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Crissy Kite Days Delivers Kiteboarding to Masses

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Cabrinha’s Jesse Richman sets a hang time record of 22 seconds! (from the water)

The First Annual Crissy Kite Days 2007, presented by Confluent Entertainment and the St. Francis Yacht Club, took over the shores of San Francisco from July 25 through the 29 in front of thousands of spectators and kiteboarding enthusiasts. 

The event kicked off July 25 with the first ever Wells Fargo US Nationals Kite Course Championship. Organized by the St. Francis Yacht Club, over 60 of the top professional kiteboarders from around the world came to test their skills against the experienced local racers.  

Days 1 and 2 were used as a qualifier to separate the riders into two fleets for the final day of racing on Friday, July 27.  The riders ran 20 races in four different course configurations. Each race had finish times ranging between 20 to 40 minutes and covered up to 12 miles per race in a combination of upwind and downwind sailing. Local favorite Anthony Chavez, 2006 champion in the Thursday night Cabrinha Race Series, won the event and said, “The St. Francis Yacht Club delivered a world class event and it was great to see our local racers well represented in the championship. It was a validation of our program to race against the best in the world and do well.” 

The US Sailing Association recently recognized kiteboarding as an official fleet category and the St. Francis Yacht Club, which has been incredibly supportive of kite course racing, has agreed to organize the event on an annual basis.   

While the course racing competition wrapped up, the Confluent crew spent Friday setting up “the ramp” and a slider within a few hundred feet of the beach, in preparation for the Big Air Wind Jam weekend event. Saturday, the 28th of July was the first day of competition and Mother Nature opened up her arms at around 1:00 pm, when the fog cleared into a beautiful day and the wind built up to 20 knots with gusts over 30. Conditions were perfect for a hang time competition, but as it turned out, the high winds made the water on the ramp slosh from side to side making it impossible to keep enough water on the ramp for the competitors to be able to take advantage of its boosting potential. The decommissioned ramp did not keep kiteboarders from breaking the hang time record. Just an hour into the contest, Jesse Richman boosted from the water and hung for 22 seconds, looping his kite overhead seven times. It was spectacular and the crowd loved it. Cheers came with every kite loop as Jesse traveled laterally and hovered 15 to 20 feet off the water, for what seemed like a minute. 

The fog slogged back into the bay for the BoarderX competition on Sunday, July 29. After getting the course setup, Tamatoa Gillot, an Ozone rider from Tahiti, requested that he get towed up to 200 feet behind the jetski, something he does often at his home spot when there is no wind. The crowd started gathering and as the wind was inadequate for the competition, organizers obliged Tamatoa’s request.  The gamble paid off. Tamatoa soared above the crowd three times, looping his kite and landing effortlessly to the delight of the spectators. The announcer made sure to inform all that kites are not made or tested for this type of activity,that towing up with a kite is extremely dangerous, and that Tamatoa was a professional kiteboarder who knew and accepted the risks he was taking. 

The wind kicked in enough shortly after 1 pm to get BoarderX off the ground, which proved to be the most exciting event of the weekend. The competitors started with their kites on the beach toward the water, performed a team launch, and sprinted into the water for position. Some had trouble making it through the traffic getting into the water, while others used various strategies to get ahead or keep clear of the carnage.

At the end of the day, the winners truly earned their place on the podium, having tackled the grueling BoarderX Knowledge gained from the event this year will make next year’s even better. Everyone had a great time, and Crissy Field proved to be a great venue for kiteboarding events. There were a lot of firsts at the 2007 Big Air Windjam, but there were no lasts. If you would like to get involved early for 2008, contact arne@confluententertainment.com 

Thank you to all the volunteers who helped make this event and thank you to the sponsors! 

For more info, photos and video, check out: Big Air Wind Jam: http://www.bigairwindjam.com/ St. Francis Yacht Club:http://www.stfyc.com/   US Sailing Association http://www.ussailing.org/

SPONSORS: Confluent EntertainmentSt. Francis Yacht Club 

And with the support of:Wells Fargo Bank; RedBull; Dakine; Flexifoil Kiteboarding; Best Kiteboarding; Naish Kiteboarding; Live2Kite; The Norwegian Consulate; Wind Over Water Kiteboarding; Spaten; Knut Akseth 

And in Association with: Ozone Kiteboarding; iKitesurf; Liquid Force Kiteboarding; UltraNectar; Hang Goose; The Kiteboarder Magazine; Current TV  

RESULTS 

2007 US Kite Course Nationals 

Men’s divison: 1st place Anthony Chavez, San Francisco – Naish; 2nd place Jeff Kafka, Pacifica CA – Cabrinha; 3rd place Jessie Richman – Maui – Cabrinha 

Women’s division: 1st place Kristine Boese, Oregon – Best; 2nd place Sandy Parker, Rio Vista CA – North’; 3rd place Clarissa Hempel, Brazil – Cabrinha  

Master’s division: 1st place Chip Wasson, Berkeley CA – Ozone; 2nd place Nils Stolzlechner, Corpus Christi TX – Cabrinha; 3rd place Mark Bosta, San Francisco – Naish 

Junior’s division: 1st place Jessie Richman, Maui – Cabrinha; 2nd place Jon Modica, Florida – Cabrinha; 3rd place Shawn Richman, Maui – Cabrinha  

2007 Big Air Wind Jam Results

Big Air Men: 1st   Jessie Richman (22 secs.) Cabrinha; 2nd  Tamatoa Gillot (Ozone); 3rd   Billy Parker (Flexifoil) 

Big Air Women: 1st   Clarissa Hempel (6.5 secs) Cabrinha; 2nd   Melissa Gill Eclipse; 3rd    Stacey Fonas Best 

BoarderX Men: 1st   Damien LeRoy (Cabrinha); 2nd   John Modica (Cabrinha); 3rd    Ovi B. (Wind Over Water Kitbeboarding) 

BoarderX Women: 1st   Clarissa Hempel (Cabrinha); 2nd   Stacey Fonas (Best); 3rd    Melissa Gill (Eclipse) 

Best trick:1 st   Eric Rienstra Kiteloop 360 handle pass (Slingshot); 2nd   Billy Parker Flat 360 handle pass (Flexifoil); 3rd   Josh Nehf Huge Kiteloop (Caution) 

Kiteloop Contest Winner: John Van Molson Kiteloop slim chance (North) 

Old School: 1st    Jessie Richman Board off deadman (Cabrinha); 2nd   Shawn Richman Board off 720 finger flip (Cabrinha); 3rd     Clarissa Hempel One footer (Cabrinha)  

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