|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
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.
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
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
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
Do you practice other sport/hobby besides windsurfing?
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
|van Bellen, Neilpryde
Van Bellen Surf & Snow is presenting the first shop organized speedchallenge !
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!