- 06 August 2009 | Kiteboarding
Racing got off to an incredible start today with bright blue skies and steady wind in the 20 - 25 mph range. After the 12:00 PST riders meeting the course was set around 2:30 and racers hit the water at 3:00.
The 67 entrants were split into two fleets; blue and yellow. Yellow ran first with a clean start marking the beginning of this 5 day event. North kiteboarding's Sky Solbach shot off to an early lead and never looked back. Cabrinha teammates and training partners from France, Bruno Sroka and Paolo Rista battled it out behind him finishing with Bruno is second and Paolo in third.
San Francisco locals Rob kindt (Ozone kites) and Frank Wittke (F-1 Kites) rounded out the top 5 respectively. Notably Jesse Richman finished 3rd but due to not coming through the finish line correctly received a DNF for that race.
1. Sky Solbach
2. Bruno Sroka
3. Paolo Rista
Without delay, the Blue fleet took to the water and leading the pack were two racers who have been chasing each other around the bay for the last month, Sean Farley (North Kites, Mexico) and local Kitebaording legend, Chip Wasson (Ozone Kites). Close behind them was Damien Leroy (Florida, Cabrinha Kites) followed by Local Ocean Rodeo rider, Stefaans Viljoen and Danish Cabrinha rider, Bjoern Rune Jensen.
1. Sean Farley
2. Chip Wasson
3. Damien Leroy
After a short delay for an inbound tanker ship, the yellow fleet took to the course for their second and final race of the day. This race proved to be one of the more exciting races of the day with the top 3 riders exchanging leads more than 5 times.
With Bruno leading through the entire first lap and Sky and Jesse hot on his tail, he fell and dipped his kite in the water in the beginning of the second laps downwind leg. This allowed Jesse and Sky to catch him and the threesome battled within feet of each other the rest of the way downwind. Jesse used his right of way to take the lead at the leeward mark but somehow Bruno out pointed him on the way back up.
Maybe a little jet lagged and confused, Jesse thought he had one more lap to go as they approached the finish line and he started to ease up, preparing to head down wind. This minor slip up allowed Sky to sneak past him and take second with Jesse finishing 3rd, Paolo finishing 4th and Local Ozone kite rider, Geoff Headington rounding out the top 5.
The Blue fleet took the course for the final race of the day and this time most of the fleet got wise and started on port. This put the pack closer together and the top 15 racers rounded the leeward mark inside of 30 seconds of one another.
The final race Saw Sean Farley take another 1st place with Chip Wasson getting ever closer with a 2nd place finish again, Local, RRD kites rider John Heineken took 3rd, Damien Leroy took 4th and 5th place went to former olympic windsurfing gold medalist, Michael Gebhardt (Ozone Kites, USA)
The first day of racing could not have gone better with everyone getting a feel for the conditions and course here at Crissy Field in San Francisco.
More of the same weather is on tap for tomorrow and when asked what to expect in the upcoming days, local legend and racing pioneer, Chip Wasson responded, "It's a long haul. Anything can happen. You just got to keep on hammering" And that's exactly it. With 4 more days of racing, anything can happen and these competitors only get to throw out one score for the week. Expect to see some tight racing over the next few days.
Overall top 10 for day 1:
1. Sean Farley
2. Bruno Sroka
3. Sky Solbach
4. Chip Wasson
5. Paolo Rista
6. Damien Leroy
7. John Heineken
8. Stefaans Viljoen
9. Frank Wittke
10. Bjoern Rune Jensen