Ocean Rodeo Race Report 7.23.09 – Big Kites, High Wind, Survival Racing
(All photos by Boriana Parvanova)
OVERPOWERED! That pretty much sums up this Thursday’s races. Light inside winds fooled all the racers who rigged 11, 12 or 13m kites. By the middle of the first race we all new that was a bad choice. Racing took place under low fog that was so thick it was almost raining and seas that went from fairly smooth to big chop as the night went on.
By the 2nd race winds were gusting into the 30’s and racers were getting out of control. I had over 12” of depower line pulled, could barely control my speed, and holding an edge was challenging.
By the 3rd race things got downright dangerous with lots of riders blowing up as they couldn’t control their speed. Approaching the finish I found myself catapulted off my board and skipping across the water backwards. Everyone was glad to finish and get back to the beach safely. Thankfully there were no tangles as they would have been especially dangerous.
Fortunately a small field of 34 allowed riders the space they needed to deal with the poor steering of fully sheeted kites.
Visiting champ Sean Farley (North) dominated the field once again and was the only rider able to grab a smaller kite between races. Jeff Kafka (Cabrinha, POW boards) finished 2nd and Shawn Richman (RRD) took 3rd.
Stefaans Viljoen (Ocean Rodeo) was among the ridiculously overpowered and landed in 6th, with the other OR riders finishing as follows: Evan Stolze (8th ) , Andrew Galbraith (9th), Chris Brown (11th), Eric Geleynse (14th), Rick Larson (21st), Allen Chung (22nd) and Erin Loscocco (26th).
This was the last Thursday night race until the World Championships which run from August 4th-8th here in San Francisco. I’ll be racing along with much of the OR team, so look for updates from the water as the competition progresses.
Thanks as always to the St. Francis Yacht Club for hosting our races along with Cabrinha kites and Steve Gunn.