La Ventana Classic 

For the Crossing Race 119 racers entered this year’s event. 18 pangas sponsored by local business Ventana Windsports (Esteban) and captained by our seasoned local fishermen transported the competitors to the waters of Los Viejos at Cerralvo Island.

Due to fluky winds the crossing was pushed back two days and was finally held on Saturday. On race day we had 36 entrants in the sportsmen class and 75 in the competitor’s class.

As everyone waited for the La Ventana wind to fill in a treasure hunt was held where maps were distributed with clues in English and Spanish and racers had to ask advice from panga captains and dig to find great prizes.. 30 prizes were donated by the top kite manufacturers including a brand new kite from Sol Kiteboarding in CA.

Two rabbit starts were held the first with a 10 minute countdown and the second with a 5 minute countdown….The starts were very exciting with varying strategies, and although there were many kites and windsurfers gunning for the gap between the buoy and boat at the same time, only two kites bumped and fell and both riders re launched to finish the race.

The wind was building nicely before the race but just before the start a lull came over the island. Mid channel things improved, and on the La Ventana side the wind finally filled in to include the turning buoy with an estimated 18-20 knots.Three windsurfers swept the top places while kiters on race boards and surfboards were close behind.

The course was 10.75 miles long and 1st place finisher Macrae Wylde a sponsored Sailworks rider crossed the finish line in a mere 25 minutes and 10 seconds with a 7.2 m sail.

With his GPS tracking his progress, he logged a top speed of 29.3 knots. He was not the first to the turning buoy however but sailed closer to shore than the leaders and jibed his way into covering the competition and pulling ahead.

The fastest kiter was Sean Farley, a Mexican pro from North followed by Shawn Richman riding for Wainman , Jim Bison of New Wind Kiting, French Pro Etienne Lhote of F-One, Hawaiian Pro Jessie Richman of Cabrinha, and Brendon Richards of Caution from Santa Cruz.

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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