon!

How do you see the future development on GPS and windsurfing?
I'm very optimistic about the future. Technically, we're at the first hours of GPS development. In the next years, I suppose, the gps accuracy may provide something comparable to official runs. Other point, we miss satellite information with the tracks, so that we can know how accurate each trackpoint is. At the moment, we've to cope with some "spikes" and it's difficult to choose wether the trackpoint is correct or not. With a "satellite log", each run could be validated or refuted automatically and no suspiciously. Hope the next receiver generation will provide that. But the really point in my opinion is that more and more people will get equipped with smaller and cheaper devices (as big as a watch), and GPS could become something absolutely usual (as usual as a cycle computer). Besides, I think more and more events or challenges will be organized around GPS, as gps-speedsurfing.com has been proving worldwide. My hope is also that GPS use becomes more and more user friendly. It's the reason why I integrated auto speed calculation in GPSAR as soon as possible (october 2004). A second step is just achieved: GPSAR is now "auto data sending" ready. It means that in the next release, it will send your speed results to whatever server that accepts them (I hope, of course, gps-speedsurfing will integrate it). The first tests are conclusive. It means no more form to fill manually, no more errors. But this is still too much work for everybody. In the future, we will need some bluetooth devices or so, that require no plug, and providing a fast upload. Another point I think will develop in the future is animation from several tracks from windsurfing events. This year, we got a few tracks from "Le Defi" in Gruissan, that you can check at www.gpsactionreplay.com/defiWind. But imagine in the future if you can compare your track to Bjorn or Antoine, see how fast they were compared to you, at the same moment and same location! Hopefully, next year we'll get 20 or 30 simultaneous tracks...

Fortunately, you’re not only a ‘computer-type-of guy’….. What's your favorite gear in combination with what sort of conditions/spot?
What I love above all is variety. I ride waves, flat water, strong and light winds. The only thing I need is planning, even with a 10.5 sail and a 1 meter wide board with 10 knots. As far as speed is concerned, my gear is rather a slalom gear: a 55 cm wide slalom board (Fanatic Falcon year 2000), and two sails, 6.2 and 6.8. But the very important thing, as everybody knows, is flat water. I discovered that I'm faster with an old plastic wave board (Tiga wave 259, 31.2 knots instant speed) on flat water, than with a slalom gear on choppy water (sometimes difficult to break the 28.0 knots). My favorite speed spot is Vauville, in La Hague, with north-west off-shore winds. I believe it's a 40.0 knots enabling spot (not sure I'm able to prove it, but I'll try to, who knows?).

Any secrets speed tips you want to share with the GPS-speedsurfing.com world?
With my 35.0 knots best instant speed, I won't give any lesson to people going more than 40 knots over 500 meters... So just one classical tip: an adjustable outhaul system enables a full loaded sail when performing speed (downwind), and going back upwind correctly. Otherwise, we usually set an average tension that doesn't fit speed requirements.

Do you practice other sport/hobby besides windsurfing?
I love carving, using a snowboard or ski’s. Mountain bike and roller skating are fun too. Besides sport, I like programming, watching movies and playing the piano.

Any other comments?
Speed sailing is amazing. Like no any other discipline, it combines number of parameters and provide a unique feeling. People can get equipped with a gear that potentially enables over 40 knots speed, and now, with GPS units, they just need to find 500 meters of flat water to get their own speed run. Hope more people will join us... See you soon on the water and on the forums!

Yann, thanks for this interview and good luck!

Van Bellen's Master Of Speed
Spot : Grevelingendam, Herkingen
Country : Netherlands
Sponsors : van Bellen, Neilpryde

Van Bellen Surf & Snow is presenting the first shop organized speedchallenge !

Measure your speed with a GPS. No GPS or windsurf gear? You can rent it with us! The average- and max speed are the ones to look at. All facts measured will be published at our site www.vanbellen.nl and gps-speedsurfing.com. So at the and of the season there will be only one person that is the fastest surfer of the Grevelingen!


GPS Top 10 2005
1 Martin van Meurs 43.5
2 Chris Lockwood 42.6
3 Chris Torckler 42.4
4 Antoine Albeau 40.2
5 Luke Watson 40.1
6 Ian Fox 39.7
7 Peter van Dijk 39.6
8 Luke Wigglesworth 39.5
9 Gerlof Hansma 39.1
10 Andrew Daff 38.9
Latest sessions
1 Michael Howard 19.2
2 Gjermund Bothun 25.6
3 Peter de Wit 32.5
4 Wouter Born 25.3
5 Menno Barkmeijer 24.6
6 Gerlof Hansma 32.2
7 Ton Nipshagen 29.3
8 Jeroen Helmers 28.8
9 Jan Willem Mulder 28.3
10 Gerrit Bosgraaf 26.3
11 Guido Hoogwerf 33.5
12 Paul van der Kaaden 33.8
13 Akai Werkman 28.2
14 Christopher Kaus 25.2
15 Wouter Born 25.9
16 Christiaan Piepers 32.3
17 Onno Pierik 27.5
18 Juliska van der Plas 27.2
19 Ron Juinen 27.5
20 Remco Stolp 28.6
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