Islamorada Invitational 2009 

Kiteboarders from around the country are set to kick it into high gear as they skim and slide during the Islamorada Invitational '09 March 6-15 at Whale Harbor Marina, mile marker 83.5 in Islamorada.

Dubbed the "II '09" and hosted by Islamorada's Seven Sports, a part of Islamorada Watersports Co., the weeklong festival attracts pro and amateur thrill-seekers who come for the love of the sport and the rush of competition. Newbies to the sport as well as festival spectators have discovered that kiteboarding is a truly unique way to discover the Florida Keys.

Ray LeRoy of Seven Sports said all competitors are welcome.

The week is set to feature six events including a Boarder Cross, Kite Race, Freestyle Competition, Park Competition, Big Air & Kite Loop Competition and an ongoing Overall Impression best-photo contest.

Riders' meetings are scheduled daily at 9 a.m. with 'boarding action to start no later than 10 a.m., weather permitting.

Cost is expected to be approximately $80 per participant for the week's events.

Spectators are welcome and encouraged to attend. Admission to the exciting annual competition is free.

Food and beverages are to be available each day, with DJ entertainment and live music during day and evening hours.

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MEAK Extreme Cup 

The event is run by Prosurf Kenya and is in its fourth year.  It has such an awesome vibe as the whole idea is to raise as much money as possible for the Medical & Educational Aid for Kenya charity and to have as much fun on and off the water as possible.  M.E.A.K. is such an awesome charity to raise money for as they run projects such as heart and cataract operations all across Kenya and every penny of the money we raise go straight to the people who need it. 

So after fighting my post Alps flu, I headed out to Kenya with Turbulence Angel Sheryl and the winner of the Trad Film competition Andrew Cockcroft.  Courtesy of Turbulence, his mission for the week was to document the event and find out the nitty gritty on why kitesurfing is the sport for me…!

After worrying amounts of flights were cancelled out of Heathrow due to the snow, ours seemed to be the only one to leave much to our relief!  We were greeted and provided a beautiful room for the week by the Nyali Beach Hotel, which overlooks Prosurf extreme and the event spot.  We had a couple of days to acclimatize, get my new pink AH Pros sandy and get some riding footage done before the event kicked off.  We were also graced with the presence of Major Brian Bloor a.k.a. Turbulence grom rider Elis Bloor’s father/chauffeur as he is on exercise in Kenya.  It was awesome to see him and he had a great couple of days break, although I think we sent him back more exhausted than when he arrived!  He had only just managed to check into the hotel before we marched him to the Prosurf office and made him enter the competition.  He took it all in great spirit and almost won the first round of the downwind course race until there this was a little issue with the second to last bouy!

You know the more fun you have, the quicker the time goes…!  Well this week has seemed like one day!  It’s been crazy!  We’ve had super nice wind, an amazing group of kiters of all abilities who mingled together really well, and we’ve raised loads of money for MEAK.   Fundraising missions by the riders have included half of Eamon Armstrong’s head being shaved, Keenan Perrin having a reverse Mohawk shaved and Jenny Kinnear donating proceeds from her beautiful silver and gold jewelry sales. 

The competition was blessed with perfect wind each day.  After the head shaving, the event commenced with a downwind course race.  It was so good to have such a big Flexifoil contingent at the event, we were taking over thanks to the Irish crew!  There were some hectic moments and spectacular crashes, with some unexpected results that were so good to see.  Anyone could take the lead, whether amateur or pro, which was so refreshing.  In the evening we headed to the Tamarind Casino for some roulette action.  I had never tried gambling before and was a little hesitant to begin with, but once I got started I loved it and came out £25 up with two awesome pink chips that I didn’t want to have to cash in!

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We managed to get through the whole of the official titles on Saturday with awesome results. There were 50 or so competitors and a few hundred spectators lining the sand spit and Milang shoreline throughout the day. The glassy flat water offered the perfect conditions and the mud underneath made for some soft landings…We had a variable 15-18 knots during the heats which was at times a challenge but filled in later in the arvo and the guys & girls started busting out some great moves. Everyone had a great day.

The comp was fantastic but the car boggings were priceless; so from all the bystanders, thanks to the many ambitious drivers who thought that a churned up black mud pit offered a crossing…

Saturday night started with dinner and drinks at the Milang Regatta Club who put on a great show. For the forty or so people there at closing time, the Pub was the party lifeline beckoning shooters and general antics. The pub pulled the pin at 1:30am but little did Milang know that the kitesurfing crew had nine rounds of shooters and a few more hours of parting left in them…  After the plastic plate throwing contest and the human pyramid, the party retreated to the jetty with the local cricket team in support. It was the Zoolander style removal of underwear contest that really sounded the end of the evening and bed couldn’t come soon enough.

Sunday inevitably revealed some sore heads. A very weary crew stumbled down for a late breakfast at the Club and by midday we decided to fire up the wake winch. The arvo had a 12-14 knot breeze but only a few were interested or able. The winch and the kicker provided some awesome entertainment and most were happy to chill out, have some lunch and take it easy…

Presentations closed the weekend and results are below.

Thanks to all the Competitors and spectators who came along to make it a huge success and congratulations to the winners. We also greatly appreciate the efforts of those who travelled from as far away as Port Lincoln, Whyalla and the Riverland.

Thanks to all of the sponsors who gave their support and prizes. Thanks to the Milang Regatta Club for all their food and efforts, and for also letting us keep a kicker and slider down there. Thanks to Blake Reichelt for the Wake Winch. Thanks to Chopsy and Paul Bradley for they’re help with the MC role and the PA, plus Evan for helping with the trophies. Also thanks to Russ Curtin for sitting there patiently and getting some fantastic video footage. Big thanks to Geoff Gent for pulling the whole event together with the rest of the committee.

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