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Four Good Reasons to Head South this Winter
By Marina Chang
For most of North America, winter means you’re either heading to the snow or traveling to a warm destination to get your kite fix. If you’re pining for some sunshine and warm water this winter season, you have more reasons than ever to head south to Baja California.
Mexican Nationals , La Ventana, December 17-21, 2010
Jessica Withington Sanchez, co-owner of Playa Central, has partnered with Andres Santacruz, president of the Mexican Kitesurf Association, to bring this second annual event to Baja Sur. The event is open to Mexican Nationals only and will highlight the best of the best in freestyle and racing.
The competition will also kick off the official grand opening of Playa Central, located near the main campground, a 4,000 square foot warehouse with plans to house a kite shop, kite school, restaurant, bakery/café and “Rider’s Bunk”, two rooms with two bunk beds each which will cater to young up and coming kiters to train in La Ventana for a few weeks or more.
Lord of the Wind Showdown, Los Barriles, January 12-16, 2011
Conveniently located just 45 minutes outside of Cabo San Lucas, the East Cape Rotary Club in Los Barriles and Governor Narciso Agundez of B.C.S. have partnered with the windsurfing and kiteboarding communities to host this first annual event for Los Barriles.
With $19,000 in cash plus prizes up for grabs, the event will consist of course races, downwind slaloms, a big air contest, freestyle windsurfing contest, kite/windsurf clinics, SUP racing, and gear demos. On the beach, they’ll have nightly beach parties, great food, volleyball tournaments, a bikini contest, poker run, zips lines, a 5km run, and horseshoes with more in the works. Proceeds from this event will be given to the Rotary Club to continue its efforts in the local community and with area children. Additional proceeds will be applied to the Lord of the Wind Showdown in 2012.
Burning Bush, La Ventana, January 15, 2011
Bruce Sheldon Spradley of Sheldon Kiteboarding in Rio Vista, CA, is a long time veteran of La Ventana, going all the way back to his windsurfing days. In 2007, with friends Jay Conners and Travis Brownwood, Burning Bush was born. Intrigued by pyrotechnics with an interest in arts and building things, what started out as a party for a few close friends has now turned into one of La Ventana’s most anticipated events attended by hundreds.
Past year themes have included 007, Flower Power, Fish, and Bush Goes to Mars. A community effort involving around 50 volunteers who help collect wood and other building materials, the event is similar (but mellower) to the infamous Burning Man, but is done Baja-style.
For a few hours, themed structures are lit on fire in a variety of dramatic ways, with many having the ability to ‘float away’ under the canopy of a star-filled evening sky. Complete with a band, food, and beer, it will be interesting to see what Bruce and his crew have in store for 2011! There is no official website or location. You just have to be in La Ventana to get the lowdown.
La Ventana Classic and KiteXpo, January 16-24, 2011
Tim Hatler of Palapas Ventana and friends started doing trips to Isla Cerralvo looking for flat water spots. Pro rider Adam Koch happened to be in town after Adam’s Catalina crossing and the idea for the first Classic event came together in 2005 with help from Red Bull. The event quickly gained popularity and grew into a fundraiser for the community and schools.
In 2008, The Kiteboarder Magazine partnered with Tim to get behind the cause and bring in kite companies to offer free demos of all the newest gear and accessories – products that most wouldn’t be able to see, or even worse try, until things thawed out back at home. Today, the event has raised just under $50,000 which has gone straight back into community projects. For 2011, the event promises to be even better with more than 25 kite and accessory companies participating in the KiteXpo. Day clinics or trips with pro riders will be offered to the island and coast January 16-20 focusing on racing and strapless skills, as well as an all girls clinic. January 21-24 marks the main event and official kick off of the La Ventana Classic and KiteXpo, with an 11.5 mile island crossing (The Classic), short course buoy races, Big Air/Old Skool competition, SUP Paddle Royale, Downwind Paddle Race and some more surprises in store.
With live bands and food on the beach, a real Lucha Libre match (think Nacho Libre with Jack Black), Caution “golf’ tournament, and other activities planned from the creative and somewhat twisted minds of Tim and emcee extraordinaire Neil Hutchinson, come help do a lot of good by having a ton of fun!