Tampa Bay Kite Masters 

The 2009 Tampa Bay Kite Masters ("The Rayley Grace Kite Race") is on. Kickoff party is at Water Sports West on Feb 28th at 6:00 pm. The official start day of the race is on March 1st, wind permitting.

The Tampa Bay Kite Masters and Water Sports West have planned to do a charity race. Julie and Jayson Orkins delivered Rayley Grace Orkins at 4 months premature and weighing in just over one pound at birth.

It is a miracle that Rayley Grace Orkins is still with us after all that she endured from getting pneumonia and almost losing her a few times, but due to the efforts of the Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU) staff at All Children’s Hospital she is still with us today.

After reading this article in the St. Pete Times, we see that they could really use some help. That’s why we will donate all proceeds to the All Children’s Hospital as a thank you for saving Rayley. The winner of the Tampa Bay Kite Masters will be assisting us in presenting the check to All Children’s Hospital.

We will be holding the race this year in any wind direction so it might be a Gulf run from Sand Key to Caddy's or a Bay run from Gandy to the Skyway. This run could also happen in reverse since we are fortunate that we can ride on any wind direction.

We are looking for at least 15 mph wind speed to hold the event; this is why it could happen on March 1st the day after the pre party. The entry fee can be made via paypal from the tbkm.org website. The entry fee is $25.00 and for any donation above the entry fee will be recognized.

Steve Verelst 

Steve Verelst, two times Belgium Freestyle Champion has now officially joined Flyboards international team.

Steve is a welcome addition to our team with his aggressive riding style combined with smooth clean landings.

Like all members of the International Team he will be working closely with Eddy Lansink, responsible for the Flyboards R&D. Steve has his targets set high for the 2009 season, competing in several KPWT and PKRA events as well as the Belgium Championship.

Name: Steve Verelst
Age: 20
Height: 178cm
Weight: 74kg
Lives in: Heist op den Berg, Belgium
Best results: Belgium Freestyle Champion in 2006 and 2008, 9th World Cup Turkey
Style: "I like to be powerfull and technical with the kite as low as possible"
Favorite trick: Frontmobe 7

US Kiteboarding National Championships 

The dates for the 2009 United States Wind & Water Open (WW09) have been set, and not only has the event expanded in length, it's expanded in stature. This year's event will be headlined by the 2009 North American Course Racing Continental Championships as well as the US Kiteboarding National Championships. The championships, which will be hosted by the Corpus Christi Yacht Club, will take place Tuesday, May 5th through Saturday, May 9th. 

Although several kiteboarding championships have taken place during past U.S. Wind and Water events, this will be the first year for this level of competition. "To have the Nationals and Continentals in Kitesurfing, the fastest growing water sport worldwide, in Corpus Christi is fantastic," said competitor and Omni Hotels GM Nils Stolzlechner.

The event will be sanctioned by ISAF (International Sailing Federation) and an official IKA (International Kiteboarding Association) Grade C event. The points awarded count towards the overall 2009 World Championship Tour competition. 

In addition to the Kiteboarding events, the WW09 will also feature the US Windsurfing Regatta, the WW09 Volleyball Classic and the WW09 5K. The WW09 5K will once again be the official warm-up run for the annual Beach to Bay Marathon.
"The Kiteboarding events will be a great addition to what has been a great annual event for Corpus Christi," said Karina Paris, EPIC Director of Operations. "We're excited to partner with the Yacht Club on what should be a great week of competition."
The US Wind & Water Open, formerly the Velocity Games, is an international favorite to both competitors and spectators. Over the past 20 years, the national events have evolved from a local weekend outing into an annual international celebration on McGee Beach.