Chip reports from La Ventana Classic and Kiteboarder Magazine Demo
This news piece has not yet been translated but will be soon, thank you for your patience.
The four day event consisted of two components. First there was the competition portion of the event that consisted of a 12 mile broad reach race from Ceralvo Island to the town of La Ventana. The second event consisted of buoy racing consisting of a short upwind leg followed by a down wind slalom, two laps with a down wind finish. The third event was the “old school” freestyle competition where riders were judged solely on big air, board offs, and dead mans. The last day was set aside for the kite loop and best trick contest.
The second component of the event was a demo that occurred during and after each day’s competition. Most of the kiteboarding industries major players were there in force showing off all of their new 2008 gear. Each day the beach was packed with kites and people wandering around trying out different equipment. It was amazing that there were so many people all the way down in Mexico for this seemingly obscure event. It will never be considered obscure again.
My wife, Marcella, and I arrived in La Ventana around 11 am to a bay full of kiters and greetings from many old friends. This was an epic trip for us as it was the first time we had been away with no kids…..unreal! The event was centered around Baja Joes right next to Ventana Windsports. We quickly pumped up kites, assembled boards and got out on the water for a fantastic session on the new 2008 11 meter Edge 2. Flying that kite for the first time I found it to have even more boost than the 2007 and the one pump was key for the hustle to get on the water. After good sessions on the foil board and twin tips we packed it in and headed for dinner. After dinner there was the registration party where organizer Marina Chang, of The Kiteboarder Magazine, laid out the schedule for the next few days while everyone got acquainted drinking tequila and beer. Though the organizers only had 110 event jerseys, 130 people registered. People spray painted numbers on t-shirts to make up the balance of jerseys. The departure for the crossing from Ceralvo was planned for 8:30 the next morning.
Regardless, the party went on pretty long and strong, Mexico style!
We awoke to about 12 panga boats anchored in front of the event site manned with the Sea of Cortez’s most seasoned skippers. Boat by boat we were loaded up and checked off the competitor list. With about 10 people per boat we started the 12 mile crossing to the deserted sand hook on Ceralvo Island where we would start the race. Once on the island, riders pumped up kites and waited for the wind to build. We were allowed to bring two kites and one board as the unused kite would return in the “equipment panga”. People relaxed on the beach making fires to stay warm while talking kiteboarding and enjoying the serine beauty of the island. A few riders walked inland of the shoreline and low and behold came across 7 large bricks of brown Mexican weed. Each brick weighed about 2 kilos and much of it was burned in the fires as groups of people stood willingly downwind in the smoke. Needless to say, these may have been the people on the starting line that were involved in tangles.
At 12 noon a skippers meeting was held for the 130 competitors, boatmen, and volunteer help. The start was set for 1pm and would consist of a 5 minute sequence to a rabbit start performed by the committee boat. The rabbit start was tough and very congested as it caused many of the competitors that wanted good starts to try and cram into the hole that the rabbit opened up when the clock hit zero. There were a few tangles but I was able to avoid any contact and got out to a great start right behind Sean Farley in second place.
Unfortunately, the board that I was riding was a fantastic freestyle board but was not a speed machine and required a lot of input to continue to go fast. Around the 8th mile I began to fade and ultimately ended up in 9th place overall. All racers arrived to a completely packed beach of local onlookers having a party of their own. This was a big event for this small town. Once we were all back on the beach from the race the balance of the day was filled with local food, cultural performances and demoing of gear. Incidentally, the response to the 2008 instinct kites was overwhelming. Ozone really seemed to be standing out as “the kite of the event” and the most technically highly regarded kite.
The fatigue from the racing seemed to affect everyone quite a bit as most people seemed to turn in early at Mexican midnight (9pm) after good dinners and a few drinks. Slated for the next day was the highly anticipated course racing
We awoke to very calm waters creating a beautiful scene as the sun rose over the water to the east. Many people threw out predictions of no wind but against all odds a mild wind line moved down the beach and started to fill in. The top 20 competitors from the previous day’s long distance race were qualified to race in the course racing. Needless to say, the fleet of top 20 competitors was thick and the competition was fierce. The first race was slated to start at 1pm and the wind had only built to about 16 mph.
The conditions were ride able but somewhat marginal. With the marginal conditions, I decided to race on the Carafino foil board with the 11 meter Ozone Instinct Edge II. The Carafino foilboard is indomitable in marginal conditions but starts to get caught in 22mph plus. I truly believe that the Ozone Instinct Edge 2 and the foil board is the most efficient kiteboarding setup currently available.
In the first race I was on my way to the finish line in second place when I caught a fisherman’s buoy and went ass over tea kettle. It took me crashing the kite and working on the tangle around the foil with both hands. Three riders passed me and I ended up in 4th by the time I was underway again. The top 8 finishers advanced into the finals. In the finals I lead the race all the way until the finish line where Jeff Kafka passed me literally by a foot. Anthony Chavez, US National Champion was a very close 3rd. The breeze had built enabling Anthony and Jeff to be just a bit faster down wind.
After racing there was more demoing of equipment which slowly turned into beer drinking and finally into a full on evening bash. The tequila bottle circulated and everyone had a good laugh after a long day. Then it was off to dinner and a good nights sleep!
Day four was set for the Old School Freestyle Event that would be judged on big air, board off’s, and dead man’s. The day started out VERY light and there were questions as to whether anything would happen. The wind built to about 8 mph and I went out on the 13m Edge II and the foil board. People were blown away that someone could even kiteboard in those conditions but with the endless smooth power of the 13 it was ON!
A few hours later the wind built to the point of being able to ride but barely jump on a regular board. Regardless, the 13m Edge 2 was boosting and enabled me to get top 3 in my heat and make it into the finals. The finals were even lighter and the competition became a test of staying up wind which was no problem on the 13. I believe I ended up 6th in the finals. That night there was a huge awards party that simply turned ugly, in a good way. Tequila seems to bring people out in the most interesting ways. The party was a crescendo to a great trip for us as we awoke the next morning with severe hangovers at 6:30 and started the long journey home. It was a great trip and a well run event and demo. Our time in La Ventana created many fond memories and I will definitely be there next year! The event raised over $10,000 for the local school and we all felt good about being there for that good cause.
The 2008 Instinct Edge II was unreal to ride! I thought the Edge 1 was sick but the 2008’s are even better believe it or not.
It was great to be able to demo these kites and heighten awareness of the new line early in the year. What happened at this event definitely is a harbinger of a great year to come for the Instinct line. Everyone who rode the kites raved about their performance and was at a minimum interested in getting one if not two. There was a significant posse down there who were instinct fanatics and the crowded beach surely saw the on water performance. The structure of the kite is unmatched. The upwind ability of the kite is unmatched. The lift and boost of the kite is unmatched and the smooth flying and depower of the kite is unmatched. All in all, the Instinct Edge 2 I believe is one of the best if not the best (most superior) kite available on the market today. Anyone who is interested in getting a new kite should not pass this kite up…..Yes, I did make a point of trying almost every other brand that was on the beach. It was a lot of work but I really was interested to see if the Ozone was just that good or was I a bit biased. THE KITE IS JUST THAT GOOD!
Thanks to Ozone for the support on this trip, it was worth the while.
It is an honor to be part of such a great team and group of people working in the same direction with truly positive energy. Great work OZONE! Keep it up, things are just about to start to unfold in a big way…..I can feel it!