McGee Beach is the perfect site for an event with a huge beach, built-in bleachers, and within walking distance of downtown.
Over 40 kiteboarders from the US, Canada, South Africa, Europe and Mexico turned out for the annual US Wind & Water Open (USWWO), formerly known as the Velocity Games, from May 11-13. Corpus Christi, Texas, is known as one of the windiest places in the US but for the first time in 20 years, the wind gods did not dish out their traditional 15-30 knot conditions. This did not stop competitors and spectators alike from having a good time as all enjoyed the beautiful weather, beach and nightlife that Corpus Christi has to offer.
Conditions were light but all enjoyed the sunshine and playing in the water sans neoprene!
New event organizers, Epic Sports & Entertainment, had plenty planned for competitors, consisting of pros along with everyday riders eager to try BoarderX and Kite Course Racing for the first time. All were eager to test their new gear and skills to compete for the $15,000 purse to be split between BoarderX, Freestyle and Kite Course Racing winners.
Last year’s Best Trick Winner, Billy Parker of Flexifoil.On the opening night, Omni Hotels sponsored a mixer for athletes, organizers and city officials on the Pool Deck of the Marina Tower followed by a get together just a block away hosted by Jeff Howard of ProKiteSurf. Friday, the first day of competition, served up frontal conditions with bursts of wind that teased competitors, but was not sustainable enough to get any of the kite competitions off the ground. Saturday brought plenty of sunshine but no wind. As the forecast for Sunday was 8mph peaking at 9a, organizers did some quick thinking and decided to bring rails and sliders to the event site on Sunday, the final day of the event. The Kiteboarder Magazine and South Coast Kiteboarding’s lead instructor, Zach Kleppe and CherryTAP.com bouncer Ricky “Phantom” Waibel spent until 3am Sunday morning rebuilding some of the school’s existing structures and building a new dragon tail rail.
Slingshot’s Zach Kleppe hits the rail.
Liquid Force’s Denver Coon makes it look sooo easy!
Riders and spectators enjoyed the action Sunday afternoon, and an impromptu wakeboard competition was born, with the Omni offering two nights of free lodging and breakfast to the winners of the Best Trick and Worst Wipeout. The races were called Sunday around 4p, and after the BoarderX/Kite Course buoys were brought in and packed, the wind decided to kick in allowing riders to get on the water and show the crowds what kiteboarding is all about.
Local Texan Rocky Chatwell of Crazy Fly throws one down for the crowd on the last day. Despite the lack of wind, competitors were overwhelmingly supportive of the event and were stoked on the excellent organization and event site at McGee Beach. All were already talking about and making plans for next year’s event, to be held May 10-12, 2008. For the complete story and more photos, check out the Aug07 issue of The Kiteboarder, available at your local shop or by subscription starting June 25, 2007. For video and photos, check out www.uswindandwateropen.com.