Melissa Gil and Alexandre Caizergues

After two races on the first day of the competition, the wind did not return to the event side based at Plage Napoleon, France. Although the race committee tried to go for an early start at 8:00 hours at the final day of the competition, the conditions never improved enough to allow for fair racing.

Local Alexandre Caizergues from Port St. Louis defended his title from the past two years, while for speed-rookie Melissa Gil the victory over defending world champion Charlotte Consorti (FRA, F-One) and current world record holder Sjoukje Bredenkamp (RSA, Naish) was a surprise. Being on speed equipment only since one months, she should be the new star in womens competition.

Melissa won the first leg of the competition, while her biggest opponent Charlotte shot a bullet in the second leg, but due to the decreasing winds Melissa scored with 30.03 knots the better speedand thus secured the overall victory.

In the mens fleet, runner-up Rob Douglas (USA, Cabrinha), with 50.54 knots second fastest man in the world, was able to defeat Caizergues in the first round, but struggled with the light conditions in leg two. Most consistent was Sylvain Hoceini (FRA, Griffin) with two second places also overall in second.
Third then Douglas, with the top-speed of the competition (33.94 knots). His team-mate, US racing star Damien Leroy (Cabrinha) scored an excellent fourth place in his first speed competition, aking use of the light conditions. Local rider Sylvain Maurin (FRA, F-One) completed the top 5 mens ranking.

Competitors and organizers were fully satisfied with the completion of the first IKA world championship, even when the wind conditions were not as expected. For the speed world ranking, the next points can be scored in Namibia late summer, and then in the United States and Ireland later in the year.

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Race Point Beach in the Cape Cod National Seashore 

While well-meaning, the Cape Cod National Seashore is misguided with respect to its selective ban on kitesurfing.

In its recent press release, reprinted in part in this paper on March 26, the Seashore claims that "piping plovers view ... the overhead kites as predators, which can scare the birds from their nests." While the Seashore's statement presents this as an accepted statement of fact, it is unsupported.

A single study conducted 20 years ago, which was not peer reviewed, observed that a land-based kite may temporarily disturb the habits of plovers, but clearly stated that there was no correlation between the presence of kites and the birds' productivity.

The very authors of that 1988 study have subsequently published numerous scientific results relating human activities to piping plover behavior and productivity; none of these publications even mentions kites. The areas of greatest concern to plover populations, according to the scientific literature, are pets and off-road vehicles.

Kitesurfing is an environmentally friendly, healthful activity for residents and visitors. The policy to restrict it based on perceived impact to plover population is scientifically unsupported — the Seashore should not imply otherwise.

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Cape Cod National Seashore 

With the return of spring, piping plovers have also returned to their breeding grounds on outer Cape Cod. They are now courting and establishing territories in preparation for nesting. Piping plovers continue to be listed as a threatened species under the Federal and Massachusetts Endangered Species Acts. The National Park Service, in coordination with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, carries out management of the plover at Cape Cod National Seashore.

Piping plovers are ground nesting birds and raise their flightless chicks on beaches where they are vulnerable to predators, storm tides, and human disturbance. They are particularly sensitive to the presence of dogs. They perceive dogs as predators and are more readily disturbed when a dog is approaching than when only people are approaching. An even greater threat occurs when dogs are off-leash.  Most loose dogs naturally chase any movement on the beach including adult plovers and the flightless chicks, which can be killed in the process.

Kites also disturb the nesting and feeding behaviors of endangered shorebirds. Kites are perceived as large predators flying over the birds. This may scare the incubating parent off the nest, exposing the eggs to predators, hot or cold temperatures, cause nest abandonment, or disrupt feeding of the adult birds and their chicks.

To protect plovers and other ground nesting shorebirds including least terns and American oystercatcher, effective April 1, and until further notice, no pets or kite flying will be permitted on Coast Guard Beach south of the former Coast Guard Station in Eastham, and  at Jeremy Point in Wellfleet.  Also effective April 1, kite-surfing/boarding is prohibited on Cape Cod Bay-side beaches and Cape Cod Bay waters within the national seashore until the last chicks in the area have fledged.  Additional sections of the seashore’s ocean and bayside beaches that support nesting shorebirds may also be temporally closed to pets and kites.

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