With very little time between disciplines to spare the team pumped up the perfect kites for boosting. Epic Sessions ran the big air competition with an iphone 4 app and hardware that you wore on your arm that would tell how high one jumped in their heat. Although the team was exhausted from all day racing they were pumped with adrenalin and ready to rock n roll for the big air contest. With Super Women strength and two, first place wins in racing under her belt Kirsten was motivated to ramp up the crowd and take the highest jump including all the men with 33.4 feet! Chris Butzen hung in the top pack in racing, and advanced to the finals in the big air as well.
The second day of the competition started with the final heats of slalom. Women's heats first with lighter winds. In a serious battle Kirsten came in 2nd missing the win by 1/10 of a second.
Brandon Bowe and Bryan Lake were in the final heats with 6 men. The best of the three heats took the prize. The competition was intense as Bowe took first place in his first heat coming from last place, passing the other 5 riders. Lake screamed in right behind him. The next two heats were the most intense Bowe took the lead again but was taken out by Jake Buzianis. The next heat Brandon pulled out in front again but was once again denied and taken out by Buzianis! Lake took advantage of the opening and held on to his third place spot.
In the last two days of the event course racing prevailed. Both days started with flat lake like conditions picking up to light wind conditions. The showdown ran in light winds which favored kiters over windsurfers. Bryan Lake took third in this race.
On the last day of the event the Brandon and Daniel were able to spare some time for freestyle and catch the eye of the crowd by jumping on each others shoulders while riding, throwing low mobes, KGB's and awesome freestyle moves.
The top three places in each event received Cabrinha sponsored medals... and they looked awesome!
La Ventana Mexico- The day started bright and early… Our crew loaded on the boats at 7am and headed over to an uninhabited island with 99 racers for the classic Island Crossing. While waiting for the wind to fill in they built fires, hung out and had scavenger hunts.
When it was go time, team Cabrinha was on a mission provoked by Rob Douglas who is all about power and speed. He convinced the whole team to race 11 meter kites across the 11 mile run back to land. Most other racers were on 9 and 7 meter kites.
The new kids on the block Daniel and Brandon hung on to their 11 meter kites as their 130 pound bodies were being propelled at max speeds across the water. With smiles on their faces they blew by people on the downwind leg. Douglas, Lake and Leroy lined up as they battled to track down the leader. Rob exploded and lost valuable ground leaving Lake and Leroy battling for second as they charged toward the finish. On the home stretch neck and neck and about 10 feet from the finish Damien stuck his nose in and cart wheeled across the water giving up second place to Lake and taking 3rd. It was awesome!
Wasting no time going in to freestyle Richey and Damo were in the first heat. Putting on a show and advancing.
As the event came to a close in La Ventana, Cabrinha team efforts saw riders on the podium in all events. Big Thanks to teamleader Rob Douglas “Fastest man in the world”, who helped out during and between heats making sure everyone was ready and Kirsten Ulmer Cabrinha's PNW Rep lending her helping hand making sure Cabrinha's young guns had the right equipment.
The event raised $23,500 for local kidsthanks to the La Ventana Mexico event. Thanks to all who made it happen.
Damien LeRoy “Slalom World Champion” was up to his norm competing in every discipline the event had to offer. Richey Gardner and Dan Kirkhoff from Naples, Florida made impressive effrots making it into the Semi Finals in everything even represtenting in the masters class. Chris Butzen and Jessica Sickinger representing Cabrinha Canada got impressive results in Course Racing. The standouts at La Ventana were Brandon Bowe and Daniel Koenig as they "made" the freestyle show. Brandon was the big air Champion with Damien LeRoy runner up! Brian Lake is a name to watch out for in course racing as he is battling in the top three spots nearly every race. Not to be left out on the women’s side is Alexis Aguera coming in runner up in the women’s course racing.
Team Cabrinha is stacked with talent and ready to take on the 2012!
The Cabrinha crew Rob Douglas AKA “Bobby the Bullet” Fastest sailor in the world, new Cabrinha team member Richey Gardner and Dan Kirkhoff, the freestyle boys Daniel and Brandon, Brian Lake the 2012 Bridge to Bridge champion,and Damien Leroy,2011 world champion slalom are all hanging out in La Ventana Mexico drinking Java at Baja Joes every morning gearing up for more to come in the way of competition.
The Slalom racing began in winds exceeding 30 plus knots. Competitors tangled lines and blew it up. It was a sight to see. Rob Douglas said “Well lets just say he went though some kits and bars and got wrapped up like a Christmas present.”
Richey was the stand out at the young age of 50 years he made it in to the finals every race. “Old Guys Rule”
Damien managed to hang in there as Johnny Heineken took the win and came in second.
Things are looking good for team Cabrinha! All hands are on deck and all the money is on the table for the main event -crossing.
Thanks to Race Director Alex Aguera for putting on the slalom event.
Remi Meum takes 1st at the 8th annual Snowkite Masters in Col Du Lautaret, France. An extremely tight competition with unprecedented physical technique leads to a final decision in favor of the Norwegian. It looks as though if the weather cooperates they are going to continue on with some racing. Not sure what that means for Remi but we are stoked to see him up on top for now. Well Done Remi!
It was a record entry for the Kings Cup Regatta in its 25th Anniversary year with more than 120 craft taking part and amongst them for the first time ever was kiteboarding giving a new edge to a week of multiclass racing in Phuket Thailand. Although the riders were racing as much under their country as much as they were their brand it was still a strong showing by Cabrinha in the 18 rider exhibition kite fleet.
Inaugurated in 1987 to celebrate the 60th birthday of His Majesty the King of Thailand, the event has been held every year since during the first week of December. The Regatta began with a mixture of keelboats, catamarans, Lasers and even windsurfers, but more recently the Regatta has become a big boat event, attracting keelboats and ocean-going catamaran teams from around the globe. The Phuket Kings Cup is considered internationally as one of the top sailing events in the World and is Asia’s largest regatta, so quite something for the KTA and kiteboarding to be invited into.
The Kings Cup Regatta takes place on the offshore side of Phuket, good for the boats as this gives them a sheltered anchorage at nights but tricky of course for the kiters when it comes to leaving the beach. In the end race days wise, two days gave us the wind to go and two days not, but great action when things did slot into place, though challenging for the riders for sure.
With the wind up to around 20kts in Karon Bay, the area the kiters were located for the regatta, the riders at last had their chance on day three to show all the other sailors what kiters can do and blasted around the courses, with some well overpowered from earlier light wind kite choices to put kiteboarding in a world class sailing regatta for the first time. Pro-rider Olivier Dansin from France took the two races of the day, with Asian champ Yo Narapichit Pudla battling him all the way for his second places. Cabrinha riders Ken Nacor from the Philippines and Turkey’s Salih Alexander fought it out for third slot with Hong Kong’s Jay Chau having some great race action to take the fifth place in the end. Unfortunately the exhibitions fleet’s other pro-rider Blazej Ozog had to pull out after twisting an ankle that stayed locked into his foot strap after he got hit by a vicious gust during the first race.
Stubbornly though the wind kept its distance for the next two days, one of which was a reserve day for the regatta in any case, but thankfully the final day was to give us what we wanted and allow us to finish the week in style. With the wind strength again getting up to around 20kts the riders made their way from beach for the first race of the day. With a triangle course set the riders put out some stylish racing with more battles at the top of the fleet between Yo, Olivier, Salih and Ken. The day also saw a number of the sailors joining us at Karon Beach and loving what they saw unfolding, with many of them seeing kite racing for the first time. Key moments mentioned by them where the perfectly timed start run by Salih, Yo and Olivier to all hit the line together as class flag fell for race three, and the outright speed which at one point saw the riders pulling away from one of the safety Ribs when it was chasing them at 32kts.
At the end though the day belonged once again to Olivier Dansin, though Cabrinha riders were in the thick of it throughout seeing them take overall 3rd and 4th positions for the regatta – Salih Alexander and Ken Nacor in that order. Li Peng from China also on Cabrinha turned in three great races to come right back up the rankings to finish overall 6th after some harsh errors that cost him on the first day.
So kiteboarding at a major sailing regatta a success? Well lessons were learned for sure and a different approach was already being discussed for 2012, so looks like kite racing will be back. For now though this year has shown what both the Kings Cup and the KTA had set out to do and that was to prove that kite racing can operate as part of a multi-class sailing event.
With the success of last seasons all Girls camp in the Philippines Susi and Nenette Graf co-host an awesome camp this year. The pair of female kiters make a great team putting a strong emphasis on stepping up your kiting and having a great time while doing it.
This year's week long event was held in 3 different locations. The first stop was Kingfisher for 3 days, a small beach resort located in the province of Illocos Norte. Mon Montock, the owner, found this spot a few years ago and has turned it into a little kite/windsurfing paradise. The beach huts that serve as accommodation are basic but comfortable, the showers are hot and the meals are delicious. The spot is a little bit tide dependent because it can get very shallow, but when there's enough water to kite over the reef safely, the spot is epic, with flat water on the inside and waves on the outside.
After 3 days at kingfisher, we moved to Boracay where the Cabrinha kite school Green Yard hosted us for the rest of the camp. We were really lucky with the wind this year and got a kite session almost every day. When there was no wind, we were either getting pedicures (courtesy of body&sole spa), cruising around the little shops on the island and one day we went on a sunset cruise.
The third location we were at was called Union Bay, on the island of Caticlan, which is a more recently discovered spot. It has a big sandbank about 40 meters out which makes the inside super flat and great for learning tricks.
Girls camps are always good fun and even though we had a few stray boys tagging along, it was yet another great adventure and looking forward to the next one!
Here is a sneak peek of some of the photos. Can't give you guys more yet as we don't want to spoil the story for when it hits the magazines.
Photos By Christian Black
The entrance to Pagudpud, the region where Kingfisher is located.
This convenient vehicle is known as a trike and it's basically a little motorbike with a little side car welded on to it. The amazing thing about them is they can actually accommodate up to 7 people and their gear...
Not a bad place to be! The girls all went for a sunset cruise on a catamaran one afternoon when there was no wind.
Susi and Laura
This place makes the world best Chocolate truffles.
And the girls sure weren't shy about digging into the chocolatey goodness.
Dre, our special guest at the 2011 Girls Camp :)
Dre at work!
This is Bulabog beach, where all the kiting happens. It's a bit tricky because the wind is dead onshore but once you get a little way out its really nice and flat.
Green Yard is the local Cabrinha School who hosted our camp while on Boracay.
When there's no wind and nothing else to do, there's nothing like a bit of floating to pass the time.
The WONW is an event where everyone shreds whether or not there is wind. This year there was absolutely no wind to kiteboard so the days were spent riding the cable and system 2.0. It's the perfect cross over training for kiteboarding so everyone pushes each other and the level of riding has gone up a notch. After "training" there is plenty stuff to keep the riders busy.
Its day three of the Kings Cup Regatta in Thailand and in its 25th Anniversary year the event has invited the KTA to bring kiteboarding to the Kings Cup to join in the action. For its first appearance in the regatta, the largest in Asia and one of the most respected in the world, the kiteboard class is running as an invited exhibition class with race management from the KTA and IKA all under the watchful eye of the Kings Cup Regatta Race Director Simon James.
The King's Cup Regatta has taken a big step introducing a Kiteboard Class to the 25-year old multi-class regatta and Kevin Whitcraft, President of the Regatta Organising Committee explained, 'ISAF is promoting kiteboarding and it could be an Olympic demonstration event as soon as 2016 in Brazil, so the Committee decided that it is likely to become an Olympic class at some point and the discipline is attracting a younger generation of sailors. We thought it was important for the Kings Cup to be a leader and bring kite boarding into this event as there are opportunities for our lighter weight Asian sailors in that class.
There have been two frustrating days for the kiteboarders that saw the yacht fleets move 8km out to sea to hunt the wind while the kiters were stranded at the beach on day one. Day two was the opposite with wind at the beach for the riders to get away to only find it die completely as they began to gather for the start. However day three has completely gone off with winds of up to 20kts and full on kite racing.
Cabrinha riders have come through it all well with Philippines Ken Nacor and Turley’s Salih Alexander tying for third place by the end of today’s racing, with plenty more to come over the next three days of the event if the forecasts are correct.
For more information the Kings Cup can be followed both on their website www.kingscup.com and the KTA Facebook.
Super proud of our man Alby for his commitment to the PKRA tour this year. With 3 podium finishes Alby waves the Cabrinha Flag at every stop of the tour like a true champ. Hats off to you Albinator!