Glenorchy: windsurf and kitesurf heaven on earth

39 windsurfers and kiters from all over the South Island descended on Glenorchy on Saturday 27th Feb. for the Southern Lakes Windriders Club’s annual downwinder sail from Glenorchy to Pigeon Island.

They were rewarded with a stunningly sunny and warm day.

It was a spectacular sight at the start with an array of colored kites and windsurfing sails that quickly dispersed at varying speeds downwind.

Winds were gusting approx 25 knots with variable and at times challenging wind conditions.

The informal race started at Glenorchy and finished on the Glenorchy road at the beach opposite pigeon island, a course of approximately 10 km.

First to arrive at the finish line, in approx 15 minutes, was local kiter Mike Holland (Queenstown) using a large 17m2 sail.

The first windsurfer was Gavin Jackson (Dunedin) on a 6.0 sail. 39 competitors took part in the event (compared to 19 last year) with the youngest kiters achieving fantastic results; Bennett Jones, 16yrs old (Dunedin) came in 2nd overall and Blake Porter (Dunedin) only 15yrs old came in 5th overall.

Participants traveled from as far afield as Christchurch, Dunedin, and Invercargill….. with one competitor even from the USA.

Supported by the coastguard and two other smaller locally-owned boats manned by volunteers, the event is a memorial to previous club secretary Jude Green.

Event organizer Sue Bradley hailed the event as a huge success.

“It was amazing to see so many people taking part, the sight as the start was a real tear-jerker all these pretty colored sails in this gorgeous setting.. and what fun! That was the most fun I’ve had on a windsurfer in a long time! “

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